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Industry leaders come together to support Scotland’s hospitality businesses


Industry experts from the worlds of commercial lending, legal, utilities and procurement including The Cumberland Building Society, Harper Macleod, Braemartel and Pelican Procurement Services, have teamed up to support Scotland’s hospitality businesses in navigating sector challenges, including managing staff shortages, reducing costs, and driving sustainability across their operations.

With Scotland’s tourism sector accounting for 175,900 jobs provided by almost 16,000 businesses, the industry is a staple in Scotland’s economy.

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“The hospitality sector is a cornerstone of Scotland’s economy, so it makes sense for those who work in the industry to come together and share their expertise to help them meet the current challenges across the sector,” says Derek Smith, Commercial Business Development Manager at The Cumberland.

The Cumberland Building Society holds more than 20 years’ experience in lending to the hospitality industry, whilst Harper Macleod is one of Scotland’s leading independent law firms, supporting businesses and individuals across the country and abroad. Pelican Procurement Services has over 30 years’ experience in delivering ethical procurement expertise across the hospitality, healthcare and education sectors, and Braemartel has over 20 years’ experience in helping businesses to reduce their expenditure as well as their carbon footprint.

Staff shortages are a persistent problem in the hospitality sector in Scotland and the wider UK, with organisations struggling to fill 72 percent of vacancies according to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.

While this can lead to lost revenue due to decreased capacity, Harper Macleod advises organisations to apply via the skilled worker route, where appropriate, which would allow them to obtain a licence to sponsor visas of foreign national workers and help fill current positions.

Ashley Fleming, Immigration Partner, Harper Macleod, explained: “By placing an onus on skilled workers, businesses can obtain a licence to sponsor visas of foreign workers.

“This can be useful when it comes to important, but hard-to-fill, positions as it widens the talent pool, and in terms of hospitality, those which are eligible include chefs, hotel and restaurant managers, as well as event managers.

“For those who don’t look at the skilled worker route, identify which routes work for you. Graduate schemes, as well as youth mobility schemes can play a part also. Our advice would be to consider carefully which roles need skilled workers and which are more suitable for temporary workers.”

Meanwhile, at a time when the cost-of-living is putting pressure on the industry, Pelican Procurement Services, who take an ethical approach to procurement, advises organisations to use the leverage of purchasing power to save money on products and services.

They also encouraged business owners to take complete control and visibility over their purchasing spend, take a greater presence in managing their supply chain, and invest in training to support their management needs.

Kevin Roach, founder of Braemartel, said: “There are some relatively simple ‘quick wins’ that hospitality businesses can implement to reduce consumption, cut carbon emissions and lower costs.

“By reducing voltage across sites from 240v to 220v, most equipment will actually work better and last longer, saving you approximately 8% in energy consumption. You could also look to generate your own energy through solar panels or wind turbines or find innovative ways to recycle wasted heat.”

Kevin also advised that by negotiating on energy contracts, businesses could see the price come down significantly. He said: “It’s important to constantly evaluate whether you are getting the best price for your energy. Renegotiate with your energy provider up to 18 months before the contract ends to see if they will budge on price.”

In terms of sustainability, the organisations are encouraging businesses to reduce waste and carbon footprints by eliminating single-use plastics, optimising recycling, sourcing sustainable suppliers, and reducing deliveries and food miles.

Andrew Parsons, Head of Sales, Pelican Procurement Services, said: “Sustainability is not just good for the planet but it’s good for business too as it will resonate with customers. 

“Businesses can do this with simple steps from reducing single-use plastics to introducing recycling schemes at their premises, or even going as far as to assessing where they can reduce carbon emissions across their supply chain.

“When it comes to sustainability, every little helps and it will make a real difference.”

With tourism representing a significant driver of growth across Scotland, the organisations hope to further support hospitality businesses moving forward.

Derek Smith said: “It’s important for businesses to look at all areas of their operations to save and streamline costs, including their financing package.

“For example, those who have multiple lenders may find it serves them better financially to consolidate their debts. Having a single point of contact may also allow them to better manage their borrowing, which in turn will enable them to plan for the future better.

“At The Cumberland we specialise in supporting hospitality businesses to do this, and with our people-first approach to banking, we offer a hands-on approach to business support alongside financial lending.”

The Cumberland is dedicated to sustainable banking practices, focusing on people, planet, and community. Each hospitality sector client is assigned a designated relationship manager, who will help customers in the hospitality sector navigate the lending process with in-person support to each case.

For more information on The Cumberland, please visit:

For more information on Harper Macleod, please visit:

For more information on Pelican Procurement Services, please visit:

For more information on Braemartel, please visit: 

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