'It's already caused disruption': Restaurants' trade fears as ScotRail cuts evening trains

·3-min read
'It's already caused disruption': Restaurants' trade fears as ScotRail cuts evening trains
'It's already caused disruption': Restaurants' trade fears as ScotRail cuts evening trains

A NUMBER of Glasgow restaurants have spoken about the potential impact on trading as the new ScotRail timetable comes into effect.

Managers are becoming concerned that reduced evening train services may affect how many people are coming in for a post-work meal or grabbing a bite before a concert or show.

Scottish fine-dining eatery The Gannet, located just a stone’s throw away from popular gig venues the SEC and Hydro, is used to having a regular influx of customers from the Finnieston area.

Manager Conor McGeady said: "I think we have been pretty lucky so far this week. If it is due to continue through the week then I'm sure it will affect us though.

“We’re more of a special occasion restaurant, but we do sometimes get some lunch tables that might be going to the Hydro in the evening.

"I couldn't say that I have been affected until I see a clear indication that people are rescheduling or cancelling.

"Upsets to public transport do always tend to have some sort of knock-on effect on the trade”

READ MORE: Train passengers hit out as ScotRail timetable changes come into effect

Nadeem Mohammed, manager of Ask Italian, feels that the timetable is likely to prevent people from staying in town after work or travelling into town at all for meals and events.

He said: “It is a little bit early, but I think it is obviously going to affect consumer confidence about being able to travel into the town.”

As a city-centre restaurant near local transport links, the cinema and theatres, Mr Mohammed says his business is more geared towards people travelling into Glasgow.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of people telling me that their plans have been disrupted so they’ve had to take other forms of transport and in some cases delay their plans because of the timetable.

“People are meant to catch a train at a certain time and now that’s not available, so I think it is going to cause and it has already caused people disruption.

“One thing that is apparent is that evening services are predominately affected.

“Monday night was very quiet so it could be that people are choosing to dine out earlier or not eat out after work because then they can’t get in and out and get home.”

READ MORE: Train drivers’ union urges Nicola Sturgeon to intervene in ScotRail pay dispute

While Mr Mohammed and his team have not yet seen a decrease in cancellations, they are finding that less people are making restaurant bookings since the pandemic.

He added: “We’re finding customers are choosing not to reserve tables, and right now we have half the amount of people book then half show up and ask if we’ve got a table.

“So, we’re unsure of what the demand is going to be on the night and with staff needing to get home it’s a bit worrying. I’m sure we’ll be able to deal with it eventually but it’s very unpredictable.

“It feels like we’re still in the unknown a bit, but it definitely affected us on Monday.”

Mr Mohammed is not only concerned about having fewer customers, but how his staff will cope with commuting and working the late hours that the hospitality sector demands.

He said: “I have team members who are training and because of the reduced timetable it’s affected when they can and can’t work.

“One was supposed to stay until the end of service the other night to learn how it works but because they get a train to Edinburgh, they had to finish at 8.30pm to get home.

“It’s very unpredictable and difficult to navigate.”

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