OnTrade Scotland Magazine July Edition 2021

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SUMMER'S HERE Magazine July 2021

Official Partner



Welcome to the July edition of OnTrade Scotland Summer is here .. .well apparently. We all as a nation have gone through so much over the last 18 months however we can always rely on our men’s national football team to give us a little more disappointment after promising so much ...but should we really have expected anything else? Strangely it looks like our FM is working to the same “close but no cigar” approach to our industry with the constant and frankly unfathomable rules for 1 and not for the other stance on crowds and distancing. The much-debated Fan Zone in Glasgow Green for example allowing 2000-3000 fans to watch matches outside (but inside but also outside) 3 times a day is fine but 20 can’t gather inside in licensed premises 200 yards away??? Makes total sense obviously! No Travel? No, Unless you are a UEFA delegate … that’s fine then you can hop on a plane all over Europe and attend football matches and spend time in our country. Maybe it is me being over cynical or perhaps I am naive (not something I’ve ever been accused of) but has the over £10M in sponsorship money being ploughed into where ever it has gone from the Scottish Government from the tournament being hosted at Hampden got anything to do with that??? Anyway, enough negativity Summer is HERE!!! We finally (even if delayed) have something like the end in sight. July 19th Scotland as a whole level 0 August 9th So-called “Freedom Day” Whilst things are not perfect we have to look at what we can do as an industry to move forward positively as best we all can. We can’t continue to keep looking back or focusing solely on what we cant do. We have some great insight this month for the legend that is Nick Nairn, a hotel focus from the fantastic Joanne Martin & Jason Dombrower of The Crowne Plaza Glasgow and Ben McLeod of Moskito Bar & Kitchen on the venues amazing new look and the relaunch of an icon on the 1st of July & much much more. Enjoy. As always Stay Safe Stay Strong & Most of all STAY POSITIVE Justin Wingate Director at TopGunMedia For press enquires or advertising opportunists please call or email: Email: info@topgunmedia.co.uk Telephone: 0141 556 4111


Nick Nairn From Navy to Nuance



The Crowning Approach To Hospitality

Moskito reopens to bring a new experience to an iconic name


Jo Millar from Gilson Gray discusses alternatives to redundancy



14 leading organisations in Scotland’s food & drink sector have signed an open letter to UK Trade Secretary, Liz Truss MP, expressing serious concern about the Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated with Australia. The signatories, including James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food & Drink, have called for greater engagement and consultation with businesses, publication of response to a report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission, and assessment of how the proposed FTA will impact future negotiations with other countries around the world.

One signatory, James Withers, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “As a food and farming industry we want to be ambitious for global trade. The future of our sector relies on it, and international sales of Scottish food and drink are already worth over £6 billion in a normal trading year. “However, if we rush trade deals through, without any serious scrutiny and no engagement with industry and other experts we can harm businesses, communities, the environment and the UK’s international reputation. Frankly, the process behind the Australian negotiations is cause for concern. We want to work collaboratively with UK Government on trade but that is very difficult to do when everything happens behind closed doors. We need a UK trade policy that not only protects the high animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards here, but acts as a force for their development globally. Trade is enormously complex and the cost, complications and trade barriers introduced by Brexit for large swathes of the UK food industry should be a cautionary tale. Whilst the headlines this week about sausages may seem ludicrous to many, they demonstrate that details matter. The Trade and Agriculture Commission, set up by Liz Truss, has set out a way forward on UK trade policy that embraces ambition, but alongside engagement with all parts of the UK and increased scrutiny.”

BUZZWORKS SECURES BEST HOSPITALITY EMPLOYER STATUS highest scoring companies with a commitment to workplace engagement come out on top. Supportive Managers who care about job satisfaction, confidence in leadership and a positive work life balance with holiday benefits were all highlighted as top-scoring factors for Buzzworks this year. In employee wellbeing alone, Buzzworks increased its score by 6% which takes it 4% above the Best Companies benchmark.

