The new boss of Perth’s Lovat Hotel has insisted the establishment is not closing, despite an apparent walk-out of restaurant staff.
Khandaker Hossain took the reins at the once-thriving Glasgow Road venue in September.
Staff on Tuesday told The Courier they feared that the hotel was on the verge of closure, after the sudden shutdown of the adjoining Manhattan’s family restaurant.
The diner, which relaunched after a £250,000 makeover in 2018, has closed as part of a refurbishment – according to a sign on the front door – sparking speculation it may not re-open.
Mr Hossain has stressed that the hotel, bar and function hall are unaffected by his decision to temporarily close the 150-seat restaurant.
“There is water coming through part of the ceiling, so we have to close to get that fixed,” he said. “We think it will be closed for a month, but it might even be open in a week.”
Mr Hossain, from Edinburgh, said all eight staff left after he told them about the planned closure. “They decided to go off and look for other work,” he said. “When the restaurant opens again, the door will be open to them.
“I don’t plan to recruit any other staff.”
He admitted trading had been difficult over the winter months. “September and October were fine, but after that it became really quiet,” he said. “We were surprised that Perth was so quiet over Christmas and New Year.
“That’s why we decided to close the restaurant now, because it is low season.
“The hotel, bar and the function hall are fine. They are definitely not closing.”
The three-star Lovat Hotel has a chequered history. It closed without warning with the loss of 50 staff in January 2018.
Then-manager Stuart Shearer was accused of going into hiding after issuing terse redundancy notices to his workforce, in a move described as “complete incompetence.”
The venue relaunched that summer under new management, and the majority of staff who lost their jobs returned.
The new look restaurant became a key part of the business, after owners decided to move away from large-scale wedding bookings.