"Mono" operator Hendrik Borgmann (41) is a bit relieved for the time being. He has also resisted the closure of his restaurant ordered by the city on that memorable 21st day of the year. March 2020 over for the time being. At 6 p.m. sharp, the "mono" in the new Langerfeldt ensemble at Papenstieg was also tight – and a new time began, practically from one second to the next, as he says.
"Reinventing from one second to the next"
"That was tough. We had to reinvent ourselves a bit, create new ideas, generate sales day after day to cover the continuing costs," reports the 41-year-old. The "crisis" is over for the time being. Borgmann and his team have switched to take-away mode from one day to the next, practically from scratch, and supply their clientele with fresh sushi and other Asian dishes. The sushi now comes home.
Parking ticket trouble spoils the start
The delivery service is now working well, says Borgmann, after an initial jolt. And that has its own story, which also wants to be told here. It all started with the general decree ied by the city on 20 September. March: All restaurants to close from tomorrow. What to do? One thing is clear: a contingency plan must be put in place quickly to get through the difficult time. And that means short-time work for the majority of the 40 or so employees until further notice; the remaining employees are organizing a delivery service to keep the restaurant more or less afloat. Three delivery vehicles are quickly organized, plus a bicycle courier – and the orders really do come in.
But then another actor enters the scene: in the form of a municipal meter maid. She really takes her work very seriously, as it should be. Even in Corona times. It hands out parking tickets, as the law requires, to all vehicle owners who park illegally in the city center. Also at the Papenstieg, before the "Mono" it becomes fundig. The "Mono" collects a warning fine of 30 euros, as Mono co-operator Jorn Clausen recalls.
One had then tried the next day to explain by a note behind the windshield the predicament in which they currently find themselves. Without success. That was not their problem, they said. The next day, there was even talk of "intent", which, as is well known, is even more expensive in the case of such violations. Borgmann and Clausen don't know how to proceed, and also turn to Carsten Muller, a member of the German Bundestag.
In the meantime, the city has relaxed its regulations: "restaurateurs who offer a delivery service due to the closure requirements can now stop more easily for loading and unloading. The city ies short-term exemption permits," it says.
City has a sympathy with the restaurateurs
However, this is not a free ride, says Hendrik Borgmann. Because the permit he got from the city only allows him to stop for up to ten minutes – in residents' parking spaces in short-term parking zones or in restricted stopping zones.
And the customers who pick up their own sushi? Of course, the permit does not apply to them. But the "Mono" people, who remain loyal to their favorite pub even in Corona times, can also reach their restaurant on foot.
A customer stands outside at the collection window. She doesn't want sushi, she wants to get rid of 50 euros, in other words: buy a voucher. "You have to be in solidarity now," she says, meaning that people who think for themselves should now buy vouchers to save "their" favorite pub. In other words, practically pre-finance eating out at this point in time to keep Brunswick's restaurateurs solvent. Other eateries are now sending their food across the city or offering it at the pick-up window. For example, "Il Sorriso" diagonally across the street on Papenstieg. But it's only just getting started, the operator tells us. One must see how it goes on.
And then there's another problem: The necessary packaging, it is said in the meantime, could soon become as scarce as toilet paper. And then?