The owner of a restaurant chain in Belgium has asked customers to pay €1 per person to help pay rising electricity and gas bills. According to Michel da Bloos, the cost of living crisis is a matter of life and death for his business.
The Sabai Sabai chain has 20 Asian restaurants in Brussels and the country. According to De Bloos, with an energy bill of €100,000 per month and 100,000 customers, €1 extra is more than enough to cover his costs.
“The idea is to ask people to help us survive so that we can continue to exist after the crisis.”
While other restaurant owners have opted to simply raise prices, De Bloos has resorted to the idea of ”temporary energy assistance” that will be phased out when the crisis is over.
Customers find on every table in Sabai Sabai establishments a sheet explaining the situation, which aims to convince them to give the euro. Some are giving, but others, such as actor Jerome Hauptmann, say “times are tough for everyone.” “The government should support everyone, it is not fair to transfer everything to the consumers,” he points out.
De Bloos claims that most customers support the restaurants: “It’s a matter of life and death for us whether we survive. But if people don’t want to give that euro, we don’t argue with them.”