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It’s interesting the word hospital is in hospitality

We’re feeling a bit shattered to tell you the truth. Having to wear masks, no music and a shift in the general public’s behaviour has made working more tiring than we’ve ever experienced. It feels like the Honeymoon is over. That initial excitement and appreciation post lock down has been forgotten by some. But thankfully not by all.

With more visitors to the city travelling from around the UK and many from abroad the difference in what the public expect in a restaurant is incredible.

We need the government to issue a rule book rather than guidelines so we are all doing the same thing so there is no question.

With four TripAdvisor complaining we have been too Covid sensitive and one complaint saying we’re not doing enough, the team feel a bit battered. We suspect these are linked more to some Eat Out to Help Out diners who are bargain hunting and not experience searching. But who am I to judge.

I’m aware we have eyes watching what we’re doing and we will slip into old ways from time to time but we’re continually retraining and monitoring. We will not compromise on delivering the best practice. So that means we will have to stop serving coffee on it’s own at Contini George Street as we need time to deliver compliance and coffee only doesn’t give us the chance to do so. We’re launching an at table order app for The Scottish Cafe’s coffee lounge, which will make this really easy. Watch this space.

We have seen a shift in public behaviour and awareness. Some people are still cautious and mindful of others. But some are sadly impatient and bored with the whole thing. I know the feeling but the truth and reality of the situation is starkly real.

Do you remember when we were all clapping for the NHS at 7pm on a Thursday night? We appreciated the harrowing tasks our nurse and doctors had to endure daily. Wearing PPE and not getting to see families and friends?

We are interpreting several guidelines from several sources. Environmental Health, Trading Standards, Good to Go, Licensing. These guidelines amount to 100’s of pages of interpretation.

We’ve shared our dining guidelines with our officer for Taste Our Best, the body that audits our Visit Scotland accreditation who hold the governments We’re Good to Go guidelines. They have contributed to our procedures and we feel confident that we are applying best practice for our team, you – our customers, our suppliers and our wider community.

Our team is practically living in George Street. You feel safe in your own “home”. We work in our “business home” and in order for us to feel safe we need our customers to respect our rules. We’re not being unreasonable, we’re being sensible.

If we or similar businesses were to face another lock down like Aberdeen or Manchester, many will not be able to open their doors again. People will lose their jobs, some will lose their homes. This is our reality, our living nightmare. Life isn’t back to normal – and it’s not going to be for some time.

Government – give us a RULE book! Assess venues! Don’t let anyone open until they have passed a reasonable test. Don’t leave any room for interpretation, you’re just leaving a problem that is going to hurt!

When you open a new restaurant you need a building warrant, fire certificate, environmental health inspection, insurance inspection. We all need a Covid inspection. Bring it on!

If this were the case we wouldn’t have to feel like the Covid Police. As the law would be a clear message for all. We also wouldn’t have to bore the public as they would know the rules and we would all have to follow them.

Let us work in a regulated environment and let our sector be consistent so all our customers know the hospitality standards and if anyone doesn’t like the Covid rules – well they can go to the supermarket for their tea, cook their own food, wash their own dishes, wash their hands every 320 minutes, sanitise everything they touch and sterilise their own table.

The team is emotional. There have been tears, fears I suppose around what will happen in October when furlough is removed from the wider community, missing their loved ones, and having to deal with challenging guests. It’s tough. Let’s get back on our hospitality honeymoon. Let’s stay in love with dining out, we all need it. It’s food for our souls and jobs for our communities.

It’s interesting the word hospital is in hospitality.

Get clapping for hospitality. Our teams need it.

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