Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The threat of long confinement makes creperies tremble

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Illustration of a pancake in a reindeer kitchen. – C. Allain / 20 Minutes

  • Closed due to confinement, Breton crêperies fear for their financial health.
  • The structure of these businesses, often small and managed by a couple, weakens the owners.
  • The threat of a poor tourist season raises fears of “many failures” this year.

The biligs are cold, the salted butter caramel stored in the reserves. In Brittany as everywhere in France, catering is at a standstill. The region’s renowned crêperie sector is no exception to the strict rules of
confinement. In the community, there is more concern than elsewhere about an extension of the measures necessary to combat the spread of
coronavirus. Explanations.

“I was in full service when the phone rang. Customers wanted to cancel their reservation for the next day. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, I was lost. ” David Elard will long remember his evening on Saturday March 14, 2020. The owner of the Ty-Glaz crêperie, based in Châteaulin (Finistère) had to close his establishment like everyone else, on a Saturday evening in March. “I was sold out the next day. We canceled everything, ”says the restaurateur. Whoever took over the business two years ago does not hide his concern. In a few weeks, he squandered the cash to pay his four employees and his suppliers. But then ? “I lose 7,000 euros a week. How long are we going to last like this? ” He applied for a loan from the BPI and receives 1,500 euros per month offered under the Entrepreneurs’ Solidarity Fund.

“There will no doubt be many failures”

If David Elard worries so much, it is because he knows he is dependent on tourism. Like many crêperies, its establishment runs from April to September, before slowing down for the rest of the year. “There will undoubtedly be many failures next year for those who have not succeeded in restoring their cash,” said Gilles Stéphant.

Owner of an address in Plomeur, in Finistère, the president of the Regional Creperie Federation is the voice of an entire profession. “Many are worried. We are unable to put our employees into partial unemployment because the services are overwhelmed. We are under pressure. I even fear that some will sink into depression ”.

“No psychosis”

But basically, how are the crêperies different from other restaurants? “It is the component of these companies that weakens them. These are many small structures, often managed by husband and wife. It is often the only source of income, “continues Gilles Stéphant. Like others, the restaurateurs asked for charge deferrals to limit the breakage, “but it will be necessary to pay one day”. And for that, all the crepe makers and crepe makers are waiting to relight their biligs. “We already know that we will be the last to reopen,” said David Elard. Since March 14, the 58 chairs of his restaurant located on the road to Pointe-du-Raz remain empty. “We don’t know how people will react to the end of confinement. We cross our fingers so that there is no psychosis.

A little further west, Stéphane Pichon’s daily newspaper is no happier. Voted the best pancake maker in the world in January, the cook had undertaken to buy the crêperie Armen, located in Plogoff, close to the famous Pointe du Raz. He hoped to surf his title to fill the 150 seats at his establishment. “I was due to open in mid-April, but the final act has not been signed. I think we will do it soon. I expected to have a great year. It is certainly not the opening dreamed of, “admits the Breton champion. Like the others, he waits, tinkers and keeps busy, waiting for better days. Days that will smell good toasted buckwheat and farm cider again.

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