Gohan - Restaurant & Sake Bar
Today Gohan is closing down for the moment. All our quests with reservations for the time period of March and April, will be contacted for re-booking. But we have good news, tomorrow we are opening a Fat Ramen cloud kitchen in our restaurant space. Take-out and deliveries only!
Open letter to our Community;
COVID-19 is testing the world’s communities, infrastructure, policies, and most of all its leadership. We have now seen the damage that secrecy, fear and hate can inflict on our globe in a short period of time. For these reasons, we hope what will bring us out of this pandemic will be improved transparency and a genuine focus on our local communities. To that end, the owners of Fat Ramen write this open letter to our community here in Helsinki, to be transparent about our priorities and our strategy to deal with the National Emergency announced in Finland on Monday.
The foundation on which we will operate over the coming months is set out in these ordered priorities:
1. Ensuring the stability of our companies and brands (Fat Ramen, Gohan & Ruoto Catering). Protecting the financial stability of our companies is important to keep operations ongoing to protect the jobs of everyone depending on us. For this reason, protecting the stability of the company by acting fast and being proactive is our highest priority.
2. Supporting all of our staff as best possible. With a healthy company we are in a fortunate position where we can spend resources to help our staff. This priority is all encompassing, from providing our workers with as many paid hours as possible to putting in place and enforcing health policies to maintain their health. Our workers are a family and we must look out for them as a top priority.
3. Providing our community with healthy food. The natural byproduct of a healthy company and healthy staff is that we are able to provide for our community. Our actions here must go beyond merely providing food consistent with WHO recommendations and national emergency guidelines/regulations. We are in a fortunate position where much of our produce is purchased from nearby farmers. Our direct relationship with these farmers and suppliers allows us to better monitor the condition of the products and transportation to ensure we are receiving clean and safe ingredients to make our food. Additionally, as we already operate a dark/cloud kitchen (a delivery only restaurant with no customer seats), we have the processes, experience and infrastructure in place to open new delivery/takeaway only kitchens rapidly so we can increase the radius of our community.
4. Placing our company in the best position for success in Q3/Q4 2020. By adapting quickly, we hope we can rapidly expand our delivery operations to cover more of Helsinki in the next 1-2 weeks. For the rest of Q1 & Q2 we accept operating with minimal margins, with the owners forgoing salaries, in order to provide as many of our staff with full time jobs and to support our local suppliers as best possible. We believe that tourism will not recover this summer which will dramatically affect our old business strategy. Therefore, we need to look for opportunities, locations and strategies during this period to give us the chance for meeting our goals for the end of this year while meeting our top three priorities first.
Based on these priorities we have made the tough decision to close our customer seating restaurants during the state of national emergency in Finland, which at the moment extends From March 18th to April 13th. In practice this means that Gohan will be closed. Additionally, we will not be serving dine-in customers at Fat Ramen in the Hietalahti Kauppahalli.
To support our staff and community we will temporarily change Gohan into a Fat Ramen dark/cloud kitchen available on Wolt. This will provide deliveries and takeaway for the eastern part of Helsinki. We will continue operating our dark/cloud kitchen in Lapinlahti to support the west side of the city and, as long as the building is open, our Hietalahti Kauppahali location as a dark/cloud kitchen to support the center of the city. We will add takeaway as an option to all locations for those who do not want home deliveries. Additionally, we suggest that all customers to take a no-contact form of delivery, which we will be instituting at all of our locations.
To protect the health of our staff and customers we will put in place new health monitoring policies immediately. Our staff will be required to record their temperature twice a day and any one with an elevated temperature will be subject to quarantine. Additionally, we will arrange our staff shifts in a way to minimize group contamination in the event that any one person would come in direct contact with the disease.
Furthermore, as we are ending all dine-in eating at our restaurants we will be re-assigning our front of house staff as best possible to support their livelihood. This will include kitchen duties, logistics and even deliveries. We recognize that there will be challenges along the way and difficult decisions every day that will test our resolve to stick to our priorities and transparency. All we can do is our best, and that’s what we will do.
If everyone does their part to stay healthy, limit their risk of transmission to others, and continues to support their local communities, we will be able to come out of this pandemic together, as one.
From our Fat Ramen, Gohan and Ruoto Catering family, stay healthy!
Josh Wert, CEO Fat Ramen and founders Marcos Gois & Otto Sarpaniemi