Better times ahead for Falkirk bistro after COVID-19 forced closure

A popular town centre bar bistro temporarily forced to close its doors due to COVID-19-related staff shortages plans to re-open later this week.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 3:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 5:25 pm

Johnston’s Bar Bistro, Lint Riggs, Falkirk took the difficult decision to shut on Hogmanay after staff absences and a variety of other factors made it impossible to continue safely and offer customers the quality of service they have become accustomed to at Johnston’s.

However, owner Chris Johnston was today happy to confirm the return of a number of staff members after a period in isolation will allow the business to open up again on, albeit with reduced hours – 9.30am to 5pm – from Thursday.

"We are still closed at the moment,” said Mr Johnston. “But we will have our staff back on Thursday which will hopefully allow us to reopen – but not yet during the evening.”

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Chris Johnston and the team at the Lint Riggs bistro are looking to open up again on Thursday

The closure over the New Year period hit staff and customers hard.

In an emotional statement on the bar bistro’s Facebook page Mr Johnston said: “Over the past year we have naturally seen an increase in reservations due to people keen to come out and enjoy themselves after previous lock downs.

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“It has been heartwarming to watch families and friends meet up once again and enjoy the simple although important pleasure of being able to socialise again and we thank you for choosing Johnston’s.

“Unfortunately taking several factors into consideration, lack of supply of stock, cost of supplier increases, cost of gas and electricity increases, cost of wage, pension and tax increases then – to top it off – some questionable government guidance this led to our most challenging year to date with cancellations and no shows at a scale we have never experienced before.

“We tried and succeeded to run the business without disruption to our customers with limited staff due to staff isolating. Today, unfortunately we need to accept defeat with all of our chefs and half of our front of house team now isolating.

“We never want to close and this decision wasn’t taken easily. All we can do now is hope and pray once we return in the new year we can get Johnston’s back up and running normally.

“We have genuinely always put our customers safety first before profit and we will continue to do so.”

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