Restaurant set to open at weekends only as energy nears £300 a day

At the sharp end of the energy costs crisis as businesses and charities risk closure.

Graham Blaikie, the owner of the Mercat Bar and Grill in Musselburgh, says energy is costing his business £280 every day.

He’s having to plan how to survive the winter. “I might close Monday to Thursday, and only open for customers Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he says.

“Obviously it’s going to restrict my trading, but at least it will mean, when I’m open, I’ll be taking enough to justify being open.”

It’s not just soaring energy prices affecting Mr Blaikie’s business as the cost-of-living crisis grips the country.

“One food supplier has put their costs up seven times since November 2021, and cooking oil has gone up from £20 to £30 per container,” he tells STV current affairs show Scotland Tonight.

Mr Blaikie has not increased prices so far, but admits: “I’ve absorbed as much as I can, but there will be a point where I have to increase my prices.”

Mercat Bar and Grill in Musselburgh might soon only be open Friday-Sunday.

‘Charities face closure’

Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts is an initiative using surplus food from supermarkets to provide free meals for people in need.

As it anticipates demand to increase, it’s warning that resources and donations are slowing down.

Empty Kitchens Empty Hearts provides food for 600 people per day.

“I’m not sure we’re equipped to do much more than we’re doing at the moment,” says chef Bruce Steven, who currently provides for 600 people per day and needs more volunteers to help out.

“Most of [the surplus food] is really good quality, and we can make anything out of a small amount of things.”

Michael Innes fears for the future of charity Empty Kitchen Empty Hearts.

Michael Innes, operations manager at Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts, says charities are at the risk of closure due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“We already know of two charities along the road that are about to close their doors right now – without a doubt, it’s going to be a very tough time ahead for a lot of charities,” he says.

Scotland Tonight is on STV and the STV Player at 8.30pm on Thursday, September 1.

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