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BBC Wake Up to Money


8 October 2020

Listen to Carina discussing the Circuit Breaker and the impact it will have on family run restaurants and bars on the BBC show Wake up to Money this morning.

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Below is a transcript of the interview

Thoughts on the restrictions?

Why us? Why are we being presented with such punitive measures?
I can’t see the evidence to target our businesses – what about businesses that are being non-compliant? Why are being penalised the same as them?
The Covid responsibilities should have a rulebook so those who break it are accountable, while our team has to suffer?
It will be tough, we’ll have to collectively figure out how we get through this – and all things aren’t equal at the moment.
We were promised a staycation bubble, and that would keep us going to July. Where is the market now? We have to close.
This was the worst case scenario, I didn’t expect this. A full-lockdown would be better, because we’d all be in the same boat. But we can’t tap into a lockdown market because the world is still ticking over.
We don’t have insurance, and we’re not sure how much the government will provide to share the responsibility.

How will this affect the hospitality industry in Scotland?

It’s a three weekend circuit breaker – that is three peak trading periods, and that is going to really affect cashflow.
We were expecting a boost in October for Halloween and staycations, and there will be some businesses that will really struggle, maybe even close.
Furlough is coming to an end, so those businesses that had team on furlough might just call it quits.
For us, we’re a family business, we have nowhere to go – we don’t have huge back ups of wealth which let us just carry on with life. We have to get through this.
The consequences of not doing anything are so dire.
The reality is how much energy do business owners have to pick themselves up and keep on going.
Some people will pack it in though, it’s too much – lets say you have health issues as well, it’s so hard.
I’m glad I have a brilliant team, and a robust supportive supply chain. We’ll muster it all together and try as hard as we can.
This isn’t a six month problem anymore, it will be felt for years.

Did you get enough forewarning from the government that this would happen?

It feels exactly like March again.
Information was drip-fed, and that has affected consumer confidence – we have seen it, that’s the damaging bit.
Customer confidence is being challenged again. The Eat Out thing boosted customer confidence, and now we’re being slapped in the face.
If the government is seeing that Eat Out is part of the problem, which I don’t believe it was, then why wasn’t it policed?
If that’s the reality of having had that massive amount of funding for Eat Out, where has it got us?
There’s anger here, it’s so political, the Eat Out was such a political win, we saw a real shift in the demographic – and now it feels like bribery, it’s frustrating.

What are your plans for the duration of the circuit-breaker?

Hindsight’s a great thing, we’ve learnt from the last lockdown – so thankfully we can offer local Edinburgh customers a home-eating experience.
We can trade, but only at a fraction compared to what we were trading at the restaurant.
We will have to speak to our team, see if they can take holidays over the next two weeks (even though they can’t travel.)
With our suppliers, we try and pay them earlier just in case we find ourselves in the position we are now. We’re all going to have to work together to get through this – and now our metaphorical belts couldn’t be any tighter.
We need to keep a strong focus on our mental health and wellbeing over the circuit-breaker – there are real mental challenges, but I feel resilient at the moment thanks to the people around me. We’re being careful too, I’ve never been so careful in my life.
We have to ensure all decisions we make now our fully calculated, because we can’t plan for tomorrow right now – and the news today is making that even more obvious. Most people in hospitality will be focusing on the short-term, it’s all we can do at the time.