In the latest instalment of our Senior Team Q&As, we caught up with Director Of Operations Brian Hutchison, who talks us through how he & his teams are coping and supporting each other during re-opening.
You must be delighted to see so many of your venues open again, can you tell us a bit about how you have supported your teams during re-opening?
I believe I should be answering the question “how did the teams support me during the reopening”. I was overwhelmed by the eagerness to contribute from team at all levels in the period of reopening. Given the scale of Scotsman Hospitality’s portfolio, we needed to open venues in a staged rollout, in what has essentially felt like 40 new openings. The contribution and collaboration from venue team and the wider supporting departments has made me very proud. There was going to be so many changes to the way we would have traditional operated; the team, who we kept in close contact with, were at the forefront of ensuring we got it right for both them and the guests.
There has been a lot of conversation about what post-COVID hospitality looks like and what the long term impacts might be. Among this, it’s been reported there has been a huge drop in cash and credit card tips across the sector. What are Scotsman Hospitality doing to combat this?
Based upon feedback from our team in venues and the industry in general we are aware of a decline in tipping which is having an impact on our team. To assist with this situation, we are introducing an optional service charge to support our team continue to be financial recognised by our guests for the amazing products and service they receive from them each day. 100% of this optional amount will be distributed to the team through the existing Tronc systems and only determined by the tronc committee. We fundamentally believe that their tips are an acknowledgement of the exceptional food, drink and customer service that they provide as a team. I’m pleased to say that the Group believe in total transparency and the company will continue to not take any money or levy an administration charge from either the service charge or electronic tips.
Many other businesses in the sector have reporting difficulties in attracting and retaining staff, what do you feel makes Scotsman Hospitality an attractive employer?
In a word, opportunities. The managed estate side of our business has been in operation since 1990, and over the years have managed to strike a quite remarkable balance between investing in the right buildings and filling them with the right people- people attract people. From this provides the greatest opportunities for career diversity, development and growth; I believe more than any other hospitality group in Scotland. With hotels including the famous Scotsman, restaurant, bars, night clubs, cinemas and Scotland’s most iconic venues including the Corinthian; we compliment these with industry leading development programmes and supporting teams of the highest calibre.
In a year dominated with negative headlines, its been great to see more and more stories of positivity coming out of hospitality. Tell us something uplifting which you have witnessed within the business?
Impossible to detail them all into a paragraph. We have seen new team members receive double digit name mentions on TripAdvisor reviews, bridal parties overwhelmed by the team’s service delivery given the level of restrictions and changes; which felt like daily on this journey. The adaptability and strength of the collective team, including the perhaps unrecognised back of house and support departments, makes me very proud. During this ongoing period of uncertainly I am only sure of one thing; they will continue deliver more stories that will provide myself, the organisation and the hospitality industry with immense pride.