Two months after their reopening, some restaurants are still struggling. “L’Assiette”, the social and solidarity restaurant in Châteauroux, reopened in mid-June, with all the protective measures and barrier gestures: plexiglass, wearing a compulsory mask inside, spaced tables … But the return of customers is rather shy at the moment.
As everywhere, confinement was a halt and an economic blow. “Even if we are volunteers,” the Plate “also needs finances, because we have loads anyway”, explains Jean-Claude Spekens, vice-president of the association. The associative establishment offers meals at very low prices for the most precarious. Two rates are offered: the social rate (3 euros) intended for the most insecure customers, and the solidarity rate (8 euros), which allows the restaurant to meet its costs.
But for now, some customers are missing. “For attendance, we are on an average of 40 people now, whereas before, we had climbed to 60, 70, even 80. It is a majority of social tariffs which have returned, because they have we really need us. We miss solidarity tariffs. We need them to balance our accounts “, he continues.
Take-out to get by
To get by and continue to provide service to customers, “L’Assiette” has turned to take-out. “We developed it as soon as there was the Covid-19. It gained momentum and people continue to come looking for a menu. Rather than stay here to eat, take off the mask, put back, etc., they prefer to take the meal and be quiet at home “, explains Claude Joly, president of the association, who works voluntarily in the kitchen with two or three other people. “But it’s true that it helps us to hold out, because today we have almost 50% take-out and 50% on site”.
Complete meals, cooked thanks in particular to donations from individuals and associations. “When we created the association five years ago, the aim was to avoid isolation. It is not because we are in a precarious situation that we are not allowed to come to the restaurant. “, adds Claude Joly. So he hopes that the regulars will return soon, to find this very special atmosphere that has been created over the years.
There are tables where there were only isolated people, then we added one, then another, then a third, and now, they have become friends
“He created links. Some came alone at the beginning, and they gradually got closer. There are tables where there were only isolated people, then we added one, then another, then a third, and now they’ve become friends. They’re going to play Scrabble at home, they invite each other, they celebrate their birthdays, whereas they didn’t know each other at all a few years ago “, he says.
The restaurant is open for lunch from Monday to Friday, at 64 avenue de La Châtre, in Châteauroux. “L’Assiette” is also looking for some additional volunteers to provide the service.