‘If all goes well, we could generate a lot of food and do a lot of good for community’

By Ian Marland at

An awarding-winning restaurant which was forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak is keeping staff on to cook free meals for the community.

The Gannet in Finnieston took the “heart-breaking decision” to shut at the weekend as the pandemic took hold.

Co-owner Peter McKenna said he and his team had been left devastated.

Restaurant

The Gannet restaurant on Argyle Street. Photo: Google

But the staff have been determined to create a positive outcome out of adversity.

A crowdfunding page has been launched to buy supplies and equipment to set up a delivery service.

Peter and his restaurant manager will head out in a van to deliver chilled, packaged meals cooked by the restaurant’s chefs.

Everyone hopes the plan works out to avoid staff being laid off.

Peter said: “We opened in 2013, and last year was the best year yet.

‘Unbelievable’

“Everyone had worked so hard.

“We really hit a peak and to feel that the rug has been pulled from under us is unbelievable.”

He said: “To see a kitchen like that sitting empty at a time like this spurred us on to do this.

“We are going to reach out to our customer base and do a delivery model for those people.

“But for every meal bought, money goes into a meal for vulnerable groups in the community as well.

Chefs and staff in a group

The award-wining team at The Gannet. Photo: permission of The Gannet.

“If the crowdfunded isn’t popular and we can’t generate enough money to do that, hopefully we will be able to generate enough money through the other.”

Peter and his 23 staff hope the “two-pronged approach” is a winner.

They hope to serve the over 70’s in isolation, the financially vulnerable and people struggling.

The first meals are planned to be delivered on Saturday – just six days after the restaurant was forced to shut.

“We believe by having a two-pronged approach to this crisis situation we can keep some of our team earning a wage and make a real difference in our community.

“There is nothing worse than seeing a state of the art kitchen lying dormant when it could be put to good use.

“The money is need to buy the food, buy the containers, pay the chefs to prepare the food and to deliver the food.

“We believe by having a two-pronged approach to this crisis situation we can keep some of our team earning a wage and make a real difference in our community”

Peter McKenna

“It’s not for profit.

‘This is not for customers – this is just for the community, to be given out for free.

“I am working with some of the community leaders locally and councillors to pinpoint where it is best to drop the food.

“We are cooking it fresh here, using really good ingredients and our same supply chain that we always use.”

Peter and The Gannet are now appealing for as many people as possible to donate.

‘Comfort’

“If it all goes well we could be generating a lot of food and be doing a lot of good in the community.

“What we are giving away is not substandard, it is going to be the same as we usually cook.

“We want people to have a bit of comfort at this time.”

* The crowdfunding page can be found here.