Rashays founder blocks restaurant re-openings until unvaccinated free to dine

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Sep 2021 View comments

The founder of Rashays restaurant chain, Rami Ykmour, has taken a stance on the opening up of New South Wales businesses on 11 October saying he will not re-open any outlets until 1 December when unvaccinated diners are allowed entry.

In a video posted on LinkedIn Ykmour said welcoming hospitality was crucial to his business and he didn’t want to put staff in a position of turning away customers.

In the LinkedIn post he wrote “I have made a tough decision today, I will not open RASHAYS® for dine in until I can welcome EVERYONE. RASHAYS® will remain as pickup and delivery until the 1st of December.

“You are in hospitality to be hospitable and welcoming, the vaccination passport goes against my values as a restaurateur. I hope you all can understand.”

Among the thousands of comments, a few raised the question of how this decision could be made for franchisees, and how it will impact them.

The continued closure until December could cost Rashays $10m, according to breakfast tv program Sunrise.

In an interview with Sunrise, Ykmour told presenter David Koch “My business has survived on being inclusive for 23 years. My values are much more important than what money I’m going to lose here.”

There are 30 company owned and franchised Rashays restaurants across NSW, Queensland and the ACT.

Rashays has been contacted for comment.

In a reverse situation back in March 2020, the founder and CEO of Just Cuts, Denis McFadden, decided to shut down company-owned salons in the hairdressing chain for four weeks and recommended franchisees follow suit. He made the decision after waiting for a government mandate that would close hair salons amid the first Covid-19 lockdown.