A restaurant in Birmingham which serves diners in sealed glass 'bubbles' is bucking the national trend and is FOUR TIMES busier than before Covid-19.
The trendy eaterie, called Craft, is currently doing 600 covers a week, which is four times the amount they were doing pre-lockdown.
Owner Sam Morgan, 38, runs the restaurant with wife Emma, 37, and they serve traditional British food with modern twists.
The couple say one of the key reasons for their success was a series of transparent pods which they built as a novelty before the pandemic swept the world.
Dad-of-three Sam said: "The pods were actually put in in January, they weren't installed due to a reaction to Covid.
"They were introduced as being something that's a little different for the city.
"It is something which you'll often find in London, but not in Birmingham. We went into lockdown very shortly afterwards.
"Subsequently, we discovered that these pods were going to be of great interest in respect of a safe return out the lockdown.
"Naturally people see them as being an isolated bubble that they can enjoy dining in.
"There has been a significant rise in customers in respect to that.
"There has been a 628 per cent increase since the installation of the pods in January.
"Last year we opened halfway through July as a brand new restaurant.
"It's just coincidence that we brought the pods in. I think that people are enjoying the experience of having their own area."
Each of the four pods cost £11,000 each and is fully heated, has its own music system and is big enough for six people."
The restaurant also takes diner's temperatures using an infrared thermometer scanner similar to those used at airports.
Despite the success of the restaurant in bucking the national trend, Sam is critical of the Government's new 10pm curfews introduced this week.
He said: "I think the biggest impact of the latest measure is consumer confidence.
"I have a real gripe around the language used about the hospitality industry at the moment.
"That we are to blame and not the shopping industry for example.
"The curfew is out of date and a headline grabber for the Government.
"From 5pm to 8pm is when we can realistically operate, then all our guests need to leave.
"Every venue will get all of their customers out at 10pm.
"Say I have got 60 people in. In Birmingham City Centre, there are 5,500 hospitality businesses.
"You have to do the maths. That is 35,000 people potentially out on the streets at the same time. Those people will then use public transport or drive if they are not drinking.
"I think we will lose £6,000 a week due to the new measures. I don't know how we are going to make that back up. It is impossible.
"The Chancellor of the Exchequer has to come up with new schemes to generate the economy.
"Are you telling me that coronavirus will spread any more if restaurants and pubs were allowed to stay open until 11pm?
"The people making these decisions have probably never worked in hospitality before.
"They have no clue how it works and they assume we are all the same."