More than 130 hospitality businesses in Aberdeen have created a forum called ‘Aberdeen Hospitality Together’ (AHT) a unified group set up by the industry, for the industry with the main objective of working together positively with one voice.
The forum, which has as its motto, ‘created by the industry, for the industry’ will be driven by the local businesses in a bid to allow all premises, small and large, to collectively work together to share best practice. They have also made a commitment to the protection of the industry to help make major long-lasting positive changes.
AHT was been formed in response to the local COVID-19 outbreak which saw 28 bars and pubs implicated in a Covid-19 cluster outbreak.
The newly formed group will primarily focus on the operational procedures of the hospitality sector in line with Government guidelines and work on aligning customer behaviour in order to overcome the challenges which threaten the hospitality industry.
The first action point of the group includes the creation of a 10-step assurance scheme that all venues will pledge to follow in order to instil customer confidence and lead the way in creating a safe environment in Aberdeen.
Stuart McPhee, Director of Siberia Bar & Hotel & Committee Member, said, “The second lockdown has prompted premises in the city to take action and create a positive unified voice that we feel was missing. Our first priority is the safety aspect in relation to COVID-19 guidelines so we can ensure all venues in the city are compliant and secondly, working on rebuilding customer confidence. This has led to the creation of our new assurance scheme that all venues will adhere to but we also have plans in motion for a new customer behaviour system unique to Aberdeen and a city-wide app which will help to strengthen safety procedures. These steps will help to ensure that operators are ready to open but we need this to happen as soon as possible to ensure the sector survives.”
Councillor Marie Boulton, continued: “I am really encouraged at the swift action taken by the hospitality sector in Aberdeen in coming together with one voice and one mission, which is to restores Aberdeen’s reputation as a safe, welcoming City.”
Stuart McPhee, adds, “The hospitality industry in the city directly employs around 14,000 people and that does not involve anyone in the supply chain or contractors beyond. Although this group has been formed out of a negative situation, we are determined to use this to create a route forward for the thousands of hospitality settings across the city, enforcing a regime of positive representation.”
Aberdeen Hospitality Together will be working with local authorities on a number of initiatives including an assurance scheme, customer behaviour system and a city-wide app with a joined-up approach to support the reopening of the sector. The group already has more than 100 venues signed up in the past 24 hours but all hospitality businesses in the area and affiliated parties are encouraged and invited to support the new group.
Meanwhile Soul Bar, which has been widely criticised over pictures which showed a severe lack of social distancing at their premises, have issued an apology. In a statement the owners said “Over the last couple of weeks we have take some time to reflect.’ It continued, “we are truly sorry.”
Although it did say at lockdown that it wouldn’t be rushing to open – It has been able to open at the same time as other hospitality businesses. Although Stuart McPhee has delayed the opening of Siberia until the 1st September.