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Hearing Hospitality: Brook, Owner of Voodoo Balham

Hearing Hospitality: Brook, Owner of Voodoo Balham

Local pubs and bars are forced to face new restrictions due to coronavirus, with even the sale of takeaway alcohol now temporarily banned from their venues.

Even when takeaway was allowed, businesses were still challenged by the loss of typical trade margins, so are now facing further financial struggle.

Colourful rum bar and family-run business, Voodoo, on Hildreth Street, told us how they’ve been coping in the current circumstances. We spoke to Operations Director, Brook about the challenges to his business, as well as his view on the future recovery of the hospitality industry. 

“The new rules and tier system have brought new responsibilities. When we were open for takeaway-only, I found that I had to be present a lot more at my venue since I was suddenly tasked with policing my property and held responsible for the behaviour of others - so when groups congregated around the premises, I was the one troubled and made accountable for any noise and socialisation.”

“Takeaway drinks, to a degree, were a lifesaver. But we weren’t making enough in takeaways to cover the costs of our rents, pay for our staff and budget for our delivery orders. We were grateful to have takeaways as an option but they only supported us so much. And now they’re banned too! As for the handouts we’ve received, they’ve worked more as providing assistance than anything of real help.”

“At the end of the day, we’re a luxury business. We’re heading into a recession and what will be one of the worst economic years to date. My belief is that the unfortunate reality will be that many people will have less disposable income which will consequently affect businesses like mine. In a post-lockdown world, hospitality services are likely to see less of the typical customer numbers it saw before the pandemic.”

“What I look forward to post-lockdown is the freedom to do my trade without the feeling of house arrest and being told how to conduct my business. I want to be back in control of how I operate and run things here.”

Thanks to Brook for sharing how his business is faring at this time.

Voodoo is located at 9 Hildreth Street, specialising in rum and other cocktails, along with a small menu serving delicious Nachos and American Hot Dogs.

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