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Dining out blow

Restaurateur shuts Maison Bleue outlet amid staff crisis

Maison Bleue

Dean and Layla Gassabi: ‘we were worried’

Another Edinburgh restaurant has closed, blaming the pressures of lockdown, Brexit and growing staff shortages.

Dean Gassabi and his daughter Layla opened Maison Bleue Le Bistrot in Morningside five years ago but staffing has become a serious problem.

A lot of the European staff were unable to continue working either because of Brexit or because the country was in lockdown.

Mr Gassabi said: “We worried that this would happen after Brexit. When the pandemic came, it just aggravated the whole thing and we just found ourselves in this situation.”

All remaining employees have been relocated to the Victoria Street restaurant.

Mr Gassabi has expressed concern that it takes a long time to train staff, particularly chefs, to the required standards and that in the meantime it means the shortages will continue and wages will rise. Higher costs will have to be passed on to customers.

He said the the Victoria Street restaurant had been saved by the Spaces for People scheme which had allowed seating outdoors. He recently received confirmation the terrace will remain in place until the end of the year.

Other restaurants to shut during lockdown include the Tower at the National Museum, Castle Terrace and Hendersons.

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