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Moving forward (smiling) slowly but surely……

With the 15th July confirmed as our opening date for Contini George Street

Dear lovely people,

How are you all doing? We so hope you’re all safe and well. Last week was emotional on many counts.

We started with our team face to face catch up! Hands up who’s fed up with ZOOM. Don’t get me wrong, ZOOM has been a gift but there is nothing like seeing people and reading emotions face to face; albeit with a mask, slightly steamed up glasses and 2m distance.

With the 15th July confirmed as our opening date for Contini George Street, we felt it was important to actually meet the team and feel their energy.

Wow, they are so excited at the thought of coming back to work. Tears of joy at the thought of a new routine that allows them to see and interact with all of you again. They miss you as much as we do!

Interesting, not many but some, of the team have relied on a daily walk and weekly home deliveries and haven’t ventured out much at all. Coming to work for the last six weeks I’d forgotten what lockdown had felt like but many are still locked into the stay at home, stay safe mindset. With furlough unwinding over the next few months we are concerned, for some, as to how individuals will adapt to our new normal. Prior to Covid-19 we partnered with Hospitality Action to offer all our team the option of an Employee Assistance Programme, we have renewed this and really encourage our team to reach out for additional support and guidance on subjects that range from financial, to face to face counselling sessions.

In addition we are working on an internal support network and plan to help ease the team back while observing social distancing and how to interact in front facing roles to equip them for the new normal while ensuring you as guests feel relaxed, comfortable and excited again about dining out. Sharing the fun and the enthusiasm with confidence.

Refresh training and our specific COVID-19 training will be a huge part of our reopening strategy and we’ll be sharing this on our website as soon as we have the ‘Good to Go’ government accreditation blueprint in our hands.

The harsh reality

We have very sadly had to reduce our headcount from July. That sounds so clinical please believe me it has been anything but. Members of the team who were specifically recruited to support our business for the Edinburgh Festivals will sadly not have employment moving forward. It has been heartbreaking. Reading that iconic restaurants like the Tower in Edinburgh is closing or The Ledbury in London will not be reopening it’s tragically the start of the hard facts facing hospitality. We so very much hope we will be able to hold onto the team we still have, many who have been with us for over 10 years. Without our team we are missing the heart that keeps our business breathing.

The base cost for a closed restaurant before any rent or investment repayments is in the thousands, even 10’s of thousands pounds per venue. The venues may have stopped serving, the team may be on standby but the costs haven’t. You can see how this can hurt, and hurt badly. Multiply these thousands across every venue in the country and the sector is hemorrhaging. Three and four months later there are limits as to how long many can survive. This is bleak and it’s not even winter.

With different messaging north and south of the border plus so many unknowns still to be answered whether it’s 2m distancing, additional government support, timelines, landlord decisions, formal guidelines, customer confidence etc it sure is emotional.

Your orders for Contini at Home are so appreciated. They are allowing us first and foremost to have a plan. We work best doing what we love, and that’s feeding all of you. By serving you at your home we have a plan. This plan is part of the journey to reopening and it will allow us to be ready faster.

Thank you thank you thank you.

We’re here for you and we value your support far more than you realise.

Keep well, keep safe and keep smiling


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