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I’m throwing my toys out of the pram this week

We've geared up for our restaurants to reopen

Good morning lovely people

I’m throwing my toys out of the pram this week, actually we’ve been thrown out the pram, fall guy hospitality is the new pub “maybe” opening down the road. Calm and sensible Carina has had enough.

Last week I was furious about the G7 but I politely highlighted their actions versus ours.

This week, like so many industry colleagues, I’m so angry (I hate being angry). We thought we were coming to the end of the tunnel but it’s just a flickering faulty light bulb enroute to an unknown destination.

To hear the Senior Clinical Advisor to the Scottish Government say, after the announcement that further restrictions are being delayed (for upto 10 weeks), that life is “closer to normal” than it was before only highlights how very different realities are.

Here’s an imaginary typical diary note from June 2018 (old normal):

  • Bookings look on track, recruitment ongoing for the festival but no senior positions lacking, senior team holidays to be reconfirmed, some last minute big events have been secured. Wow, it was a busy week! Team energy is good but we probably need a few extra treats. Next week looking a little quieter (pre pay weekend).
  • Victor, can we sneak out for a late lunch at Ondine at 2.30pm, we’ve not been out for ages.
  • Remember to book flights, need quality time with the family and that break before the festival (cut back on the scones and Empire Biscuits at TSC to get into the swimsuit).
  • Family coming for Sunday lunch, remember to order a pork loin and yeast for the frittelle (lifes too short to resist fried pizza).
  • Harvest extra lovage and horseradish leaf for CGS and Cannonball needs Kitchen Garden table arrangements.
  • Laundry

Typical diary note June 2021(new normal):

  • Fell asleep at 1am
  • Awake at 3am, thank goodness for social media
  • Will tomorrow be the day we get our first call because a member of the team has tested positive? I’m not sure we can cope with a forced closure. How will we fund these closures if they become a regular cycle? Call Dr Paul tomorrow to get some clarity.
  • We’re doing well but where will we get the team we need to open the business to capacity? We could get back on track if we had the bodies and we could plan.
  • Key team working 6 days – can’t carry on at this pace.
  • Great that the 0ver 50’s are double vaccinated, they are more safe but trying to convince many young people to get a jab is going to be hard, they are the ones that will catch this.
  • Partners – have to write updates. Accounts – how is the bank today?
  • Remember to order a Lucas home delivery ice cream (4 strawberry and 2 vanilla)
  • More laundry…..

Our decision makers are working in a quasi normal environment. They have worked hard. Thank you. They worry about the decisions they are making. Thank you. Their old normal is a not so very different liveable new normal.

We have to accept that each part of our community has a new normal. Our new normal leaves us on a permanent emotional high alert. There is no get out of jail card, pause or reset button.

Hearing of so many restaurants having to close around us due to one team testing positive for Covid is our industry’s headache. I’ve spoken to Dr Paul Nelson, our go to epidemiologist and Fever Free founder who we work with for our team temperature checks and soon to introduce health monitoring. Sadly there is no quick fix for this. Prevention (supported by mass vaccination) is the only “cure”. But people and the virus are unpredictable.

The fear of a Covid case in any of the venues almost makes us feel like we’ve failed but it is so out of our hands. The team uses public transport, they meet their friends, they go to the supermarket, get their haircut just like our customers. We all interpret the regulations for our own lives. We may all be asymptomatic! It’s an evermoving target game of crazy golf. Hospitality business Covid has no NHS (National Hospitality Service) to get back to full health.

We have geared our business up based on the planned reopening of the economy based on the Level restrictions being relaxed and based on the indicative dates. None of us had made any plans for a highly contagious Delta variant. But surely we have no choice but to live with this.

We’ve geared up for our restaurants to reopen, recruited, invested further in the venues to make them best practice and marketed. Events are critical for us to support our overheads. Further delays to opening up this part of the economy is a massive blow. Seeing our fans on planes and trains and socialising over a game of football while 8 people can’t have dinner in a restaurant and our theatres are closed, weddings on hold and festivals stopped is frankly a disgrace.

I’m angry that a plan was set out. This wasn’t about our summer holidays, days off or parties. This was about people’s livelihoods and business sustainability. It was about when we committed to give people jobs and what that means for their family, our customers, our suppliers, our partners and our own families future.

Metaphors about suffocating, wearing a mask escape me, as we are trapped.
I feel like we are in a recurring nightmare. Hospitality is in a large cage with an open gate in the open air in the middle of a beautiful valley next to a beautiful stream. The sun is shining. We’re happy but hot and thirsty and every time we go towards that open gate, it closes and locks in front of our eyes. I’m going mad.

Keep well and keep safe and thank you. I’ll tidy my toys next week, promise.



Join at Cannonball Restaurant & Bar for

Lunch 12.30pm 3pm served in the bar
Drinks and canapes 12.30pm to 10.30pm served in the bar

Dinner 5.30pm to 10pm served in the restaurant


Join us at Contini George Street for

Breakfast 10am to 11.30am Monday to Saturday
Lunch 12noon to 3pm Monday to Friday and 12noon to 4pm Saturday & Sunday
Dinner 5.30-9pm Monday to Saturday (8pm Sunday)

And of course our amazing cocktails!


Brunchand babies at The Scottish Cafe

The lockdown baby boom is out and about. It’s so lovely to see so many beautiful new babies. Congratulations. At George Street due to the shape of the room and the columns that we try to move every evening but they end up in the same space the next day leaves us with capacity for two buggies together. At The Scottish Cafe we’ve got loads of space and can easily set up 3 buggies ( even 3 double buggies) if you give us a note in the booking confirmation.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm



Jennie, Louise and Yvonne are on hand to discuss your event enquiry.

Call them on0131 225 1550 Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm

or send them an emailevents@contini.com


Theweekly special sees a return of our popular Polpette and we have included two courses with focaccia and a verdure side for two. It also includes FORMAGGI E FICHI -Errington’s goat curd and Gorgonzola Dolce DOP young, soft sweet, blue veined cows milk cheese from Lombardy in the north of Italy. Served with fresh Italian green figs and Victor’s honey. YUM.
Click here to order




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