The Xwama Traditional Restaurant in Windhoek is one of the most reputable traditional food restaurant that serves exquisite plates that are as much a feast for the eyes as for the mouth. The restaurant is however badly hit by Covid-19 and it’s doing everything it can to keep the business running.
In an interview, Mariana Eliazer, the Duty Manager at Xwama Traditional restaurant, told Biashara newspaper that the restaurant has experienced a drop in sales as a result of a limited number of customers they serve, to provide more room between tables while also practicing social distancing. She added that dwindling sales prompted the restaurant to cut pay for all its employees to maintain their jobs and keep them at the restaurant. Eliazer said cutting salaries was their effort to keep every single person on their payroll and not do terminations but rather think through a way the restaurant can share the burden across everyone.
“Like other restaurants, we are trying to spread the financial pain as we contend with government-ordered covid-19 rules, declining sales, settling of our fixed costs and ensuring that the business survives. Unlike others, we did not retrench any of our workers, however, we had to reduce their pay in order to ease fixed costs and stave off” Eliazer explained.
Many customers are used to eating inside the restaurant and taking their time to chat with friends and it took a long time for them to get used to taking things to-go. But now that things are picking up slowly but surely, the restaurant is stepping up their efforts to streamline operations, designing menu items that can be more easily delivered and doubling down on cleaning, all with an eye on revenues that are shrinking fast and also to maintain their staff.
“For us, it’s not just about surviving but keeping our heritage alive. The thing that drives us in the first place is creating these dishes we’ve perfected for the past years; our chicken is specially made to suit the needs of our customers. We’ve always had a full house and it’s certainly frustrating not being able to accommodate all our guests, but we’re also scared for everyone’s safety. Many of our regulars are of the older generation looking to satisfy their cravings, but we haven’t seen them in months. We don’t reach out to invite these regulars out of concern, as much as we miss them” Eliazer added.
The Xwama Traditional Restaurant located in Wanahenda, in the locality of Katutura, allows customers to place their food order by calling +264 81 520 0487.