Let’s band together, work as a team and tackle this head on

18 March, 2020 by Andy Young

Made in the Shade group owners Zara and Michael Madrusan are, like many other operators, facing nervous and unprecedented times as the COVID-19 pandemic grips Australia.

The Government has banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, but the pair who own Bar Margaux, The Everleigh and Heartbreaker said they were already taking measures to ensure the safety of their staff and patrons, and called on everyone across the industry to do the same.

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Zara Madrusan told TheShout that initially they were putting out the message that they appreciated they are in a service industry and “that’s where we have a huge social responsibility to make sure that our team are safe and that we are practising extra high standards of hygiene and all that kind of thing.”

She added: “Second to that, this week we are rolling out a change to the layout of the bar so that there is more spacing between tables to help put people’s minds at ease, take more responsibility and help with social distancing.”

And the message to the public? “Come out, come out, but let’s make it as safe as possible. Come out if you’re healthy and you’re feeling well. This is not about us, yes we are having a tough time, but everyone’s having a tough time. That’s our messaging to date – not simply supporting your local venue because we need it, but do what’s right by you and we’ll do the same and let’s just keep moving forward as much as we can.”

Zara also said they have been communicating with their team that the ‘solider on, power through’ attitude to sickness that many Australian workers have, has to change especially in the current climate.

“It’s not what we are used to in hospitality – if you’ve got the sniffles don’t come to work – that’s not what we do. So communicating that to the team has been a bit of a challenge but everyone is learning so quickly and coming to understand that social responsibility. It’s not just about the risk of you catching it, it’s about everybody and we are taking care of people all day, every day.”

In addition, Michael told TheShout that with the inevitable tough times ahead for the hospitality industry, this, more than ever, is the time to remember what is great about the industry in this country and work together.

“I think we all need to band together, we need to work as a team and be creative with our employees and with employers about what the next couple of weeks looks like and how we are going to tackle this head on.

“Hospitality is such a great industry for recognising team members as a family unit. So now more than ever, people really need to stick to their family and support each other, keep a level head and know that this is going to pass and when it’s over we are going to be OK.”