Restaurants throughout the Czech Republic are due to open on May 25 but with restrictions on table distance and other challenging measures in place, the fine-dining landscape in the Czech capital, in particular, will be irreparably changed.
One restaurant that has been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in the Czech Republic is Field, the Michelin-starred Old Town farm-to-fork venue helmed by chef Radek Kašpárek. Kašpárek recently told Seznam News that he would reopen at the end of the month with a more affordable menu — and predicted that many of his colleagues would need to do the same.
“For starters, we will lose about 60 percent of our clientele, because foreigners simply will not come. [Guests] will be Czechs and we will try to bring the concept closer to them…offer a kinder face that is more affordable for the general public,” he said of his current plans.
Among the changes coming to Field according to Kašpárek will be a new lunch menu consisting of three courses for 590 CZK and two courses for 490 CZK. In a 2018 ranking, the restaurant was named as one of the cheapest Michelin-starred meals in the world. He says diners will be subjected to having their temperatures taken and disinfecting of hands prior to the meal.
Kašpárek believes that restaurateurs will need to be more down to earth in both price tags and concepts in order to stay afloat in the new post-coronavirus dining scene.
“The era when some companies were able to price beef sirloin or confit duck for 600 CZK is over,” the chef told the Seznam interviewer.
Similar sentiments have been echoed by Filip Šimoník chef of the Ambiente group’s Kuchyň who announced the restaurant’s closure in April with a blog post criticizing Prague restaurants for behaving arrogantly toward customers.
“We didn’t offer a classic espresso, but only filtered coffee. In retrospect, we wanted to return the Czechs to the Castle, to become a place of family reunions, and we didn’t have as basic a drink as espresso for the 40+ guests?” Šimoník wrote on his blog, adding: “The environment will only tolerate it for a while. Then people will go after those who meet their needs.”
Kuchyň has since taken advantage of the “COVID-19 moratorium” and was able to renegotiate the terms of its lease with the National Gallery’s Salm Palace in which it is located. It reopened its terrace earlier this week.
Kašpárek is also considering launching a more traditional restaurant concept geared toward Czech customers. He spoke about the challenges of defending a Michelin star when the awards had been delayed.
“The announcement of the Michelin stars was supposed to be in the middle of March, and we still don’t know if we defended ours from last year. This is due to the fact that the restaurants have remained closed and the defense should come only when the new operation of the companies starts,” he said.
Field opted out of a take-out window during the closures opting to deliver 160 lunches daily to paramedics in nearby hospitals instead.
Kašpárek said in the interview that he believes 30 percent of restaurants could close by the end of the year.