The highly popular Manouche Craft Bakery & Bistro eatery will be opening its doors at a new Sliema outlet as of Tuesday (tomorrow).
Speaking to WhosWho.mt, Owner and Director Bjorn Bartolo explained that the outlet will be take-away only, after the Planning Authority (PA) consistently refused to grant a catering licence for the location.
The Sliema address for the take-away only outlet is number 4, Mons G. Depiro Street, close by to St Dorothy’s school.
Despite there being several other establishments in the vicinity with such a licence, Mr Bartolo said that the PA refused to grant the new Manouche outlet one on the grounds that it will be located in a residential area.
The property was placed under Manouche as of June 2020, with the company paying rent on the address since then, in the hopes that their licensing issues with the PA would be resolved.
In addition, Mr Bartolo said they had hired three new employees to service the outlet, which the company continued to pay despite being unable to open.
“Despite being one of the few hospitality establishments that did not sack anybody during the tough times, in an industry where lots of people were being let go, the PA still declined to give us a catering licence, where we would have serviced just 12 seats,” he said in comments to WhosWho.mt
Asked about how the brand fared since the onset of the pandemic, Mr Bartolo shared that Manouche fortunately continued to perform strongly throughout and that keeping all staff throughout meant the company would be taking a loss, but “we could see the bigger picture and that things would turn around”.
Mr Bartolo praised the Government’s wage supplement, saying that Manouche then topped up wages for employees.
Since Manouche kept all staff on board, they have escaped the widespread worker shortage plaguing the local hospitality industry.
Asked why Sliema was chosen, Mr Bartolo said that the area is ideal being that the outlet will be a take-away only establishment, meaning residents can grab and go at their leisure, and that locals often visit the town on their days off.
2021 is proving to be a busy year for Manouche, with Mr Bartolo revealing that next month, another outlet will be opening in Paceville, in front of Mercury Tower.
Come September, a fifth outlet will be opening in collaboration with Bortex clothing. It will be located in Baystreet shopping complex, at the centre of Bortex’s outlets.