This is how a Michelin restaurant survives Covid: the case of Sevillian Abantal

The chef and manager Julio Fernández marked himself as red lines not to change the profile or the quality of his business, now recognized by the local public.

The chef and owner of Abantal, Julio Fernández.

2020 has not been the year we wanted. Covid-19 has left wounds that will be difficult to heal both in society and in business in the country. One of the most affected economic sectors has been the hospitality industry, closed down on March 14 and barely open. In all this context there is a success story: the Sevillian restaurant Abantal.

Recognized in the Michelin Guide since 2009, this is how it has survived the year of the pandemic. It is told by the chef, owner and manager of the creature, Julio Fernández. Open the doors to Invertia of your restaurant, the only Sevillian recognized with Michelin stars.

The chef photographs his business from an economic point of view. With a staff of 19 people, R&D has a leading role and the business concept evolves and is reinforced without losing its native Seville personality. But getting to this point has not been easy.

Despite the fact that the business was born in 2004 thought of as a restaurant with a medium-high cover, 2020 will be difficult for Fernández to forget. The crash came at a time of Business development with the expansion of its facilities, which allow us to put aside the roof and grow without limits. Until March 14 when development stops dead.

With investments paid off from the economic point of view, the new normal arrives to stay at the restaurant with an unexpected but welcome freak. If the client had months ago a international and gastronomic profile, the one now becomes Sevillian and proud of the businessmen of the city.

keep the business

“We came back with a bang with significant local and regional demand and a changed and evolved profile,” explains the proud chef of his neighbours. “We have been a lot better than expected within limitations and enough to keep the business. The Sevillian loves us and when he has his special moment he comes and feels proud”.

Despite the terrible 2020, Fernández marked his red lines so that the business would not lose its personality. “Changing the profile and the level of quality was not negotiable,” he says while hoping to see the balance and business evolution in the medium term, being aware of the global health situation.

Interior of the Abantal restaurant.

Interior of the Abantal restaurant.

Regarding the measures taken by the administrations, Julio Fernández acknowledges that he puts himself in the shoes of our politicians. “The crisis has shown that decisions are being made that do not know where they are going to take us. We have never had anything like it. I don’t know what measures I would have taken because the first thing is everyone’s health: of society and business”.

Milestones in crisis

Good luck has accompanied Abantal along his path. The chef and manager opens the doors of the restaurant in December 2004 and after a few months he receives the title best Andalusian chef of the year. This is how the clientele put their eyes on the Sevillian. The reconnaissance was a boost that allowed him to take off faster than normal.

However, it would not be the only distinction received. In the midst of the 2008 crisis, the first star-shaped recognition arrived, which marked the beginning of his appearance in the Michelin Guide to this day. “It is the one that has the greatest impact and recognizes that Abantal focuses on local experiences with a renewed and contemporary cuisine”, emphasizes the chef.

In his wish list for 2021, he includes that the economic recovery of the sector be noticed in March or April. Trust in the arrival of the British public for the ease of connection with Seville and for the country’s leadership in vaccination. “To 2021 I ask that it be a normal year with health, safety and that it come recomposed. It is not little”, asks the chef who enjoys being an entrepreneur.