Cham, 20.03.2024

You can’t go out to eat anywhere on Sunday lunchtime anymore.

Sonja Muff and Hanspeter Lerch from Cham are disappointed that most Cham restaurants are now closed on Sundays. Why is that?

Sonja Muff from Cham remembers how,  in the past, you had the choice of stopping at the “Raben”, the “Krone”, the “Rössli” or the “Kreuz” for a hearty, home-style lunch on Sunday lunchtime, followed by a cosy game of Jass (a Swiss card game).

“I always enjoyed going somewhere,” says the 78-year-old. And this is still something that she and her friends would like to continue. “But almost all restaurants are now closed on Sundays, with only the “Villette” being open, but it’s too expensive there for many older people,” she says.

Just a menu with Jass would be enough
She and her friends are certainly not demanding customers, she assured us. “If only a village restaurant would open for a few hours and offer a menu that older people like and that they can eat well, we would be happy.” She's thinking, for example, of the ever-popular Braten mit Härdöpfelstock (roast with mashed potatoes). “The restaurants could come to some sort of agreement,” she suggests. “A restaurant that opened on Sunday could then have its day off on Monday instead.”

Staff could also definitely be found. “There are certainly some housewives around who would love to serve for a few hours while their husband watches the children at home. I used to do that as well.”

Hanspeter Lerch from Cham, who wrote to the Zuger Zeitung newspaper via email, made a similar statement: “From the 1st of February on, we haven’t had a single restaurant in Cham that’s open the whole dayon Sunday,” he writes. The last one to do this was the Brasserie Lorzenhof in the Neudorf Centre. “Due to a change in concept, the operator Ludovit Gajdos had to give up after eight years of successful business.” The owners wanted a new, contemporary concept with a café and a take-away, as we reported at the time. The operator could not and did not want to respond to this mail.

Sonja Muff and Hanspeter Lerch from Cham would like to visit a restaurant by for lunch on Sundays, or even between meals. The opening hours of the traditional Cham retaurants hardly allow for either     
“Heute geschlossen” (Closed today) can be seen in front of most Cham businesses on Sundays.

Hanspeter Lerch and Sonja Muff point out a sign at the Krone restaurant that talks about the historic “Beizenmeile” (pub mile) in Cham. Almost all the restaurants in the village are closed on Sundays, however.

The “Raben” is also closed on Sundays           Photos: Stefan Kaiser

At the new “Raben” location, Ludovit Gajdos is also only open during meal times,continues Hanspeter Lerch and concludes with the statement: “Unfortunately, both the Neudorf Centre and the town of Cham are less attractive as a result.”

It's not worth it, say the restaurateurs
Research among Cham restaurateurs produced a clear picture. “Suitable staff who are willing to work on Sundays are unfortunately in short supply these days,” writes Marianne Brechbühl Baer from “Coffee House Plaza”. The search for employees is hopeless, writes another innkeeper, who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Because who wants to work on a Sunday these days? That’s how things are nowadays, in Cham as well as in other places. He wrote his email after 11 p.m. because, as he reveals, he has to work between ten and fourteen hours a day, six days a week, due to a shortage of skilled workers, and he definitely doesn't feel like opening his restaurant on Sundays.

In the past, when the Cham paper factory produced around the clock and the church was still full, all the restaurants were well attended on Sundays,” the restaurateur continues. But it's no longer worth opening in Cham on a Sunday or even in the afternoon. “The wage costs, operating costs and so on usually exceed the income.”

Switch to the neighbouring town
If you want to eat in a restaurant on Sunday, you can also go to Hünenberg,” he recommends. “The Wart restaurant, the ‘Rössli’, the Wartstein and the ‘Rialto’, which is directly adjacent to Cham, are open.” Sonja Muff also knows the latter. “The ‘Rialto’ is great,” she admits. But it’s just not a Cham village inn.

The Café Luzia and the Umami Teahouse in Cham are also open on Sunday lunchtimes and afternoons. You can't order the Sunday roast there, but you can order other small delicacies. “Various soups, such as potato soup, ramen tofu or the soup of the day, a cheese and meat plate, our legendary sandwiches, breakfast and, of course, our ‘afternoon tea’ with delicious scones,” says operator Maya Bachmann.

Take advantage of gaps in the market
Thomas Peinhaupt operated his “Landhaus Steirereck” in the Gasthof Kreuz in Cham for almost nine years. “Apart from the Villette, ours was the only restaurant that was open on Sunday.” His restaurant was open all day except Tuesdays in the first year and a half. “And on Sundays even a few years longer. But there just wasn’t enough going on in the afternoon.” He has now been operating the “Rössli hü” in Root since April last year.

I also run the only restaurant there that’s open on Sundays, and that’s a widespread problem.” But it's not just the shortage of staff, some innkeepers also like to have Sundays off. “It’s precisely because so many restaurants are closed on Sundays that I’m open,” he clarifies. “As a restaurateur, , you should offer what's missing in the town after making a location analysis.”