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COVID-19 Blog • 2020-04-21

Urban Greek's COVID Response

Urban Greek is one of Hobart’s most successful restaurants – but that has not made them immune to the devastating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hospitality industry. COVID-19 has had a negative impact on Sava financially and psychologically, with the business’ turn over dropping over 70% in the last four weeks. Urban Greek have significantly changed their business model and are now offering both takeaway and delivery services. This is something new to the business because they specialise in the dine-in experience and their kitchen is designed based on that. All their staff, especially the chefs, have had to work hard to adjust to the new business model and with the world in general.

Sava and the team at Urban Greek have worked hard to re-create the Urban Greek dine-in experience for their customers at home. They have been spreading messages of positivity by writing and drawing on their takeaway bags. They have also been printing thank you cards to show their customers appreciation for their support in this difficult time. They also deliver to a wide range of suburbs to ensure that majority of their customers can continue to enjoy Urban Greek at home. Urban Greek deliver between Taroona and Claremont as well as parts of the Eastern Shore.

As part of their new business model, they offer online ordering and food is delivered by their staff. They now have 65% of their orders done through their website which saves them time and money. Sava has been against using these measures for the business previously as he does not like technology in general. He has been lucky to have the help of his manager, Liam, in transitioning the business to the online platform. They have faced minor issues transitioning to the online system because the system sometimes freezes on busy nights due to the high demand. Majority of hospitality businesses have had to do a similar adjustment to this – offering delivery either through their website or a food delivery service.

Urban Greek deliver their food themselves rather than collaborating with a food delivery service. This decision was made for a few reasons – Urban Greek have a minimal margin on their food to ensure their quality produce is not too expensive for their customers, this means that they cannot justify the cost of a food delivery service. This decision also gives Sava more control to ensure that food is delivered to customers quickly and that all staff are in line with the hygiene rules.

Urban Greek have also embraced technology further by using social media to communicate with customers and advertise their services. They have had a great response to this with a significant increase in their followers and engagement. Sava believes this is because more people are spending their time on the internet.

Sava has shared some advice to help other business owners through this difficult time:
1. To have a reviewed economic plan for the next 6-months at least and try to use all the accessible packages provided by the Australian government to support and sustain their business.
2. Try to sustain a healthy level of mental health, so when they reopen their business to the public they can deliver the same quality and services as they were before the COVID-19 health crisis. By keeping and improving our services in the hospitality sector, we can make Hobart one of the best food destinations again.
3. Keep your staff happy, even if we must pay their salaries out of our pockets. With this move, we hope that our staff will appreciate our support when this crisis is over and we return to our normal life.

Sava is doing his bit to support local Hobart businesses by establishing that at least two times a week he buys his staff lunch from a local business. He shares this act on social media, hoping this inspires others to do the same and support each other.

Many of Urban Greek’s customers would have seen that the business was put on the market a few weeks ago. This decision was made before the COVID-19 crisis and for a much happier reason; Sava and his wife Mary are expecting a baby. He decided to sell the restaurant so that he can spend more time with his family.

To support a local business and enjoy Urban Greek's delicious food from your home visit Urban Greek's website or call them on (03) 61691129

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