Once again independent restaurant and bar operators Buzzworks has been recognised as a top employer as it secures a place on Leisure and Hospitality’s 20 Best Companies to Work For 2021 and Scotland’s 40 Best Companies to Work For 2021. Scoring 16th place in hospitality and 23rd on the Scottish list, Buzzworks is the highest ranked Scottish company within the Leisure and Hospitality list and in the top four or Scottish headquartered companies on Scotland’s 40 Best list. To win a place on the Best Companies list, an index score is generated for businesses based on anonymous votes and feedback from employees – and only the

The Kilmarnock headquartered hospitality group also received a two star Best Companies accreditation, which recognises them as an ‘Outstanding Company to Work For 2021’. Buzzworks MD Kenny Blair, said: “While securing a place on both lists, we’ve also achieved our highest ever completion rate for our people responding to the survey which demonstrates our commitment to team engagement. Keeping everyone informed but also ensuring their health and wellbeing has been continually supported is so important to us, but never more so than over the past year. “We pride ourselves on supporting our people mentally, physically and financially. We’re a people business and they are central to our ongoing success and growth. It’s fantastic to be recognised on this prestigious list alongside some of the best known businesses in the UK.”

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Brand News SCOTTISH BREWERY TAKES ‘PRIDE’ IN NATIONAL BEER DAY Town Beer is also proud to be part of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme to support its LGBTQ+ employees. This is the first time that Cold Town Brewery has created a unique lager specifically to celebrate diversity and show its support for the LGBTQ+ community with its own take on an Helles style lager. ‘Helles’ lager is a German style that celebrates the light and vibrant flavour of the malt whilst using the traditional noble hop Tettnanger in order to balance the malty sweetness with notes of citrus, herbaceousness and floral character.

One of Scotland’s leading independent breweries has teamed up with LGBTQ+ rights charity, Stonewall, to celebrate diversity with a new product launch today National Beer Day - Tuesday 15th June 2021. As part of Pride month in June, Cold Town Brewery in central Edinburgh has just released a new limited edition ‘Proud as Helles’ lager as part of its ongoing support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain. In addition to raising awareness with this beer Cold Town Brewery is making a £2,500 donation to Stonewall. Cold

A beer to be enjoyed by everyone, ‘Proud as Helles’ (5.1% ABV) has additions of dark munich malt, which shifts the focus away from the traditional German lager’s hop character and instead focuses on delectable brioche flavours. Mildly spicy and hints of citrus garnish the earthy characters of ‘Proud as Helles’, originating from the traditional noble hop tettnang. This beer is an amber colour, slightly darker than Cold Town Lager, with a bit more bitterness to help balance the sweetness from the darker malt.

SCOTTISH TONIC BRAND RECEIVES A SUPERIOR MAKEOVER Cushiedoos, the innovative Edinburgh-based mixer drinks business, has left launched its new look superior tonic. The twotime Great Taste winner aren’t changing the bottling or mixing meaning the taste and quality will remain. Andrew Ligertwood, the founder of Cushiedoos said: “Our new look branding, led by our flagship Superior Tonic, is another step forward for the business. The tonic water taste and methods we use to bottle them remain unchanged. Our drinkers love our tonic water and it’s performing well here and internationally, so there is absolutely no need to change our recipe.” Andrew added “The ingredients used in Cushiedoos are of the finest quality and we needed to showcase this in our new branding. Our superior tonic water combined with our four healthy botanicals and no quinine are key

elements we wanted to celebrate through our creative execution.” Andrew has created a brand that is already widely in available in hotels such as The Fife Arms Hotel, The Torridon, Trump Turnberry, The Links House Hotel at Royal Dornoch and closer to home in Edinburgh at The Waldorf Astoria, The Sheraton Grand, Tigerlily and Rabble in Edinburgh. This news already comes off the back of the pioneering Scottish drink brand announcing plans for their recently launched ‘Action Against Carbon’ initiative to fight climate change. This sees the company planting 1 tree for every dozen bottles bought or as he hails it their “Buy 1, get two tree” initiative. Andrew has set his sights high and expects to unveil more exciting developments in the coming months in terms of brand availability and range. We’re excited to hear what he has in store next.


An AwArd winning gift

Nairns Way From Navy to Nuance

In our continuing focus to bring you insight and inspiration from inspiring people across the hospitality industry, we speak to a true icon of not only of the culinary world and the industry but indeed of Scotland itself, Dr Nick Nairn.

