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The café bar in An Lanntair arts centre is set to close within two weeks, according to reports.

A provisional date for closure of the food and drink service has reportedly been set around 15 October, but service of food is already being regularly suspended.

An announcement today (Monday 3 October) stated that tea and coffee only would be served in the café bar from 12noon to 4pm.

The café bar has been run as a franchise by catering company Elior, who announced a five-year contract with An Lanntair in September 2020.

At the time, they said: “Elior impressed An Lanntair’s board with its dedication to providing an impeccable food experience powered by a flawless operation delivering on quality and consistency.

“Elior will manage corporate hospitality in addition to looking after the venue’s daytime, evening and bar offer.”

But Elior group manager Stephen Reed, who is also responsible for catering at Stornoway and Benbecula airports, said the company shared continuing problems across the hospitality sector in recruiting staff.

He confirmed that an announcement on the future of catering and hospitality at An Lanntair is due shortly.

An Lanntair’s management today confirmed that Elior would be ‘exiting the contract’ as of 15 October.

David Green, chair of An Lanntair, said: “An Lanntair’s board is focused on ensuring that we secure alternative arrangements for our very popular café-bar, so that we can start to welcome customers again as soon as possible.

“The board of directors and staff team will be consulting with the local food and beverage sector in order to develop a successful business model that will complement the hospitality trade in Stornoway and be a welcome asset to our arts centre. 

“In the meantime, we hope that the excellent café-bar staff can find suitable employment as soon as possible.  

“Given the recent huge cost increases in energy, raw materials, wages and all aspects of our business, it is likely that we will offer a reduced service, at least in the short-term, but we will be focused on high quality and efficient service as we want to ensure that every visit to An Lanntair is a good experience. 

“This change in the catering service will have no creative impact on future programming within An Lanntair and we are confident that people will enjoy the many wonderful arts events and activities we have lined up for our packed autumn and winter schedules.”

 (An Lanntair management comments added since this report was first published.)