Italian restaurant closes after more than three decades in business
- Credit: Renato Sormani
An Italian restaurant will not reopen following its forced four-month closure due to Covid-19.
Owner Renato Sormani of Il Giardino in The Beach in Clevedon, said closing the restaurant with ‘no debts, no outstanding invoices and a clean conscience’ is the ‘best way forward’.
Francesco and Adriana Sormani, Renato’s parents, who opened the Clevedon seafront restaurant in 1987, support their son’s decision ‘100 per cent’ and said the double whammy of a health and economic crisis has ‘crippled the industry’.
Renato says he weighed-up all the options, but due to the Government allowing restaurants to reopen under ‘such prohibitive restrictions and conditions’, he believes it is the right thing to do.
He said: “As you can imagine, it has been a really difficult time for us and taking such a decision has been heart-wrenching.
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“Winding up the business now with no debts, no outstanding invoices and a clean conscience is the best way forward. There would be nothing worse than to open, spend a vast amount on Covid-19 safety precautions, and then six months down the line find myself unable to pay my fantastic staff, suppliers and on top of that get laden with an ever-increasing amount of debt.
“The margins in the hospitality trade are so fine at the busiest of times, let alone during a pandemic when people are fearful to just step out of their front doors. Then imagine limiting the capacity to 50 per cent, the figures just don’t stack up.”
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Before opening Il Giardino, Renato’s father Francesco managed Harvey’s restaurant in Bristol ‘in its heyday’ and a number of Berni Inns and Sormani’s in Baldwin Street.
Renato says many of his father’s customers followed him when his parents opened Il Giardino 33 years ago and became loyal customers.
Renato added: “The loyalty of our customers has been incredible, first for my father and then for me. They have become our friends and we will miss seeing them dearly. Likewise, our staff have become more like family, some of whom have worked with us well over 20 years.
“If we could say one thing, it would be a massive thank you to everyone who has helped us over the last three decades. To our fantastic suppliers, charming customers, and wonderful staff: we’ll miss you and thank you.”