In an ever-growing list of high profile culinary geniuses to deliver great food through their restaurants and grace our tv channels, Nick set the benchmark for them all. We take Nick back to where it began to understand what got him into the industry and discuss his journey as well as the current challenges facing the industry and what makes the man tick. You will be surprised to hear that the story does not begin in a kitchen or restaurant but on a boat where Nick began his journey ( no pun intended ) as a navigation officer in the merchant navy. Nick explained the story, “On joining the merchant navy

after deciding my path did not lie as a chemical engineer which I had attended Dundee University for, I found myself in Singapore where I had my first taste of Satay, and WOW. Having grown up in Glasgow my dad was a “plain eater “which meant there was no garlic, no salt, no seasoning so I had never experienced food like this before and it blew my mind.” Nick then spent another 7 years in the merchant navy as a chief navigating officer though he recalls that even then his passion lay elsewhere other than at sea. “I never really seemed to get promoted through the ranks even though I had passed all the exams I hit a ceiling at 3rd officer and in one debrief from my handler he wrote “Mr Nairn seems more interested in his leave of shore than pursuing his career in the merchant navy “and he was completely right.” “I loved my time in the merchant navy”, Nick continued, “I learned and experienced so much, culture, life experience and of course food I

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essentially spent all my salary on eating out and all of that experience awoke something in me ” Despite a lack of formal training, he opened his first restaurant, Braeval near Aberfoyle in 1986 which was put together in a less than an orthodox way as Nick explained, “I wanted to open a venue in Glasgow as that is where I lived however it was out of my price range and my dad had a building that he had planned to renovate into a house but never seemed to get round to it, so I bought the building from him and set about fitting it out over 2 years on a shoestring. The equipment was mostly second hand and some ex-army from a place nearby in Perth and the stove was a whopping £50 from a big house, I had never cooked for more than 4 people at this point but with a lot of hard work and desire we got there “ “I have to say that a lot of the success was also down to my then-wife Fiona who was my business partner as well. She had a degree in French and marketing and like most people that are highly qualified started her working life in a bar and hospitality as the social life was good, so as you do in the Ubiquitous Chip over a bottle of wine we decided to open the restaurant” The hard work of 90-100 hour weeks clearly paid off with the restaurant winning a Michelin star in 1991 and Nick being the youngest Scottish chef to win a star with him putting this down to not only hard work on both his and Fiona’s part but also their love of food and travel to experience different things and learn from people like David Wilson at The Peat Inn, David & Hilary Brown at La Potinière and travelling learned for the likes of Marco Pier White and the rest, as they

say, is history but as Nick explained it was never their focus to gain the star, “Our only focus was to be the best restaurant we could be and serve the best food we could, we benchmarked ourselves against the best in Europe that we had experienced, gaining the star just gave us the platform to everything else that followed. Like when I worked at Harvey’s I met Steve Terry & Gordon (Ramsey) and eventually Steve came to work for us and we started to really push for a second Michelin Star as there was a really select list of 2 & 3 Star restaurants in Europe and we wanted to be one of them but this nearly closed us as for the first time in 10 years we had stopped cooking for our customers and had chased the accolade which in my opinion is a massive mistake in hospitality because to me the most important people in hospitality are your customers so we went back to basics of what our DNA was.” Nick went on to open Nairns restaurant in Glasgow in 1998 and a cook school in 2000 at Lake of Menteith. In 2003, he sold his restaurant in Glasgow to concentrate on the cookery school, although he also undertakes a range of TV work with Ready Steady Cook, Wild Harvest & Island Harvest which he takes pride in knowing inspired some of the great young chefs in the industry at the moment. “Inspiration is important and I had some great people who influenced me people like David Wilson, David & Hilary Brown, and in later years Paul Rankin which has ultimately now brought me full circle to where I am today infusing the traditionally french with the modern influences “ We also discussed lockdown ( obviously ) and how


