Words Of Wisdom From Berlin Gastro Legend: Cynthia Barcomi

March 18, 2020|Interviews

©Dennis Williamson

Kreuzberg/Mitte- Barcomi’s founder Cynthia Barcomi, one of the founding members of the present day gastro scene was gracious enough to share some of here thoughts with Eatler. Offering some wise words and inspiration, Cynthia never fails to asses the situation properly.

What is the current status of Barcomi’s both in Kreuzberg and in Mitte? – I closed my Deli in Mitte until further notice. There was simply NOT the foot traffic for it to be open. My shop in Kreuzberg is still open. YAY!

How are you going to manage your employees during this time? – All employees have agreed to “Kurzarbeit”. Only time will tell which percentage of shift reduction is necessary. Employees of the Deli are at 100% Kurzarbeit until further notice – but they are not technically “un-employed”.

What does service look like in Barcomi’s while Corona is upon us? – We have already begun with Barcomi’s Room Service. Our food – cakes, soups, salads, sandwiches and coffee are really mobile so…we have morphed into Room Service. Fast, courteous and delicious!

How do you think the delivery model will affect the market? – I mean, what are we going to do? It is an option and highly competitive, which is good for the consumer. Like any market, it will weed itself out. It is not just enough to have a good product at a good price. It’s all about the logistics. It is a totally different beast than having a restaurant. Survival of the fittest. And even then…

What does the future of Berlin gastronomy look like? – The world has entered a new chapter and it’s not pretty. We can’t navigate it because we can’t see what’s ahead. I can plan 24 hours, maybe 48 hours in advance. Any more than that simply means re-planning plans that are no longer feasible. I do think some places won’t survive and I pray that Barcomi’s is not one of them that goes under. One of my landlords has already told me to not even think of asking to pay less rent or my rent late! I mean really? There is no “too big to fail” and I will do everything in my power to secure the jobs of my employees and lead Barcomi’s through this threatening time.

Have you had any troubles with suppliers? – Butter, sugar, flour, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables. We make everything by hand which also makes us pretty flexible as far as fluctuating ingredients goes. The supply chain is not our issue, not right now.

Is there anything you would like to share with Eatler readers? – It is a scary time and we are all in the same boat, if that’s any conciliation. Don’t isolate yourself mentally, exercise and try and stay connected to humankind! We’re going to get thought this, even if we don’t yet know how.

Final words? – I really think that letting people know that they are not alone in this really screwed-up-time is some how comforting. I mean I also have moments where I could jump out the window…but then I try and get a perspective and focus on what I CAN do.

Barcomi’s Café & Kaffeerösterei, Bergmannstr. 21, Kreuzberg
@Barcomi’s, Map

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