Mitch Tonks believes his Rockfish group will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic “as one of the strongest restaurant businesses in the south west” as he prepares for his Plymouth site to reopen on Saturday with a new menu, new ordering system and a host of measures to improve the experience for staff and for customers.
The group's remaining seven restaurants, including Exeter, Exmouth and Brixham, will open in the weeks afterwards. All jobs and staff have been retained.
The group is feeling very optimistic about its future, having taken time during lockdown to review and reflect on the whole business and introduce not only covid safety measures but also changes that include offering fresh fish from its flagship Brixham site and home delivery of seafood nationwide later in the year.
Mitch comments: “We’re opening our restaurants up one at a time and making sure all the changes and measures we’re introducing absolutely work for our customers and our teams. It will be a little bit different, with a changed menu and ordering process for instance, but we’re retaining all the Rockfish magic that customers have come to love.
“Plymouth is opening first, it is a great big spaced out restaurant overlooking the boats and water, it has loads of outdoor space, different entry and exit doors and so on, it’s the perfect place to reopen first. The marine aquarium next door to us are also opening, feels good to be back!
“We were performing strongly before lockdown and on track for our best year yet; lockdown has put incredible pressures on hospitality but we are confident and optimistic about the future. We’ve been helped by our bank, by government loans and we’ve used the time wisely to develop great ideas we’ve had on the back burner for a while and come out of this with a modern, fresh business. I believe we will emerge from this as one of the strongest restaurant businesses in the south west. We’ve updated everything, in line with all the government guidelines and have produced support documentation and training programmes for all staff, which start this week - it’s a big operation but it is also an exciting one, a chance to reboot!
“Our mission has always been to change the way people experience seafood in the UK and we will continue with that. Prior to lockdown our focus was on further openings of our Rockfish restaurant group along the coast so plans to expand sites will be put on hold temporarily as we consolidate and deal with the new world. We have put into place exciting plans we have long wanted to do going back to our roots, to broaden the offering with retail fish from our flagship Brixham and later home delivery of seafood nationwide. This is
something I’ve always wanted to return to but new restaurant openings were the priority before. We have used this time and space to build that vision.”
The Rockfish group has eight restaurants with three takeaways and also has the award-winning Seahorse restaurant.