that has affected the business and what the challenges this has brought and Nick told us what the experience has been like. “I like a lot of people found myself with a considerable amount of time on my hands which was something I wasn’t used to, so I decided to use the time to teach myself about Indian spicing which has been fascinating but the most surprising thing is I’ve really got into gardening.” “So during the first period of lockdown and having moved to a new house the garden was needing some attention by the end of it it looked more like the Chelsea Flower Show.” he joked. On a more serious note, Nick explained how the last 12 months have made him feel and his thoughts on where the problems lie. “The overwhelming feeling of not only myself but many in the hospitality sector has been anxiety and uncertainty about our businesses and our industry.” “Are we going to be able to reopen? Are we going to be able to keep things going? Are we ever going to be able to service this debt we are taking on to keep our heads above water? As the only reason, most restaurants are still open now is because they have refinanced ,the only venues that have made any kind of money are venues that have offered take out and like us the real reason most offer that as an option was to stay in touch with their customers not because we were making fortunes.” “If you remember Boris made to statement “don’t go to restaurants don’t go to pubs “but he didn’t tell the venues to close so it was a mess in the beginning with NO support and the rhetoric hasn’t gone much better in a lot of peoples opinion across our industry although the bounce back loans were well administered in my opinion and ultimately saved us from going under at the time I am proud and happy to say that we have been able to keep hold of our staff as they are our biggest asset and thankfully we are starting to reap the rewards of that now ” He went on, “In my opinion when we look back on all of this it will be realised that The Government have made a catastrophic failure to properly segment the treatment of the “Bogey”industry which is hospitality because customers interact with the different types of venue in a very different way and the restriction make it easier for some and more challenging for others it cant be a one size fits all approach. “People like myself were approached in the beginning to provide insight and input and I know it was discussed that Tom Kitchen had a call with the First

Minister but this went nowhere and nothing came of it which makes no sense. The decision making has been appalling throughout from creating the “steamy window situation with cafes to portraying hospitality as a cause of the spread when most people would agree that when you can go and buy as much alcohol as you like in a supermarket and get a couple of pals round pretty much unsupervised and get as drunk as you like would be more of a cause for concern but that is exactly what has been allowed to happen, it just defies belief. The opportunity the Government missed was, we are all licensed, we are all regulated we all have environmental certification we are used to and experienced in looking after people in our premises so we were the perfect place to allow people to meet and come together in the safest way but that was 100% missed and instead they have done untold damage to the entire hospitality industry which will take years, maybe even decades to repair. We live in a democracy and asking questions of things that you believe are not fair or just is what democracy is all about if not it is fascism and industry and business owners should not be made to feel fear of reprisal for not speaking and it should not be left to just a few to take that burden on their shoulders but sadly that has what has been happening, there has to be a better way for the industry.” Finally, we wanted to ask Nick if he had any advice or experience he would like to share with people in his sector and his answer is something I think all of us could benefit from he said, you have had a lot of people doing things they never thought they would be doing, ( like Michelin star chefs putting food in little plastic tubs ) but as we start to emerge from the although we are by no means clear of it, a lot of us will wonder what the future holds but I would like to think when we look back at this people will think these guys did a good job, they looked after their employees, they looked after their suppliers, they looked after their customers they did a good job. There will be some people whose judgment and moral compass will be questioned along with their decision making but I would like to be counted as one of the good guys who has done the best they can in a difficult situation to do the right thing the way I believe is right and I think we should all look inside ourselves and think the way we behave, the decisions we make will one day be looked at and when that day comes that we are seen to be one of the good guys.”

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For further information contact Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution Limited. Tel: +44 (0) 333 016 1910 Web: Edrington-BeamSuntoryUK.com

The Crowning Approach To Hospitality As a mainstay of the Glasgow skyline & a name famous for quality the Crown Plaza Hotel in Glasgow has hosted many guests and functions over the years and is know for quality and service as well as the stunning views provided. We speak to the team in charge of the venue and how they have handled the last 12 months as well as the plans moving forward. For those who maybe don’t know the history the venue has in Glasgow can you give us some background? The Crowne Plaza has been a key player in the city for accommodation and events for over 30 years.

The hotel opened in 1988 in time for the famous ‘Glasgow Garden Festival’ and was designed by architects Cobban & Lorini, well known for their hotel creativity. There of course have been many changes along the riverside over the last 30 years and the regeneration of the area brings valuable business to the city & hotel. We have hosted many events, including: MTV Awards, MOBOS, European Championships, Commonwealth Games and most recently we are extremely proud to have been a EURO 2020 host hotel. We are the only hotel on the SEC campus with direct access to the SEC, which places us in a superb position for any high profile guests to move easily between the 2 venues, incognito if needed! Joanne Martin is the new Director of Sales & Marketing

