By Cecil MENSAH
It is about three years since the skeleton of the DC-10 aircraft belonging to the defunct Ghana Airways was turned into a ‘chop bar’.
Christened ‘La Tante DC 10 Restaurant and branded by Club Beer with the accompanying tagline ‘Come aboard charle’, the restaurant made a huge impact upon its opening, drawing patrons from near and far.
Located across the road from the Marina Mall and near the AFGO cargo section of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), the fully air-conditioned restaurant has waiters and waitresses usually dressed like air hostesses and stewards of an airborne aircraft.
The restaurant is owned by Vindira Company Limited in partnership with the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) with Ms. Indira Shriyan as a director of the company.
Now, Business Day Ghana can report that something, which the operators might not have predicted, is happening to the restaurant.
An absence of a buzz, dusty exterior of the aircraft, an apparently unkempt garden at the foyer and no sight of posh cars driving in and out of its parking space, have combined to force speculations that operators of the La Tante DC 10 Restaurant have closed it down.
But Awo Broihm, a director of the company, has told Business Day Ghana that the restaurant has been operating except that business has been slow.
She said last year was a terrible year for the operations of the restaurant, adding that the outbreak of Ebola, economic slowdown and dumsor (power rationing) were key factors in pushing the operations of the restaurant down.
“Operating a business in 2015/2016 was daunting, coupled with the payment of the emoluments of staff working in the restaurant; but in all we managed to survive the shocks,” she disclosed.
“So, sometimes people around assume the restaurant is not operational in the area but we are operating as usual and have been involved in other sublet cooking contracts for organizations.
“We have been operating. It is only that patronage is low… and it cannot be true that we have shut down as you claim.”
She expressed optimism that the hospitality industry is seasonal and it is the expectation of the company that business will pick-up in June, July and August.
According to her, the month of January and the early quarter are lean seasons for the hospitality industry across the country.
Meanwhile, she indicated that the aircraft itself is undergoing some sought of renovations for the removal of the air-conditioners inside to make room for more space in the aircraft.
According to her, they are seeking a new branding deal for the aircraft to attract more patronage as the management of Accra Brewery Company Limited pulled out of the branding contract when its South African Company sold its shares in the company.
She revealed that the company has been able to strike a new deal for the branding of the aircraft and very soon the aircraft will be branded for business to bounce back.
She stressed that even though the aircraft-restaurant is a novelty in the country, there is massive competition in the surroundings of the restaurant as it is surrounded by so many fast food joints and hotels.
But one unique feature about the restaurant, she said, is that it is the only joint for promoting African dishes and boosting the local tourism in the catchment area of the KIA.
She was hopeful that this year the economy will rebound, and coupled with the grand opening of the terminal three facilities at KIA, to give the restaurant a fresh start.
The anticipation is that when the new terminal is on stream the company will augment its staff, pushing its staff strength to 35.
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