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Secret Garden in Sudbury consolidates business to one site due to effects of coronavirus pandemic




The owners of a French eatery in Sudbury have been forced to remodel their business following a loss of trade during the coronavirus outbreak.

As part of the restructure, The Secret Garden will operate both its cafe and restaurant from the same site in Friars Street.

Having previously leased one of its premises, business owners Alain Jacq and Stephané Chapotot are hoping the decision to consolidate the sites will prove more financially viable.

The Secret Garden, Buzzards Hall, 17 Friars St, Sudbury.French restaurant - The Secret Garden has been forced to consolidate its premises following the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic..The business is currently undergoing a major refurbishment..Picture: Business owners Stephané Chapotot and Alain Jacq. Picture by Mark Westley. (35613605)
The Secret Garden, Buzzards Hall, 17 Friars St, Sudbury.French restaurant - The Secret Garden has been forced to consolidate its premises following the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic..The business is currently undergoing a major refurbishment..Picture: Business owners Stephané Chapotot and Alain Jacq. Picture by Mark Westley. (35613605)

“Because of Covid-19, we have had to let one of our premises go,” said Mr Chapotot. “And we have regrouped everything to cut down on costs.”

The move will see the existing kitchen at Buzzards Hall redesigned to accommodate a designated patisserie area to create baked goods such as croissants, cakes and scones to serve in the café.

Once the business reopens, a series of social distancing measures will be put in place, including a one-way system for customers to enter and leave the building safely.

“We can reassure people that we are taking all steps to ensure it will be safe for them,” said Mr Chapotot.

While most of the team have been furloughed during the crisis, the business was forced to let a group of its part-time staff go.

After all its bookings for Mothering Sunday in March had to be cancelled, the business managed to provide a home delivery service, a gesture which had been well-received by customers.

“They were extremely happy that we could offer something,” said Mr Chapotot.

While non-essential businesses, including eateries, have been closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the unprecedented situation has become an increasing concern for Mr Chapotot and his team.

“We didn’t know what to expect, so there was a real sense of uncertainty,” he said.

The business has recently established a virtual wine tasting event, which is being hosted via Zoom, a video conferencing application.

Before each session, a range of wines are delivered to customers, along with a freshly cooked evening meal.

“A lot of people have been stuck at home during the lockdown, so we thought, ‘what can we do to keep in touch with our customers,’” said Mr Chapotot.

The business plans to launch an online cooking class, which will be hosted by business owner and head chef Mr Jacq.

“In the comfort of their own kitchen, Alain will teach people the recipes,” said Mr Chapotot.

The pair have run the restaurant since taking over the business from Mr Chapotot’s uncle in 2004. “I was inspired by him,” added the 45-year-old, who grew up in Versailles.


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