This is long, but important - so sit tight and just go through this:
First things first:
- Lori has left the company. Phoebe is taking her spot in Southside. Lori will still be around but, please check things with me or Phoebe from now on.
- Due to very poor performance - it is very lightly that our delivery service will be discontinued from 10th August. Click & Collect for both locations won’t be affected.
- In August our shops will stay open only for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At the moment we are trading only at around 45-50% capacity compared with preCovid even on this - busiest part of the week. Until the percentage will go up - it is impossible to open other days for sale without occurring losses for the company. That said - we are extending opening hours on Saturday - by adding an extra hour: 2-3pm with this weekend.
- At the moment - the company is on top of all payments and rents. All our bills and wages are being paid on time. My apologies if wages are a day later some time - I am honestly trying to avoid doing mistakes when tired.
FURLOUGH, HOURS & WAGES
Few important things here:
As you might know - majority of you are already out of furlough, however that is not the same with our guys at the kitchen where we are not able to bring everyone out just yet due to shortened hours we work. Part time furlough will be kept for the time needed, BUT I want to point out that everyone needs to keep in mind 1 very important point: if we won’t be able to find a good additional option how to ensure we have hours for everyone once the part furlough is cancelled in November, the hard decision will be on me to let people go when that time comes.
If that will happen - the kitchen will loose ability to produce more IF needed on a short notice which will in turn mean that we won’t be able to open shops for more days. I hope it makes sense for everyone as unfortunately we are very tightly connected. For that reason I want to invite everyone - if you have any ideas what or how we can start doing to prepare us better for that time: don’t hesitate and let me know!
Due to the changes of how furlough is set up - with September the guaranteed % from government is going down and the company has to take it up to meet 80%
In September it is 70% IF the company can cover the rest to reach 80%
In October it is 60% IF the company can cover the rest to reach 80%
Furlough scheme ends with November.
What that means?
in short - if company can’t find extra funds to cover the missing % of furloughed wage - we don't qualify for furlough at all!
VERY IMPORTANT BIT NOW:
our company WILL BE able to cover that ONLY IF we keep trading! That said - same applies to wages agreed, hours agreed and all individual agreements we have: Company will honour all those and do that on time, BUT it will be possible ONLY IF we keep trading!
I want to be very clear here: I am working my ass off to be able to ensure we are trading, I expect same from you! There is physically no way I can step in to cover someone more than what I already do. Each day when we will be forced to close a shop or not being able to provide the services to the standards our customers have used to - means the company is loosing ability to earn money. Do I have to explain what happens then?
TRAVEL / HOLIDAYS
Let me start the chapter by saying this: My value system at the moment is based on following top:
Safety and health of me & everyone of our team
Positive image of the bakery in public (which ensures they are spending)
All holidays & days off agreed before COVID are being canceled starting 1st of August. They will have to be re-agreed with Daisy again and at least 3 weeks in advance so we can plan how to fill the gap.
At the moment - The only clearly know time the bakery will be closed is Christmas holidays which will start on 24th December. Return to work will be confirmed closer to the end of year, but it is highly possible that its the second weekend of January as first is still in bank holidays.
I am highly recommending to avoid any international holidays or travel for the rest of the year (or at least until November) for 3 reasons:
governmental advice about quarantine on returning can change very quickly.
Only Scottish travel advice is important to us!!!
Holidays (international or local for that matter) will cancel your furlough. So is the self isolation period. Important note for holidays - Furlough time doesn’t earn holidays so your holidays are unpaid!
Due to the field we work in - it is super important for everyone to understand this: if we loose faith of our customer that we are safe - we loose their spending!
For that reason - I will insist on 14 day quarantine for everyone returning from international travel from a destination if that is not listed in Scotland’s “safe to return without self isolation” list. Even if England has that location on its list as safe. And even if you land in England and come up by train for example. This is important and braking this will be seen as your notice!
Due to restriction how furlough is set - I am not able to put someone back on furlough as the period furlough is still active is shrinking. We trade only for 3 out of 7 days - please plan ahead and dont make us stop trading just because you can’t arrange your travel in the days we are closed.
SELF ISOLATION / TESTING POSITIVE
this part summarises everything from above as it is very important for everyone to understand: if one of our team reports as self isolating AND TESTS positive for Corona virus - ALL OF US (and all your family members or flatmates) HAVE TO GO INTO 14 DAY SELF ISOLATION. Being so small team as we are - everyone of us meets pretty much everyone else directly or indirectly through someone!
There is no way around this!
What happens in this case? Company stops trading - no money comes in! If this happens during August - everyone is put back on furlough until September. If this happens in September or October (or later) - we don’t have furlough option as company does not have money to cover the missing % (which in our case is quite significant money).
We have to pay quarterly rents on all our properties at the end of August so the accounts will be empty for September. I don’t see any options to borrow as there is high chance customer trust in us will be totally down after the 2 weeks period as everyone will know what happened if we suddenly close for 2 weeks.
Is this clear now how important it is to keep safe and keep the company safe and trading?
If local lockdown will be imposed and there are no changes in furlough rules - the only way we are able to ensure the furlough is paid is if we keep trading under part-furlough through C&C to earn the monies for the missing % in furlough. That said - I would assume there will be local exceptions made on furlough rules then.
Just to repeat: Staying safe (and minimising risks for the whole team) is the only way we can ensure trading and positive image among customers. Uninterrupted trading is the only way the company can keep paying bills, part-furlough, wages, ensure hours and individually agreed agreements!