Versatile Ranelagh restaurant Nightmarket reinvents as takeaway

Local deliveries, within a 5km radius, being done by erstwhile restaurant’s part-time staff

Nightmarket in Ranelagh are offering a takeaway and delivery service for its patrons. From left: Emma Geoghegan, deliveries with Conor Sexton and Jutarat R Suwankeeree. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Nightmarket in Ranelagh are offering a takeaway and delivery service for its patrons. From left: Emma Geoghegan, deliveries with Conor Sexton and Jutarat R Suwankeeree. Photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Like many in the hospitality trade, Conor Sexton and his partner Jutarat Suwankeeree shut down Nightmarket, their Thai restaurant and cocktail bar in Ranelagh, Dublin 6, last Saturday.

“We had operated at less than 50 per cent capacity for a few days and it was proving extremely difficult to implement social distancing,” Sexton said.

However, the following day they reopened as a takeaway and delivery business, extending their hours, and opening seven days a week. Food orders can be placed by telephone or text, and payment is contactless. Business has been good, they say, with an equal split between takeaways and deliveries.

Customers who choose to collect their orders pick it up from a side room of the restaurant that has direct street access. “The doors of this area remain open, so no door handles have to be touched by customers or staff. We have collection desks set up, and there is plenty of space.”

Local deliveries, within a 5km radius, are being done by some of the restaurant’s part-time staff. “I let them know that there wasn’t going to be a lot of work, and some of them with access to cars agreed to do the deliveries,” Sexton said.

There is a €2.50 charge for delivery, which is retained by the drivers, and they remain outside the building while another staff member drops the food out to them. “We have two drivers on [duty] every night, three this weekend, and we have been doing between 15 and 20 deliveries a night.”

Health and safety protocols have been put in place for staff, according to Sexton. “We have a very strict hygiene regime, front and back of house, with multiple deep cleans daily and two cleaners on site at all times.”

Staff members who are in contact with older people, or those in at-risk groups, have been asked not to work.

The long-term viability of the venture is uncertain. “We have 16 staff employed for now, mostly on over 30 hours a week. I honestly don’t believe we’re a business anymore, so the figures don’t matter for now, it’s all about survival. We’re offering a social service and we’ll keep going as long as we can,” Sexton said.

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