Why you'll find mannequins at a Buxton restaurant

A Buxton restaurant is using smartly-dressed mannequins sat at tables to help keep customers socially distanced while dining.

By Tom Hitchenor
Friday, 24th July 2020, 7:16 pm
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 7:17 pm

The stylish dummies have been placed around La Brasserie De La Cour to enforce coronavirus safety measures and to 'add a bit of atmosphere'.

Owner Thierry Le Port, 59, came up with the idea after discussing with his wife Jane, 59, how they could safely open the French restaurant earlier this month.

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Customers Katie Lambert and Leanne Ginter enjoy a socially distanced meal next to the mannequins at La Brasserie De La Cour restaurant in Buxton.

So he forked out £600 on six mannequins, which are now dotted around the premises dressed up in fashionable clothes to make them look as life-like as possible.

Thierry said he did not want to leave large empty spaces and the fake model punters stop people from moving tables and chairs around.

But he admits the unique idea has caused some confusion among customers who arrive at the eatery thinking the venue is full.

The dad-of-three, whose daughter Jessica, 35, manages the restaurant, said: “I thought long and hard about how to socially distance at the restaurant.

Owner Thierry Le Port outside of La Brasserie De La Cour.

“I couldn’t take tables and chairs out because I’ve got no room to put them.

“I don’t like leaving tables and chairs empty – so I thought, ‘I’m going to put mannequins on them instead’.

“They are going to be here for a while so we thought we better dress them up nicely.

“We didn’t want them looking scruffy on their night out.”

Thierry next to one of his mannequins at La Brasserie De La Cour.

He added: “It has brought a bit of atmosphere to the restaurant – now it is full every night again.

“The customer reaction has been very good so far.

“But some people don’t even notice they aren’t real people – they come to the restaurant and say, ‘oh, you are full today’.

“I sometimes have to explain and others don’t realise they are models until they sit down.

Mannequins at La Brasserie De La Cour.

"They are quite surprised but the reaction has been amazing.”

The mannequins have been made to look like real people wearing shirts, sunglasses and dresses, with clothes bought from local charity shops.

French-born Thierry, who has lived in the UK for 40 years and always worked in the restaurant trade, added: “People love it and want to sit next to them.”

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