The Peat Inn forced to cancel lunch bookings due to staff shortage

One of Fife's Michelin Star restaurants has had to stop its lunch service due to staff shortages.

Published 12th Aug 2021
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

The award-winning Peat Inn restaurant, which won Scotland’s first ever Michelin star back in the 80s, is run by head chef Geoffrey Smeddle, who takes full advantage of the wonderful region of Fife to source only the best ingredients.

The restaurant is usually open for lunch and dinner service, but has had to suspend its lunch offering for the foreseeable future.

The decision was made as Peat Inn owners Geoffrey and Katherine Smeddle have been unable to recruit staff to cover two services each day.

Since reopening in April, Geoffrey and Katherine have been actively recruiting, but to no avail. Now the shorter hours are in place to help the remain staff's wellbeing.

For guests who aren't residents at the rooms by the Peat Inn restaurant, the opening hours and Tuesday to Saturday evenings.

Speaking to the Courier, Katherine said: “It has been a very stressful time for the hospitality industry during the pandemic.

“Since reopening in April, we have struggled to recruit the staffing levels we require at The Peat Inn. Over the last 15 years of running the business, we have never had so few applicants for our vacancies.

“The welfare and mental health of our employees has always been our priority and with no additional support for the team we decided we would reduce the workload by suspending our lunch service.

“We know we may have disappointed customers that have been looking forward to having lunch with us at The Peat Inn, but we want to say thank you to everyone who has been so understanding of our decision to put our staff first.

“We hope that we will be able to re-open our lunch service at some point in the future but until we can increase our award-winning team, we will continue to take exceptional care of our residential guests and of course our evening diners.”

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Geoffrey added: “In the past, there has been a perception that working in the hospitality industry is renowned for long hours, but just because it has always been this way in the past doesn’t mean it needs to continue.

“Our business is only as good as the team we have running it and we value each and every one of our team and that’s why we are putting them first.

“With the school exam results announced we want young adults to know that working in the hospitality industry can be a great career choice, and our industry is changing, with employers addressing a sustainable work-life balance.”

Fife's other Michelin Star restaurant The Cellar, has also recently reduced working hours to safeguard staff wellbeing.

Owner and head chef Billy Boyter said: "I spoke to other chefs who are working a 4 day week and I thought if we can afford to do it then we really should.

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"It's really for the benefit of the staff, as we know the amount of work they do.

"There's alot of negativity around hospitality and especially towards Michelin Star restaurants and the working conditions and hours.

"I want to put a different spin on that and show that you can work in these places without working the hours that people think you do in order to cook good food."

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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