The Real Foods Group has opened a new store in Kloof Street, housing four of its fast-casual dining brands in a space that embraces Covid-19 health and safety requirements. The four dining outlets are Nü Health Food Café, Schoon Bread Café, Free Bird and Kofi, each offering high quality, wholesome and artisanal food made from fully traceable ingredients.
Dean Kowarski, CEO of Real Foods, says, “Covid-19 has changed casual dining, so we’ve embraced the new requirements for a safe dining experience at Kloof Street Village and have considered how people want to socialize. Although the site was secured prior to lockdown, we completely redesigned the restaurant during lockdown by conceptualizing what it would take for maximum health and safety.”
“The store features Perspex screens to cordon off certain areas, while still allowing for a social vibe between socially distanced tables. Technology is used to facilitate contactless transactions and there is a large outdoor seating area for fresh-air and summer socializing.”
Every half hour, buzzers go off to remind staff to sanitize or wash their hands. Other interventions include self-order kiosks and a mobile app using QR codes for ordering from any of the four outlets. The app can be used to order ahead, and all take-away orders are collected in a dedicated contactless area. Customers can make use of the in-store counter service, which have protective Perspex screens to keep customers and staff safe.
The space’s design helps to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19 – large fold-stack windows allow for better ventilation, and sanitization stations and handwashing facilities were added. Kofi and Nü have outdoor ordering hatches so that customers can order coffees, juices and smoothies without entering the store, and there is a completely separate entrance for food delivery drivers.
The space’s eateries are a mix of new and established – Nü brings diners its trademark healthy fare, and Schoon sells bread and pastries made with 100% South African stoneground flour utilizing traditional baking methods. The two new additions are Kofi, which serves small-batch roasted African coffee as well as an alcoholic beverage list curated by Publik Wine, and Free Bird, which offers free-range crispy chicken burgers.
Says Kowarski, “Free Bird has been trading as a virtual brand in dark kitchens around Cape Town, Sandton and Pretoria and its success prompted us to open our first physical retail location. It offers a differentiated, premium, free range crispy chicken burger and strips concept including hand-cut fries . The hand-made brioche burger buns are from Schoon bakery in Stellenbosch, and condiments like pickled vegetables and authentic kimchi are made in-house using fresh ingredients. It’s re-imagining comfort food for a modern era.”