Food and drink distributors have asked their catering and hospitality customers to use government funding to settle outstanding invoices and help keep vital supply chains open.
In an open letter to 350,000 restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels and leisure facilities, members of the Scottish Wholesale Association and Federation of Wholesale Distributors say that although some of them are facing huge reductions in turnover since the closure of the hospitality sector, they are maintaining distribution networks to hospitals, care homes, critical workplaces and local stores, as well as takeaways and home delivery customers. They ask that catering businesses help by paying for stock purchased before the lockdown.
The wholesalers said: “The majority of your businesses are temporarily closed but when the time comes to re-open we will be there, along with our supplier partners, to work alongside you and help reignite our economy.”
Those businesses told by government to close their doors are receiving up to £25,000 in support from local authorities via the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, with payments beginning to be made this week.
The letter said: “We’re asking you to allocate some of that assistance you receive to paying your bills for the stock we’ve already delivered to you.
“The majority of our businesses are regional and independent, and whatever size they are, all have relationships with you which go far beyond delivery. If wholesalers can’t purchase new stock, you will lose more than that relationship – you will lose the flexibility, the knowledge of your businesses, and the diversity in your supply options that wholesalers offer.
“Paying outstanding invoices for goods you have already received will allow us to pay our suppliers and keep the wheels of this industry turning.”
The letter is signed by Julie Dunn, President SWA; Colin Smith, Chief Executive SWA; Coral Rose Chairman FWD; and James Bielby, Chief Executive FWD.