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and she gives us some background on Ithe taking up the role what how you have found that experience: I joined Crowne Plaza in March 21 during extremely turbulent times within the hospitality industry. I am delighted to be part of the experienced team here at the hotel and look forward to re-positioning the hotel within the market. We are ready for business to return and very much looking forward to recovery within the coming months. I was drawn to the position as Crowne Plaza is such an iconic hotel within the city and Valor Hospitality the hotels management companies’ core values mirror my own, I believe it’s so important to work for an organisation whereby you can make a difference and feel valued for your contribution. Jason Dombrower is the General Manager and he gave us his background: I am General Manager and have been at the hotel for nearly 3 years. I’ve been working in the UK for over 20 years and am originally from Canada. Lived 10 years in the States before moving to the UK to help open a resort in St Andrews. As mentioned previously the Crowne Plaza has been a Glasgow staple for over 30 years. It lives and breathes events. The hotel (and its team) are at its happiest when there are events at the SEC, concerts at the Hydro/Armadillo and our restaurant, bar and ballrooms are hoping there can be a real buzz of activity at the Campus in Glasgow

What have the the last 12 months have been like for you as individuals and what have been the biggest challenges for you as a site? We closed the hotel in line with Government guidelines in late March 2020 and reopened for key workers in June 2020. The core team remained on site and worked with all clients to reschedule events and bookings – unfortunately some have had to be re-scheduled a few times since then! As a team we have had to adapt to the new ways of working Covid-19 has brought us. Some of the toughest challenges a year ago were initially deciding to fully close, then take a leap and safely open to key workers in June 2020. Bringing team members back and ensuring their confidence in our new procedures was critical. Throughout closure I ran weekly zoom meetings with the entire team. Often 90 people would join! This was a new experience for me for sure. How have you handled the staffing challenges for such a large venue with many different job roles? As mentioned, I think the weekly Zoom communications to our wider team during the lockdown period was key. This allowed us to share any relevant information, check everyone’s wellbeing and allow time for weekly questions. Like any other hospitality business we have had to re-structure, although we were lucky to retain many valued team


members who have now returned to the business. How you have found your suppliers through the period? Our suppliers have been extremely supportive over the last 12 months, we have all been in this together! We really had a lot of help from Ref-Sol and others partners keeping our equipment ready to go when we needed to open! What you see as the offering customers will be looking for now they are back in venue and how the venue is shaping up for this? Being an IHG branded hotel, we implemented IHG Clean promise early in the pandemic. Our guests are now used to the standards in place and feedback scores show that they feel extremely safe whilst staying with us. Whilst restrictions remained we had to be creative with our offerings. ‘Dine in the sky’ was a great product that was initiated at the time when you could not open restaurants to the public. Guests slept in one room and we converted the interconnecting room to a dining space for them, the building has 16 floors and the views across Glasgow

are amazing – what an opportunity to ‘go out for dinner’ whilst ‘staying in’. Consumer confidence is growing and we are seeing pent up demand for accommodation – staycation and many types of events. Christmas will be the next big event (restrictions allowing), of course after the city and hotel has hosted the COP26 Conference. What you would like to see in way of support for the industry or advice you would have for anyone in your sector finding things challenging or difficult? We primarily hire our new team members based on attitude and not experience. Anyone can grow and have a successful, rewarding and meaningful career in this industry. There are many people leaving high school and college looking for a career path and should consider our outstanding diverse industry. As an industry we need to continue to help and support each other. Mentoring team members and sharing challenges with trusted colleagues or peers are great practices to keep up. If you are able to, then meet face to face and you never know what may come of the conversation. Opportunity comes along when you least expect it!

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Moskito reopens to bring a new experience to an iconic name

We are excited to speak to Ben McLeod General Manager of the iconic Moskito Bar & Kitchen in Glasgow on the venues re opening. We discuss the amazing new look and the investment that has been made for Glasgows nightlife to bring a new vibe and approach to music, food and bringing an experience to customers.

For those who maybe don’t know the history of the venue can you give us some background and what made you want to relaunch the name? The name ‘Moskito’ really resonates with people in Glasgow and it has a special place in the history of the iconic Bath St bar scene. It was one of the original players when the Glasgow Style Bars were huge so we didn’t want to ignore that. Everyone who went to the ‘old’ Moskito has fond memories of it, and we wanted to tap into that heritage and acknowledge it. It was a special place for a lot of people. What can Glasgow expect from the new Moskito? The new Moskito is pretty much unrecognisable it has a completely new look and feel. We have worked with Nicky Murray who is an amazing interior designer and we have created a design that is pretty spectacular. There really isn’t anywhere else like Moskito in Scotland and we can’t wait to reveal the new venue to guests when we can finally open in July and get their feedback.


