But she might close for good if Thames Road traffic scheme goes ahead
Lorraine Angliss, the owner of Annie’s restaurant, is looking forward to delivering quality cuisine to the people of Chiswick this summer but the road ahead is far from clear, literally and figuratively.
She told ChiswickW4.com, “We can’t wait to welcome people back and to get on with the ‘new normal’’ whatever that is ... we will take all the measures to protect our staff and customer. It will be our mission to make sure we continue to create wonderful happy times, great food and creative cocktails in our Home from home... that’s what Annie’s is - a local institution.
“Twenty years is a long time but I have enjoyed every moment and I’m so excited to open our doors again very soon.”
The planned reopening date is 5 August and part of the Annie’s team will return with a reduced food, drink and cocktails menu served until the guidelines for the industry become clearer. Once they know exactly what the rules are, they will endeavour to train and support their staff so that they are all efficient and well informed on social distance and keeping to the rules.
Lorraine endorsed the view of Simon Emeny, the Chief Executive of the Fuller’s pub chain, who is urging the government to switch from a two metre to one metre social distancing rule. This weekend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak gave a broad hint that this was under serious consideration.
Lorraine added, “The government must trust us to take care of our customers that’s what we do and will continue to do so but with extra caution and care.
“Annie’s has always been about looking after our customers but also about a lovely warm friendly atmosphere which won’t change.”
She’d also like to see more support from local government. For instance Hounslow Council could consider waiving the charges for pavement licences.
Similar arrangements will be in place at Little Bird, Annie’s sister restaurant in Chiswick but a takeaway menu will also be considered there.
When asked about the future of the food and drink sector in general Lorraine said, “ I predict that the restaurant industry will change considerably in many ways - it may mean less menu choice, fewer staff and a change of operating hours - this will all be reviewed as time goes on.”
However she dismissed the idea that fewer covers would mean higher prices saying that they are extremely sensitive to people’s financial difficulties at this moment in time.
Her mood of optimism disappears however when the subject of the traffic proposals for the South Chiswick area is raised. The road on which Annie’s is situation would be controlled by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras which would mean that people without access would be fined for driving along it.
She said, “ I completely disagree with the traffic proposal - it’s utter nonsense and it would be detrimental to all the businesses operating in Thames Road. I would probably close the doors for good if that were to happen - after 20 years it would be a very sad day for me and for many people but the damage would be too great to survive.”
With or without the traffic cameras it looks like it will be challenging for restaurants even with the reputation and track record of Annie’s. Some may never return, for instance the nearby Steam Packet pub looks to have gone permanently, but those that do open their doors again will need the support of local customers to survive.
June 21, 2020