Cancer scare inspires recruitment entrepreneur to open restaurant


Danny McIntyre, one of Scotland’s most successful recruitment entrepreneurs has revealed how a cancer diagnosis inspired him to get back into business by buying a restaurant.

Before taking an operational role with hospitality group Yes To All, helping the business successfully navigate recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, Danny headed up the multi-million-pound recruitment firm Primestaff, selling to management in 2018 following 25 years at the helm of the business he founded in 1993.

However, everything changed in January last year, when a routine medical check-up following a cough led to the discovery of prostate cancer. The disease was caught at an early stage, with McIntyre undergoing radiotherapy treatment at the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow, but the experience prompted the dad-of-one to reassess what was important – sparking a desire to have one last go at running a business – and buying Punto, an Italian kitchen and wine bar in the heart of Kilmacolm.

Danny said, “I wouldn’t have done this before the cancer. I was lucky to catch it so early, and I met plenty of people who weren’t during my treatment. It made me realise that I wanted to be busy. I needed a project that would have me more involved with people – that’s the part I loved most at Primestaff, and Yes To All – working with people every day and building a successful business around them. Luckily my wife Christine, who has been my absolute rock through everything, agreed, and we haven’t looked back.”

McIntyre, supported by Christine, took over Punto in March this year, and while it has been an evolution rather than revolution so far, the new owner has already made his mark. The 42-seater restaurant has been fully booked at weekends, with village regulars returning and visitors making the trip from surrounding towns and villages.

He explains, “Kilmacolm was crying out for another restaurant that is also a hub of the community, a place where people can meet friends, family, community groups, or business contacts, and that provides great quality food and drinks on their doorstep so they don’t have to travel. It sounds simple, but it still needs to be delivered well.

“It’s about more than that, though. Kilmacolm is a gem that so many people in Glasgow are yet to discover. The right restaurant can help make it a dining destination and that’s a big part of what we’re aiming for at Punto. We believe we’ve added something new and exciting to the mix – and more competition drives standards but also gives more people a reason to visit.”

One of McIntyre’s first moves was to promote young and talented chef Jamie Wade, who learned his craft at restaurants including Celinos, Mar Hall, and Ingliston Estate and Country Club, to lead the kitchen. It’s the 26-year-old’s first head chef role, and he has already seized the opportunity delivering new lunch and evening menus featuring fresh pizzas, pasta, and classic Italian dishes, as well as weekly specials to delight diners.

Despite a staffing crisis affecting large sections of the industry, McIntyre has also been able to fill all 23 kitchen and floor roles at Punto, led by front-of-house manager Toni MacAllister, through a mix of retained staff from previous owners, and also by providing opportunities for locals including young people in the village.

He said, “I’m aware staffing challenges are affecting the industry, but we honestly haven’t felt them – perhaps it’s my background! We want to provide people with a platform to progress their career in hospitality, while also creating opportunities for young people in need of work as they study or find their feet in life.

“It’s about building a reputation for being a good place to work, having a positive culture, and providing opportunities people want. We seem to have found the right formula.”

The businessman, who sits on the board of Maggie’s Cancer Centre, has also raised thousands of pounds through regular fundraising events, including a golf day at Kilmacolm Golf Club raising £15,000. He has also been involved in other Maggie’s fundraising events that raised more than £135,000.

He added, “I understand that going back to work wouldn’t be what everybody would do in my situation, but I feel lucky I’m still able to seize opportunities like this. My advice to anybody is get yourself checked out – no matter how small the issue. There’s no sense in dying of embarrassment.”


Category: News, Restaurant
Tags: Danny McIntyre, Jamie Wade, Kilmacolm, Primestaff, Punto, Toni MacAllister, Yes to All