The food concept is totally unique as is the bar offering - we have worked with expert mixologists and we are confident that we will be bringing something totally new to the city. Service is at the centre of everything we offer and we want to create a unique customer journey from the minute they step into the venue until they leave. How have the last 12 months been for your business in relating to firstly the challenges but also on getting ready to getting ready to open. It has undoubtedly been a tough year for the entire hospitality industry, but we have tried to use the time wisely to work on the finer details and really curate the Moskito experience from the music to the design - no detail has been overlooked. The past year has been devastating and with the current restrictions in place it makes it really hard for us to trade at full capacity but we have made the decision to open and we are now just looking to the future. What is the kind of atmosphere you are creating and why this is so important? We want to create a warm and relaxed atmosphere that encapsulates guests so they don’t want to leave. The beauty of Moskito is that it works really well

from a day to night venue. The music, the lights, it all subtly changes so that guests really could spend their entire evening with us. What do you see as the offering customers will be looking for now they are back in the venue and how the venue is shaping up for this? Moksito will be a stylish unique bar & kitchen, offering something totally different to the city. It’s warm and inviting and will cater to a variety of people from local businesses during the week for meetings and lunches / dinners. At the weekend we look forward to welcoming groups of friends who want to enjoy themselves, who want to hear good music eat and drink well and have some fun. We want to bring joy back into the city centre scene. What you would like to see in a way of support for the industry or advice you would have for anyone in your sector finding things challenging or difficult? We need clearer timeline to allow us to operate in ever changing landscapes. Communication with hospitality leaders is key so they can hear first hand from those of us trying to navigate our way through. Ultimately we all have businesses to run with livelihoods at stake - clear and fair communication and timelines will allow us to do that.

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All proceeds from the event go to






Is Redundancy The Only Option? The positive news for hospitality businesses, large and small, is that the economy is opening up again as we begin to move out of lockdown restrictions, giving you an opportunity to plan ahead with a bit more clarity. The conversation since March 2020 has focused on managing significantly reduced revenue streams and Jo Millar cutting whatever costs Head of Licensing in order to survive and jmillar@gilsongray.co.uk see out the storm. 0141 370 8116 That has been evident in many hospitality businesses having to pivot their operation to deal with carry outs, rather than the traditional sit in business, or maximising the use of outdoor spaces. Now that businesses are in a position to return to full (or close to full) revenue generation the focus can switch to commercial opportunities and a longer term strategy. A key element of future strategy for most employers will be that the Government’s Job Retention Scheme (known as furlough) is coming to a close on 30th September 2021 unless a further extension of the Scheme is agreed by Government. REQUIREMENT FOR CHANGE? Now is the time to take stock and ensure that you are asking the right questions before you finalise your short to mid- term future strategy. We think you should be asking these fundamental questions: Is change required and what does that change look like? What cost reduction actions are required and how do we achieve them? Do we have the right human resources in place? For us, these questions are closely linked and should be considered together.

COST CUTTING Many market observers have expressed the view that the majority of people who are presently on furlough will lose their jobs (when the furlough scheme comes to an end) by reason of redundancy. It has yet to be seen if that prediction is accurate, however, our expectation is that there will be a spike in redundancies around this time. It is clear that one major issue for SME employers will be – if we require to cut staff in order to remain operational and make employees redundant can we afford to pay the redundancy costs? Within the hospitality sector, on the basis that you will be unlikely to run at your previous capacity, then there could be a real possibility of large scale redundancies. As a consequence, for those businesses looking to reduce cost, without incurring redundancy costs, the focus will be on what the options are. OPTIONS FOR CHANGE The first option for employers to save costs will be by changing terms and conditions to reduce contractual entitlements which can include reduced pay, reduced working hours or reducing / waiving benefits, such as company sick pay, holiday entitlement (in excess of the statutory minimum) or bonus payments. The safest, and quickest, method for making such a variation to contractual terms will be to reach agreement with employees following a consultation process. Any discussion on terms and conditions will be impacted by the external market and, in the present circumstances, we would suggest that there is a strong possibility that employees and their representatives will potentially agree to reduced salary/benefits if the alternative is headcount reduction. The recent British Gas case shows the dangers of trying to impose such cuts without going through a full process of consultation, therefore it is essential that there is a strong business rationale in place, genuine commitment to the consultation process and complete clarity in all documentation. We can assist you at all stages of that process. COST CONTROL Employers may be able to impose a pay freeze, defer or not make bonus payments, restrict overtime and limit training costs.

