People don’t plan ahead anymore: restaurant challenges

Aleo restaurant, Beggen Photo credit: Aleo

Aleo restaurant, Beggen Photo credit: Aleo

The past 18 months have been brutal for the hospitality sector. Christos Soulis, co-founder and manager of Luxembourg Mediterranean fine dining experience Aleo, speaks about some of the challenges that the industry faces and hopes for 2022.

What changes in dining behaviour have you seen during the Covid19 pandemic?

Christos Soulis: People aren’t planning ahead anymore. They’ll reserve but for the weekend or a week ahead at most. The same applies to event reservations. One time, customers would have booked events a year in advance but not anymore. Secondly, people are dining out in smaller groups and reserving big gatherings of friends and family for the home. Fortunately the CovidCheck regime makes people feel safer and it’s great for them to be able to remove their masks.

How have you had to adapt?

We’ve had to be flexible about what our restaurant can offer--takeaway services, for example. We’ve also opened a deli within the restaurant selling high-quality Greek products, such as extra virgin oil, traditional pasta, chutneys, herbs and spices, olives and wines. For those nervous about covid, we offer private events.

What are your hopes for 2022?

Apart from things returning to normal with vaccinations we hope that government assistance continues to the hospitality sector in the event of another lockdown. Measures from the Luxembourg government have helped to keep us afloat in a really tough time. Luxembourg has a strong culture of dining out and we hope that people retain that way of life.

Aleo is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, in Beggen, Luxembourg, influenced by Greek food philosophy with chef Dionysis Papanikolaou.