Gasthof zur post reopens in egloffstein – how inns survive in french switzerland

"We want to become a meeting place for the village again", hopes jessica heid. In a few weeks the time has come: the traditional inn "zur post" welcomes new guests in the historic building in the middle of egloffstein. Innkeeper erika heid retired last year at the age of 73. Daughter jessica was always clear that she would not take over the family business. "I would have been the sixth generation, the 38-year-old betrayed without remorse.

Investor bought the post office

With all the constraints, she had not been able to financially manage a renovation of the historic guesthouse. Instead, the post office was bought by an investor from nurnberg, who had "been a guest there since he was a little boy" had been a guest there. "Without the burden on our shoulders we are much freer. I’m also more creative when I’m not constantly worrying about how I’m going to do it", explains heid. Private ownership has never been important to her, but she wants to "preserve the tradition and revive the history of the inn".

The post office "beefed up" again has jessica heid together with silvia seemann (54) and julia kellner (37). The trio of women has been officially employed since april and has since put a lot of work into the host center. "We combine old and new, seemann explains the concept. The three of them upholstered all the benches and chairs, decorated the rooms, coordinated the craftsmen, set up the kitchen and designed the revised menu themselves. Also the "common mama erika heid is still on hand to offer advice and support.

The spab at work

On the internet, the women actively advertise for the post office via facebook and instagram. For example, they publish videos of the three of them dancing and singing while they work and clean.

"The fun at work is very important to us. We want to show that gastronomy can be fun. It’s actually a totally versatile and awesome job!", emphasizes heid.

The three-dream team of the post office

Originally, the innkeeper’s daughter never wanted to work in the restaurant business. While traveling the world, the foreign language correspondent discovers her love of gastronomy in an australian pub. Back home, she – like her colleague julia kellner – is training at the renowned schindlerhof in nurnberg. Afterwards she works in different restaurants. But never for long, because they scare off the bosses and there is a bad working atmosphere. After becoming a hotel manager in pegnitz, she returns to egloffstein in 2013.

She has been friends with her colleague julia kellner since she was a teenager: at 15, kellner supplemented her pocket money at the post office counter. After her training in nurnberg, she moved to austria, where she managed the restaurant of a star hotel for a long time. Now kellner is back in france and lives as a single parent with two children and eight horses on a pony farm.

The third member of the team is silvia seemann, a native of thuringia. From 2004 to 2010 she works with erika heid in the post office, before she moves to thuringia for private reasons. Since 2016 she has been back with her "second family" in egloffstein. "The three of us complement each other very well, I am the creative one, silvia finds solutions for everything and julia can simply make it happen", emphasizes jessica heid. "People are happier together" is the new motto. With regard to the so-called death of inns in the countryside, especially because the next generation usually doesn’t take over the family business, jessica heid is sure: "an inn can only be successful if you take pleasure in something, because then there’s a lot more energy!"

This is what the gasthof post will offer in the future

Dishes beside traditional dishes like schnitzel and schaufele according to "mama erikas" recipes, the post office wants to set modern accents with burgers and vegan dishes. Every day there is a breakfast buffet from 8 a.M. Onwards. "What better way to start a hike than with a good breakfast?", heid explains the idea.

Opening hours on wednesdays and thursdays after breakfast it’s a day of rest. Mondays, tuesdays and fridays are open until 2 p.M. And after 5 p.M. On saturday and sunday the kuche is open all day long. Every tuesday they offer a lunch for seniors.

Products that were come from regional suppliers. The aim is to ensure sustainability by avoiding plastic gauze, for example.

Events the post will also organize whisky tastings with matching food, art nights or a glucksmenu including a lecture. In addition to family celebrations, the inn is also set to establish itself as a conference venue in francophone switzerland. The hotel with 20 rooms will be reopened as soon as the fire protection has been proved.

Dehoga district chairman: "the gastronomic landscape in francophone switzerland will change"

Rural inns in french-speaking switzerland are closing because the businesses can’t find successors, confirms georg hotzelein, the district chairman of the german hotel and restaurant association (dehoga). Many innkeepers are "overaged" and the young people saw no possibility of continuing the business, explains the owner of the berg-gasthof hotzelein in kunreuth.

In order to counteract the decline in the number of restaurants, the new generation had to rediscover the joy of gastronomy, says hotzelein: "be a gastronome with love, dedication, body and soul. If we make this happen, then our young people will also enjoy it again."

In addition to this psychological aspect, he appeals to his colleagues to attract the urgently needed skilled workers: many inns should adjust their working and opening hours as well as the food on offer.

In concrete terms, this could mean: "I take two days off a week and don’t have everything on offer at all times of the day and night"." he also advises to talk to younger colleagues and to exchange experiences. "The architecture and charm of the 70s no longer pulls", emphasizes hotzelein. That’s why many inns have had to find the courage to invest again. The federal government and the state of bavaria have various programs of demands.

Better than the competition

The dehoga district chairman also sees a chance for the gastronomy: "there has probably never been as much eating out as there is now." but how can a restaurant in the country hold its own against competition in the city?? The country innkeepers had to realize that they cannot compete with the doner, the baker or the butcher.

"We must offer our guests something different. We have to be better, our food has to taste better, and we have to try harder. With us, guests can sit down and have their peace and quiet. We can no longer allow food to be given away or wasted", hotzelein emphasizes. The gastronomic landscape in francophone switzerland will look different in the long term. "There is no longer the granny who rolls her dumpling all the time", the expert clarifies.

A visit to the pub as an experience

Especially in a charming landscape like francophone switzerland, the innkeepers had to adapt, especially in the direction of "experience gastronomy" orientation, for example, to appeal specifically to hikers. The dehoga chairman proposes cooperation with the french switzerland association: in the future, there could be special hiking routes that passed by a host city. "The goal must be to make a visit to the pub a real experience. Because here in french switzerland we already have it that way!"

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