NOW this is a high-profile commercial casualty of the escalating Coronavirus pandemic – all branches of Hawksmoor are to shut their doors with immediate effect. City restaurants quickly following suit have included Erst, 20 Stories and Mowgli, Baratxuri/Levanter, Three Little Words and Lunya (though its deli sales operation remains open) while others are seeking takeaway and delivery survival solutions. Street food commercial casualties include GRUB (collections only) and Hatch's 'biggest sustainable market', scheduled for March 27-29.
The Hawksmoor announcement was the initial bombshell. Taste of Manchester has just given a five-star review to the Hawksmoor Classic menu celebrating five hugely successful years in the Court House, Deansgate. We were even penning an evaluation of their radically new cocktail list when the news broke. The closure is, of course, temporary but how do we gauge a hiatus in such apocalyptic times?
This is the statement from co-owners Huw Gott and Will Beckett, who run five Hawksmoors in London, plus Manchester, Edinburgh and imminently New York: “Today we have made the most difficult decisions we have ever made or that we ever hope to make in future.
“As of tomorrow we will temporarily close all of the Hawksmoor restaurants – I feel that that is clearly what the government is advising us to do even if they are not mandating it. It is clearly in the interest of public health to do so and nothing is more important than that, in particular our responsibilities to the elderly and the vulnerable.
“I have also had to end the employment of some of the wonderful people who work at Hawksmoor. We have tried to treat those people as fairly as possible, paying full notice and we are trying to give them every guidance on how they can get extra support during these difficult times.
“We have also told them that what has happened today doesn’t prevent them in any way from being part of the company again in the future and we will stay in touch with them to offer any support and information we can.
This enables us to make sure that Hawksmoor survives – not because of money or profit, but in order that the thing that we have all spent much of our professional lives building can go back to being a place where we can look after as many staff and customers as possible for years to come.”
Read the rest of the Covid-19 Response here. Hawksmoor insist they won’t be won’t be providing delivery or click and collect, or even offering vouchers, gallantly suggesting smaller businesses might be a better target for such support.