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Employers should be careful to ensure that these are not contractual rights before making such changes and where necessary follow an appropriate procedure before making any changes, as outlined above. FLEXIBLE WORKING Whilst there may be an opportunity to change the way in which your business operates, this article is looking at flexible working as one of the key changes you should be thinking about. Flexible working has been traditionally been viewed with suspicion by many employers, however one positive aspect of the pandemic has been the way in which employers and employees have required to embrace flexibility of working. Every employee has a statutory entitlement to request flexible working and as part of that statutory process, you, as the employer, are required to consider that request. Rather than wait for the inevitable flexible working requests to arrive, we recommend that you get in front of it by communicating with staff and engaging with them as to the possibility for change. ANALYSE YOUR WORKFORCE If you use casual workers, agency staff or contractors, then you can look to terminate those contracts without the risk of an unfair dismissal claim or obligation to pay a statutory redundancy payment. Having said that, these people do have contractual and statutory rights, therefore it is important to make sure you are aware of those risks and can manage them before terminating the contract.

UNPAID LEAVE One temporary way of reducing staff costs is to ask staff to take a period of unpaid leave, since this will retain them as employees without incurring salary costs for a period. This would need to be arranged with agreement, which may be hard to secure amongst employees reliant on a regular salary. However, there may be employees for whom it might be acceptable for a fixed period. EARLY RETIREMENT As well as the business taking the time to reflect during the pandemic, there will be a number of employees who have had an opportunity to consider their own futures. We suggest that you ascertain if there employees approaching retirement who might be willing to take early retirement (if allowed by the relevant pension scheme), or a phased reduction in hours as they approach retirement? Any conversations of this sort would need to be handled with care, so as not to give rise to possible age discrimination claims, but it is definitely worthwhile considering. SUMMARY We cannot pretend that it will be possible for employers to avoid redundancies in every case, however, hopefully we have given you some food for thought on how best your business can move into the next stage of recovery and possibly avoid the cost of making redundancies. We are assisting a large number of employers as they navigate through these uncertain times and we would be happy to discuss which options will work best for you.

The right advice has never been more important. We’re honoured to have been chosen as the exclusive partner of OnTrade Magazine Scotland. As one of Scotland’s full-service law firms we’re able to offer specialist legal, property and financial services. We’re here to help in a time when support and clarity are needed most – offering valuable advice and insight on everything from licensing, business financing, employment and real estate. Different people. Different approach. Different results. To find out more please call Jo Millar on 0141 370 8116 or email jmillar@gilsongray.co.uk





The Speyside region of Scotland is best known for producing some of the best single malt whiskies in the world. Distilled in small batches using a blend of the finest grain and Speyside malted barley spirit, combined with pure Cairngorm spring water to create our unique and incredibly smooth small batch spirits.

@ Snawstorm



OUR WATER The water used in making Snawstorm Vodka is one of the purest waters in the world. It flows from natural springs in the Scottish Mountains and spends around 50 years being gently filtered through the layers of underground rocks and crevices, collecting its unique properties. The springs lie within the Cairngorms National Park, a protected area of outstanding natural beauty.

OUR VODKA By using a combination of the finest spirit and purest water to make our Vodka, we don’t believe it requires any further processing or filtration. Clean and crisp on the palate with subtle caramel undertones and a fruity twist coming from the single malt barley spirit used in our distillation process. With the soft, smooth texture retained it’s perfect for long drinks, cocktails or served neat over ice.

OUR GIN A Juniper-led highland dry gin distilled in small batches using a blend of grain, malted barley spirit and pure Cairngorm spring water. 11 Botanicals including Juniper, Coriander seeds, Angelica root, Lemon peel, Cubeb, Scots pine needles, Fresh lime peel, Almonds, Liquorice root, Cassia bark & Orange combine to create this clean, crisp and exceptionally smooth traditional gin.

Insite Group,s Gerry Campbell shares a personal take on the benefits of the company,s innovative Room To Breathe product.

