Customers heading to Scotland’s hospitality venues this weekend are being reminded to treat staff with patience, respect and kindness.
Amid rising Covid cases, a nationwide staffing crisis and stock shortages of beer and other products, many operators say they are struggling to remain open.
In anxious, stressful times for workers, the Radisson RED’s Be Kind To Hospitality campaign has called on the public to treat staff in bars, restaurants and hotels with respect.
Graham Chalmers of Radisson RED said: “The entire hospitality industry is facing a crippling crisis right now – in fact more than one.
“The staff shortage is becoming impossible to navigate, it is as simple as that. So many businesses are suffering badly at the hands of the so-called pingdemic, with numerous staff isolating each week.
“On top of that there is the seemingly forgotten issue of Brexit, with so many seasonal workers or students simply not here and looking for work.
“Brexit also has had a huge impact on deliveries and stock – it’s clear to see. People everywhere are struggling to get hold of essential products.
“So while we have been asking this for some time now, it is once again vital that the public please be kind to hospitality workers. They are really up against it and doing their absolute best in very difficult circumstances.”
It’s a message echoed by chef Dean Banks, of The Pompadour and Haar at Home, who said: “We have had serious issues with staff shortages, sadly.
“Mental health is a very big problem among workers in our industry at the moment, as with people in general to be honest.
“Some people are struggling with getting out of bed to face each day, that is a story we are hearing a lot.
“We are looking at ways we can improve things for our staff, anything we can do to help them through this. It’s the responsibility of any business owner.
“Some people are having to take sick days over mental health, others are having to self- isolate due to being pinged – although we haven’t had a single positive case, we still suffer from the isolations.
“I dread my phone ringing in the morning at the moment.
“We are very lucky that stock shortages haven’t affected us at all – but that comes back to our ethos of using local produce. Our suppliers are so local and we have such strong relationships it hasn’t had an impact at all, so we are lucky.
“But please, think of the staff and what they are going through – and be kind.”
Graham Suttle of Kained, who run Porter & Rye, Rogue St Andrews, Lebowskis and The Finnieston, said: “As we all face a new world and try to get to a version of normality that works, there’s lots still impacting hospitality and everyone that works in it.
“As we opened in between lockdowns we asked people in general to ‘be kind’. The purpose was to help our teams get used to working again whilst under huge pressure and so many additional factors to deal with.
“This next stage needs our amazing customers again in. Helping us transition into a version of normality that we hope to achieve given the difficult trading environment.
“There are so many new challenges for our industry as we transition into what is a new normality – with massive staff shortages, supplier shortages, product shortages, massive logistic issues and in general continued restrictions on how we operate, the pressure on our teams is greater than ever. We need to ask once again for our amazing customers to step up and help us transition through this period by simply being kind.
“Remember it’s things outwith our control most of the time and we are trying our very best. But most importantly give a little extra time to our teams, they are facing the same struggles as everyone and with the added burden of shortages and long hours, a little love from the people goes a long, long way.”
Deirdre and Gary Curley Of Sligachan Hotel in Skye run the family business together.
Deirdre said: “Hospitality has been one of the hardest hit sectors and it continues to struggle with staff shortages and high levels of stress and anxiety amongst those having to work twice as hard to give customers the best experience possible.
“For the most part, we are succeeding but it has been incredibly tough. The majority of customers understand that we are living in a new normal but some have returned to bars and restaurants with a bizarre sense of entitlement and lack of awareness of the current situation.
“Customers need to understand that being rude to hard working staff over things that are out with our control such as supply chain issues affecting menu choice or longer wait times on tables or food is just bad form and shows a real lack of empathy and awareness of what we are all still going through as a society.”
Gary added: “Some businesses are fighting for their lives in a really tough environment and some staff are still feeling vulnerable having had to deal with 16 months of changing restrictions, stress and uncertainty about their jobs. We are all responsible for the words we say and how we say them.
“Customers who abuse staff by being rude or inconsiderate really need to check themselves and appreciate the reality of the situation. A little bit of kindness always goes a long way but right now it is so essential to show your fellow humans some solidarity given what we’ve all been through and are still going through. It’s not that hard, is it?.”
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