Podcast: Cin Cin’s David Toscano on keeping his brand going

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: UnitedWeStand, Coronavirus, Brighton and hove, Italian cuisine, Pasta

In our fist United We Stand podcast, we talk to Brighton and Hove restaurateur David Toscano about the challenges of keeping an independent restaurant brand alive through the Coronavirus crisis.

He initially looked to keep his two pasta-focused Cin Cin restaurants open offering delivery and meal kits, but he has now opted to furlough his staff and keep his brand alive online through cooking demonstrations.

He has also been feeding Brighton and Hove midwives and other NHS workers.

The city was one of the first to be affected by the virus following reports of a Hove-based ‘super spreader’.

Toscano’s tiny inaugural North Laine restaurant took a big hit as it requires its guests to eat in close proximity to each other.

His more recently opened Hove restaurant managed to hold on for a bit but closed just ahead of the Government’s ban on eat-in following a huge drop in bookings.

The premium, pasta-focused had always avoided delivery but looked to quickly roll it out. “The Deliveroo kit came in but the reality was that I didn’t have any staff to be able to prepare food because they don’t feel comfortable being on the front line."

"We have quite a mature work force and team, a lot of them have kids so there are concerns in their households."

"We also considered setting up the Hove site as a community shop offering basics, but we could not make it work with the current guidelines. As a brand and business we need to be doing our part, we don’t want to be putting them at risk.”

Cin Cin is now running numerous masterclasses online, including one aimed at children and another in partnership with one of its drink suppliers. “I’m fairly confident we will reopen. I’m determined that we will come back better and more-focused."

"Having what happens to the business and what we can and can’t do taken out of my hands was really sobering, and made me sit up and realise how much I loved this business, the people I work with and the brand that I have built.”

To download this podcast via iTunes click here.​ 

#UnitedWeStand has been created by William Reed hospitality titles BigHospitality, Restaurant magazine and Morning Advertiser and is supported by Arla Pro, Britvic, McCain and Unilever Food Solutions.

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