Hospitality venues battle to stay open as Storm Eunice hits the UK

18 February 2022 by
Hospitality venues battle to stay open as Storm Eunice hits the UK

Hospitality businesses across the country are battling to stay open as the UK is hit by one of the worst storms in decades.

The Met Office has issued a rare red weather warning for much of southern and eastern England and south Wales and warned people not to travel during Storm Eunice.

St Enodoc hotel, which overlooks the Camel Estuary in Rock, Cornwall saw its entrance sign destroyed and a fence collapse due to the weather.

Executive chef Guy Owen told The Caterer the hotel has remained open but seen some cancellations due to concerns about travel.

Owen said: "We had a short-lived power cut this morning, which is always extremely unnerving to staff and guests, [and prompted] a guest to check our early because of feeling unsettled with the weather.

"The hotel is so exposed to the elements here. Luckily, due to experience, we have a pretty extensive procedure to ensure everything is away or secured before a high wind storm ensuring the welfare of our staff and guests."

Chef Emily Scott has temporarily closed her eponymous restaurant at Watergate Bay hotel in Cornwall due to the weather. In an Instagram post she said it was to keep staff and customers safe as the restaurant was "literally built on the sea wall".

In Bristol, the Sonny Stores restaurant has stayed open despite the weather. Co-owner Mary Glynn said: "[We've] had some cancellations for lunch, although we're still fully booked for dinner thankfully. We've had to do some damage control to our outside stretch tent but otherwise things are working as normal."

Hywel Griffith, head chef at Beach House restaurant in Swansea, also remained positive and said the restaurant had only lost half its lunch bookings and was still looking busy for dinner. "We are still open hoping it will blow out by this evening," he added.

In London a hole was ripped in the roof of the O2 arena and Borough Market closed due to the high winds, but said it planned to trade as normal over the weekend.

Food wholesaler Brakes said it had cancelled a limited number of deliveries on Friday but was working to minimise impact on customers in the worst affected areas. A spokesperson said: "We're working through alternative delivery slots with our customers, once weather conditions are safer."

Tim Adams, director of marketing and sales at wholesaler Bidfood, said: "All of our vehicles leaving Bidfood depots went off ok this morning. As the day has gone on, we've found the main challenges to be our day staff being able to get into work in some of the worst affected areas, as well as a number of our schools customers closing, meaning we are returning with goods undelivered.

"Weather and safety risks are being assessed continuously by each of our 24 sites and we're keeping in touch with customers in those areas most affected."

Food delivery apps have temporarily stopped services in some areas due to the risk to riders. A Deliveroo spokesperson said it had paused deliveries in Wales, London, the south east and areas of the south west of England. "We will continue to monitor the situation and remain in close contact with our partners and riders to let them know when we plan to reopen these areas," they added.

A spokesperson for UberEats said: "Due to the severe weather conditions we have temporarily paused the UberEats app in locations where a red weather warning is in place. Our local teams are closely monitoring the situation and we hope to resume services as soon as it is safe to do so."

The Met Office said conditions would remain unsettled over the weekend and into the start of next week, although they will be much less severe.

Image: Met Office

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