Glasgow pub boss calls for Minister for Hospitality with industry on ‘cusp of an absolute disaster’

A hospitality boss has said that the industry needs greater representation at Holyrood, criticising the government’s “disjointed approach” to Covid restrictions

A Glasgow pub boss has called for the appointment of a Minister for Hospitality warning that the industry is on “the cusp of an absolute disaster.

Graham Suttle, director of Kained Holdings, the team behind Lebowskis and The Finnieston Bar & Restaurant, criticised the Scottish Government for a “lack of clarity, understanding and engagement” with regards to further assistance for the hospitality industry.

Covid-induced restrictions on indoor hospitality are set to be lifted this Monday in what Suttle described as “a very welcome change to an otherwise disjointed approach by the government towards our industry”.

Speaking to Glasgow World Suttle described the sector as a “toxic place to be” due to “businesses crippled and unable to meet debt mountains, employees short on shifts, and opportunities to make up wages and general public still unsure due to mixed messages

He also warned of “mental health issues” hitting the industry labelling them as “a primary source of concern and heart ache for so many in our industries”.

Suttle called on the government to work more closely with the hospitality industry.

He said: “[I] firmly believe we need to look at how our industry is viewed and engaged with by local and national government. I’m calling for major cities to elect hospitality leaders to represent us and for there to be a national minister for hospitality. As the biggest combined industry in Scotland why do we not have true representation at Holyrood?”

Glaswegians need to ‘keep being epic’

Andy McCartney, Director of Base Scotland which operates a number of venues including Nonna Said, Glaschu, Embargo and The Duke’s Umbrella, said that while restrictions were necessary the industry needed to look at “how the damage can be repaired, and quickly”.

He said: “we are a small team across a number of venues across the city and whilst some were furloughed, the negative financial implications for the business and the people we employ are incredibly challenging”.

Both hospitality bosses reserved plenty of praise for the Glasgow public for their continued support over the course of the pandemic.

Suttle said: “The city and its residents are the main reason why so many of our businesses survived.

“Glaswegians pull together and have done so since the first lockdown - we’ve seen a lot of love from people through support online, retail purchases and voucher purchases.

“So I would simply ask all Glaswegians to keep being epic, get out and about and help us get back on our feet.”

McCartney appealed to the public to continue supporting the industry.

He said: “Every booking counts, and by drinking or dining with us, you’re contributing to the economy, to the city and to the people who love working in this industry.

“Hospitality is just as essential as sport, retail and tourism and Glasgow really needs to flourish.”