TRADING TROUBLES: Serge Delagnes, owner of Palavas les Flots restaurant in Torquay, hasn’t see his dining room full for some time.
TRADING TROUBLES: Serge Delagnes, owner of Palavas les Flots restaurant in Torquay, hasn’t see his dining room full for some time.

‘Didn’t want to come back’: Workers take dole, leave jobs

SERGE Delagnes has been running his restaurant alone almost the entire time it's been open.

The owner of Palavas Les Flots in Torquay says some former staff members didn't want to come back to work after getting the JobSeeker payment.

"I had nine people at the time I started but some of them went back to school then after that, some of them didn't want to come back," Mr Delagnes said.

"They were happy with about $500 a week."

Mr Delagnes said while he knew his former employees had their reasons, this decision could damage their future prospects.

"When things get back to normal and they knock on the door, I won't want to take them back," he said.

"It's not like the days when employees were dedicated to the work. Now it's money, money, money."

Mr Delagnes opened his French-inspired restaurant on January 2 this year.

Little more than a week later, news of the spreading coronavirus crisis broke.

Less than three months after opening, he was forced to scale his service back to takeaway only due to Federal Government regulations.

As restrictions have eased and Mr Delagnes has welcomed dine-in customers back in, he has been working alone.

Takeaway has remained his preferred option as it was "much easier" to serve customers that way, he said.

Regular dine-in customers are rarely in the restaurant more than once a fortnight and he had noticed the absence of Victorian visitors while borders remained closed.

He believes diners are still spooked by COVID-19 risks, even as restrictions lift and virus cases dwindle in Queensland.

Takeaway orders have noticeably slowed down, which Mr Delagnes put down to people tightening their belts around tax time.

He said he was not at risk of closing at this stage but "2020 has only been downhill".