Scotland's restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and spas are in the grip of a new struggle that could be more devastating than the pandemic.
Many are on the cliff edge as they struggle to meet pandemic loan payments and power bills that have risen 250 per cent in some cases.
They are angry as they see their counterparts south of the Border receive help with crucial tax bills.
This week The Herald business team produced a special series that unpacked the key issues with sometimes startling interviews with business owners and operators across Scotland.
In their words, owners told how their businesses are being "strangled" by the actions of government amid a "tidal wave" of problems that threaten to overwhelm much of the industry.
Here's the series in full:
Scotland's pubs and restaurants cut opening hours as ‘tidal wave’ hits operators
More than half of Scotland’s pubs and restaurants cut down on their opening hours in January in an attempt to ride out the “tidal wave of economic challenges” threatening to drown much of the country’s hospitality sector.
Survey results seen exclusively by The Herald reveal that three out of five outlets have scaled back operations to combat rising costs that include surging energy prices, steep wage increases and rampant food inflation.
Renowned Glasgow restaurateur calls for city to embrace hospitality
Leading Glasgow hospitality operator Alan Tomkins has urged political leaders to embrace the potential of the industry as a mainstay of the economy as he made the case for value-added tax to be slashed for the sector, declaring that it would enhance the “life expectancy” of businesses.
Mr Tomkins, whose family own and operate city centre venues such as Vroni’s, Ralph & Finns and Malo, said trading had been “resilient” in recent weeks despite the unprecedented cost pressures facing the industry.
North Coast 500: Staffing shortages threaten Scotland's tourist route
The man in charge of a string of hotels serving the North Coast 500 tourist route that he helped to create has said he is “determined” to maintain staffing levels despite extreme pressures bearing down on the hospitality industry.
David Whiteford of Highland Coast Hotels said the group goes to significant lengths to look after its employees because “it’s not easy to get good people”. This is particularly true in remote and rural locations where a lack of affordable housing is a major barrier.
Hospitality chief warns: 'The Scottish Government is strangling me'
The head of one of Scotland’s oldest family-owned hostelries has said government needs to “take their hands off my neck” and allow the hospitality industry to re-invest for the future.
Kris Clark of the George Hotel in Inveraray, which has been run by his family since 1860, said there appears to be a “lack of political will” to address the extreme pressures bearing down on pubs, restaurants and accommodation providers. These include surging energy prices, steep wage increases and rampant food inflation.
Glasgow pub fears as last orders come early
The night-time economy in Glasgow is being undermined by inadequate transport provision and consumer trends that gained traction in the wake of the pandemic, city publicans have told The Herald.
The owner of one long-established pub in the east end has warned the current cost-of-doing-business crisis may force the independents who create the character which the city is renowned for to exit the industry.
Scott Wright: Bold action needed to safeguard Scotland's hospitality industry
Ii is in the midst of enormous upheaval. But remarkably, the Scottish hospitality industry would appear to be retaining its allure, both as an employer and a backdrop for entrepreneurial activity.
This week The Herald has been putting the spotlight on the challenges facing operators as they get to grips with the post-pandemic world, which are as numerous as they are profound.
Brian Donnelly: Sturgeon 'throttling' restaurants, hotels, spas and pubs
The First Minister stands accused of throttling the life out of Scottish businesses who face going bust in a new post-pandemic financial crunch.
Owners of restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and spas are among the worst hit and are laying the blame at the door of Nicola Sturgeon as they see their counterparts south of the Border benefit from hefty tax cuts.
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