Staff abuse on the rise in hospitality venues

Credit: ITV Border

Hospitality businesses on both sides of the border say there's been a rise in abuse towards their staff. 

A number of businesses in the region are taking part in the national Be Kind campaign after seeing customers become physically and verbally abusive about Covid rules, or slower than usual service.

Becca Murdoch , who works at the Fizzy Tarte in Bowness told ITV Border, "We had a group of three quite big guys in and they were being quite drunk, going to other tables, which obviously you can't do with Covid, and I've basically refused service to them and they've started being really horrible to me, calling me loads of names, swearing. I walked upstairs and I was crying. I handed my notice in and I said I can't do this anymore. It drains you, like you go home, you can't stop thinking about it. I don't know what's happened to people but it's just nothing like it was before Covid."

Olivia Hartley, marketing manager at the Boaters Bar told us about about some of the abuse staff had faced recently: "Swearing at them, chasing them, clicking their fingers. They've cried on shift, they've also gone home and then read reviews about them. They get personal, for instance describing their hair colour, their build. They're working thirteen-hour shifts and you know reading these reviews makes them really sad, they don't want to come to work."

Credit: ITV Border

Hospitality owners in the south of Scotland have also reported unpleasant behaviour from customers.

Janie Seaton of the Black Bull inn in Moffat said, "There's just this trend since last lockdown ended where it all started off kind of well and then after a while we noticed that suddenly there was an undercurrent of belligerence. It can be a bit of a body blow - it certainly is for me - when people behave like that because this means so much to me."

Several bars and restaurants in the Lake District have taken to wearing t-shirts asking people to be kind, as part of the national "Be Kind" campaign.

David Hampshaw from Hargreaves Enterprises with the 'Be Kind' t-shirts Credit: ITV Border

David Hampshaw from Hargreaves Enterprises is encouraging the move towards being nicer to restaurant and bar staff.

He said, "I know people are frustrated with the world and you know have been locked up for nearly a year but I just don't think it's appropriate that we get that anger. The moment they turn up they're frustrated, they have to queue to get in or they might have to track and trace on their phone and they don't want to do it so it's our fault. So we should be treating them with the same respect that we treat any other professional person as equals at the end of the day and not be abusive to them. They're not beneath us, they're human beings."

The campaign was set up in Glasgow earlier this year, where it has been led by the city's Radisson RED hotel. It became a national movement last month.