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“If you want to give customers confidence that you’re being ‘covid secure’ just employ someone to walk around with a spray. It doesn’t have to be filled with cleaning products, it can be water, but that way they see you are ‘cleaning and caring’.” This is what I heard the managing director of a fivestar hotel in England telling housekeeping staff during a webinar on post-pandemic customer care recently. I cannot imagine anyone wants to see or hear this – and it does nothing to rebuild fragile customer confidence as the hospitality industry struggles back to its feet. What customers do want is to feel safe and secure in hospitality and event settings, without being conscious or cognisant of a venue’s cleaning regime. From arrival to departure and at every point in between, owners and managers have a duty of care to maximise health security and peace of mind. Staging a “performance” with a water-filled spray bottle will not, and should not, cut it. Cleaning regimes (even good ones) sometimes just aren’t enough and, without proper training and use of the right products, they can be totally ineffective. Proprietors, patrons and personnel deserve better. Too often we see venues open and follow all the guidelines, in letter and spirit, only to find themselves having to close again due to an outbreak. It goes without saying that this can be financially crippling but my career path has demonstrated to me that there is another way. When I started at Insite Group, my role involved their Room To Breathe product which creates hypoallergenic environments, initially focusing on hotel and serviced accommodation settings. The system was particularly relevant to me personally because both myself and my daughter are asthmatic, my daughter having been hospitalised twice due to pneumonia in the last four years. System creator Gordon Bruce suggested I take Room To Breathe home and install it. Since then, my daughter hasn’t had an attack and her steroid intake has reduced by over 60%. And, we haven’t had Covid-19 either. Spurred on, I was desperate to share the possibilities with others. We got cracking, made some great contacts but then came the pandemic and lockdowns. But knowing that our Biotouch and PB2012 were effective in killing

coronaviruses, we reached out to the CDC and EPA and they confirmed it was also effective in killing Covid-19. It was a glimmer of hope during some unsettling times. At this point, we knew we had a moral responsibility to approach those who needed Room To Breathe most, especially the care sector, and our work in this area has been hugely rewarding in giving people hope and peace of mind. One resident even asked to move her seat to be under our sanification unit because she wanted to live long enough to see her family post-lockdown. She did. As we think ahead to “Freedom Day” many of us are focusing on maximising our safety, and that of customers, visitors, staff and residents in all sectors. I want be in an environment that I know is secure but without the spray bottle performance. I want to spend time with people I care about and see their faces again. I don’t want to have to constantly wear a mask or navigate the physical barrier created by often ineffective partitions. I want to know that that there are stringent measures in place to address this airborne virus, especially in the middle of winter, when the last thing I want is every window wide open. I might chance a beer garden in the summer, but their season isn’t exactly predictable here in Scotland! We might not want the windows open all the time, but we do want business open all the time and our biosecurity system can help achieve that. That’s why the NHS, Scottish Care, Enable Scotland, Citizens Advice Bureaus, Homes for Students, John Quigley, Creiff Hydro Family of Hotels, Skene Group, NICE, and many others use our system that: • Specifically designed for infection prevention • Made in Scotland • Removes up to 99.999% of viruses (including Covid-19), bacteria, etc • Reduces CO₂ by up to 40% • Continuous protection for air & surfaces • Technology by NASA, components approved by the CDC and EPA • Non-toxic and harmless to humans • Reduces risk – duty of care • Provides “peace of mind” To find out more, visit www.insite-group.co.uk

Insite Group is an independent main/principal contractor which specialises in the fit out, refurbishment and construction of commercial, retail, industrial, healthcare and public sector property. The company employs 100 people and has annual turnover in the region of £20 million. It is based in Glasgow and operates throughout Scotland and the North of England, priding itself on a high level of repeat business from satisfied clients. To find out more, visit www.insite-group.co.uk


www.bdpcontractfurniture.co.uk INDOOR - OUTDOOR

Suppliers of Bespoke Banquette and booth seating Manufactured in our Glasgow workshop to a very high standard Suppliers of quality contract indoor and outdoor furniture Recovery and polishing service

37 Hepburn Road, Hillington Park, Glasgow G52 4RT Tel. 0141 883 0400 / www.bdpcontractfurniture.co.uk

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The Ben is here as a safety net for anyone who works in our trade and is facing extreme financial hardship. We may be in a position to offer one-off financial assistance on a case by case basis. If this applies to you or any colleagues please contact

chris@bensoc.org.uk 0141 353 3596 79 West Regent Street Glasgow, G2 2AW

Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade Scotland is a Scottish Charity SC 005604. Scottish Charity Regulator