A CAFÉ/BAKERY in Stewarton is introducing a profit-sharing scheme for its staff as a way of saying thanks for their dedication and hard work during what has been a tumultuous and unpredictable year for many.

Despite the hospitality industry being one of those to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis in terms of financial impact, Gilmartin’s Bakery “survived and thrived” during lockdown.

As a result, they are now looking to reward their loyal staff with a programme which would see those who have worked in the café for a year be given a slice of the profits.

James Stewart, who owns Gilmartin’s alongside wife, Steph, told the Times: “During lockdown things were less certain and we were adapting and evolving as we went.

“Since we’ve opened, we’ve operated for longer in the pandemic than out of it so when people talk about going back to normalcy, this is our normal now.

Irvine Times:

“Some of our kitchen staff were furloughed but we were able to give our younger staff members many more hours than were in their contractors so that was a good thing.

“Hospitality is not famously a very well-paid industry but our staff have been really great during lockdown.

“During the first few months of lockdown, when it was the unknown and a panic, the staff were actually more level-headed than me. They just got on with it and showed their best selves so we thought the best to reward that, instead of giving them a ‘thank you’ letter, why not make them a bit invested in the business and give them a share of the profits?”

James continued: “This is an industry with a famously high turnover so one way of keeping staff is having these types of programmes in place which means if you stick with us for a full year, from April to April, we’ll give you a slice of the profits that the business makes.

“We always wanted to do this but we didn’t really envision being able to do it within two years of opening. The business is not just a vessel through which we make money. We want to be good and fair employers. These schemes don’t exist in small towns like Stewarton.”

Irvine Times:

Head chef Wendy Nangle added: “Having worked for Gilmartin’s from when we first opened, it’s great that we now have a profit sharing scheme that the staff can benefit from. It feels like the right kind of recognition for the hard work that we’ve all put in, particularly during the pandemic when our roles were adapting quickly as the rules changed

“It’s really uncommon for schemes like this to exist in hospitality. I hope that the Gilmartin’s profit sharing scheme inspires other businesses to do the same.”