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Photograph: Caitlin IsolaMatthew Scott, co-founder, Hot 4 U

Unabashed optimism to set you up for 2021 from Londoners who launched new businesses in the pandemic

Four Londoners from the hospitality business share their tips for staying positive

Isabelle Aron

Finding it hard to stay positive right now? We feel you. We asked people who’ve launched new bars and restaurants during a pandemic to share their tips for staying optimistic during these strange times.

Imad Alarnab, founder, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen: ‘My time spent travelling across Europe and in refugee camps in Calais gives me a unique perspective. I try to be optimistic, even in difficult times. I’ve learned that people are survivors and I know that we’ll get through this.’ Imad’s Syrian Kitchen opens on 18 Dec. 

George Hartshorn, co-founder, The Farrier: ‘You have to find the positives. One silver lining of Lockdown 2.0? The build process of our venue didn’t involve manoeuvring a 200-kilo marble bartop and a 500-bottle wine rack through hordes of shoppers in Camden Market – our builders are thanking us for that. This isn’t the first or last time people will bounce back from difficult times.’ The Farrier opens in Jan 2021.

Eric Yu, owner, The Last Talisman: ‘You need to be bold, brave and ballsy when opening a new venue, whether that’s during a pandemic or not. Stay true to your concept and trust your instincts, there will be lots of opportunity once we come out the other side of all of this. Think glass half-full, not half-empty.’ The Last Talisman launched in December.

Matthew Scott, co-founder, Hot 4 U: ‘We created Hot 4 U to spread positivity through food when the pandemic hit, and we’ve learned that if you keep each other and those around you optimistic, good things can happen! Having a routine, of sorts, can help too. Starting the day with an espresso martini and a fried-egg sandwich has seen us through this weird old year.’ Hot 4 U launched as a delivery service in lockdown and now has a permanent residency at The Plough in Homerton.

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