New Hotel Mertens (“NHM”), a locally-owned and operated restaurant, bakery and rooftop lounge located at 35 Oakes St SW, today announced he steps it is taking to ensure guests enjoy its food and beverage in a safer environment. The 5-point plan spans its facilities, team, delivery services, and communications strategies.
1. Maintaining excessive separation among tables
Starting March 12th , NHM will utilize its ground-level event room, named Fleur de Lis, which is contiguous to its bar and main dining room, as additional dining space without increasing the aggregate number of tables served. The aim of the dining room re-organization is to create excessive space between tables that will result in the restaurant meeting or exceeding close-contact thresholds from the Centers for Disease Control. New Hotel Mertens owner and restaurant director, Anthony Tangorra, commented, “We’re fortunate to have extra space to be able to offer an enhanced level of comfort and security for our guests. Fleur de Lis offers all of the turn-of-century charm as our main dining room, so
when we’ve used it from time-to-time for other reasons we’ve found that it has been very well received. In this case it is an ideal use of our extra space and a key element of our mitigation plan.”
2. Expansion of delivery options
New Hotel Mertens began breakfast and lunch delivery in the summer of 2019 and, as a part of this plan, will launch dinner delivery on Friday March 13th. The dinner menu offering will expand over a brief period with the intent to soon offer as much of the regular restaurant dinner menu as possible. All deliveries are made by NHM staff-members, which is a key part of the mitigation plan as NHM can better monitor the health of the delivery driver and all other components in the chain of teammates that fulfill a guest’s order.
Tangorra added, “If our guests would prefer to eat at home, then why not make it special with food that they know and love? We built our own internal delivery platform primarily because of the guest service and product integrity concerns of third party delivery services, but now we are realizing the additional benefit of having increased confidence regarding the health of the supply chain in delivering food to our guests throughout Grand Rapids and Kent County.” NHM delivers orders from $10 to $75 throughout many parts of the City of Grand Rapids and throughout much of Kent County for orders over $75. Orders can be made via NHM’s bakery website, www.nhmbakery.com.
3. Team health and safety procedures
As is true for businesses throughout the world, NHM is enhancing its cleanliness and employee sick policies to better safeguard against the spread of the virus. Policy changes include a zero-tolerance policy surrounding teammates that are feeling ill or have had exposure to the virus; insisting such employees not report for work and ensuring an environment is created where they feel comfortable doing so.
The use and frequent replacement of gloves by employees will also be greatly enhanced to include all bartenders, baristas, and anyone else handling food and beverage in the dining room or the kitchen.
In lock step with many other businesses worldwide, NHM will also increase the cleanliness programs and use of sanitizers throughout the facility including bathrooms, door knobs, other high-traffic areas and after the departure of any guest to ensure the table that had a departing customer is completely sanitized before it is used by new guests.
4. Open-air rooftop and outdoor seating
Being in an any area of increased ventilation drastically decreases the chance of passing on the condition, so NHM will place emphasis on its outdoor seating options as the weather presents those opportunities. The company is taking measures to open its open-air rooftop lounge, Haute, as soon as possible. NHM is also exploring options on how to expand the Haute menu to include more food from its main floor menu.
NHM is again planning to utilize its ground-floor storefront along Oakes St SW and Commerce Ave SW to offer tables and chairs for guest use. This year such tables will have the full breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner menu available; including full table service for weekend brunch and dinner.
Tangorra, noting the effect that the virus has had on events in Grand Rapids, added “Though there is a maximum capacity of only 50 seats, our rooftop lounge Haute is an ideal meeting space for the summer season, not only due to its open-air atmosphere which is an important consideration given the reality we are all facing, but also because it is a beautiful venue that shows off the Grand Rapids skyline from 9-floors up while offering a unique selection of food and beverage.”
5. Guest communication
Whether it is via social media, traditional media, or conversing directly with guests, NHM is aiming to tell its guests of the steps taken to keep its facility and food and beverage accessible to the community. Tangorra stated, “We’re striving to give our guests viable, thoughtful options to choose New Hotel Mertens in this unique situation whether it be by visiting us at 35 Oakes St or if we visit them by delivering the New Hotel Mertens experience to their doorstep”.
Tangorra continued, “Just like every other restaurant, we continue to closely follow the guidance of health officials and know that any of us in the restaurant community or the community at-large could quickly find itself in a situation that threatens our physical or fiscal health, but that will not deter us from planning, implementing and communicating about the steps we are taking to make the best out of an unfortunate situation for our restaurant, our employees, our suppliers, our guests and our community.”
About Mertens Hospitality, LLC and New Hotel Mertens
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mertens Hospitality, LLC owns and operates New Hotel Mertens, a brasserie occupying the former lobby and dining room of what was once an early 20th century Grand Rapids hotel of the same name, New Hotel Mertens Bakery, and Haute at New Hotel Mertens, a seasonally-operated rooftop lounge, all located at 35 Oakes St SW. For more information about Mertens Hospitality, LLC please visit www.newhotelmertens.com, email us at email@example.com or call us at 616.551.1713.