Speaking on the latest Restaurant Podcast, Moore, who opened the Michelin-starred, fine-dining institution in London’s Fitzrovia back in 1991, says that while businesses such as his own may have to pivot their offering and model in order to tempt back diners, he worries more for the future of restaurants that have buffet and sharing plate concepts.
“I think people will come back to fine dining,” he says.
“People will still have birthdays and special events to celebrate, and hopefully they’ll think that, as we’ve been around for such a long time, they can rely on us to know the right way of doing things now.
“I worry more for restaurants that have a buffet concept, I think they’re going to struggle big time. And I also think restaurants that specialise in serving sharing plates are going to find it difficult.”
Moore has announced that Pied à Terre will reopen its doors in early September, but he says that originally he was planning to restart as soon as lockdown restrictions were eased on 4 July.
“The whole lockdown period has been really hard. I think I was suffering from some sort of mental depression during the first four weeks. But I soon brushed myself down and began working on our new vegan delivery concept. And when the date came through for reopening in July, I thought ‘ok, great’.
"But then I started to become really anxious about a second wave coming.”
Moore says there’s enough money in the bank to ensure Pied à Terre can weather the extended closure, and the business does now have some revenue coming in thanks to the launch of the Pied Vegan delivery boxes.
The biggest fear for him would be reopening the restaurant, and then being forced to close it again.
“I decided it would be best to just sit and wait,” he explains.
“I’m going to watch others to see what works, and what doesn’t work. What people are doing well, and what they are falling foul of.
“We don’t fully understand track and trace, which is a massive worry. If I get the call that one of my customers has been diagnosed with the virus, what would happen to all the staff that have interacted with that guest? Do I have to send them home?
“I’m coming back from an extended closure with a streamlined team, I don’t have the resources to cover a situation like that.
“I have a lot of angst about the prospect of a second wave and second closure, which I fear we would not be able to come back from.”