A GLASGOW restaurateur has voiced frustration about an apparent lack of strategic direction for the city’s hospitality trade, saying “the only way back” is outdoor dining.

Business owners say greater provision of outdoor spaces will be key to re-gaining public confidence in the safety of pubs and restaurants.

The council is said to be sitting on hundreds of temporary license applications for extended outdoor seating, which are due to expire this month.

However restaurateurs say there is a need for something more permanent because the pandemic is likely to lead to radical and permanent shifts in dining habits. The owner of Eusebi’s in the city’s west end, went so far as to say, “indoors is finished”.

Giovanna Eusebi believes the pandemic has created an opportunity to “reset” and create attractive, permanent, outdoor dining areas.She said this was particularly important given that Glasgow will be “on the world’s stage” during the Cop26 climate conference.

READ MORE: Eusebi's Glasgow wins court fight to stay open 

Plans have been unveiled to transform George Street in Edinburgh into a European-style boulevard over the next four years with a café culture zone for outside drinking and dining.

Ms Eusebi said she had been working with the owners of Crabshakk and Porter & Rye on a pilot idea for the Finnieston and Gibson Street areas and said owners had had constructive talks with the Chamber of Commerce.

She said: “For me it’s a bit frustrating because there doesn’t seem to be a road map to recovery but we are putting the gauntlet down and we really need the public and private sector to work together and bring our communities back to a safe environment.

HeraldScotland:

“Our only way back in the roadmap is outdoor dining because in-doors is finished. 

“We feel there is a great opportunity to reset and create beautiful spaces that connect to the bigger, greener spaces around us. So... terraces with indoor planting, urban kitchen gardens that work with the environment. Why not?

“The council is understandably a bit nervous about giving public space to private owners but we need something that is a bit more progressive - a space for the community to come back to and re-generate hospitality safely.

In October, the restaurant owner successfully challenged an enforcement noticed issued by Glasgow City Council requiring her to close.

The local authority said the business did not meet the criteria for an exemption that allowed cafes to remain open during temporary “circuit breaker” restrictions affecting the Central Belt.

READ MORE: Alcohol tax freeze 'huge relief' for businesses facing Brexit related coffee and wine cost rises 

However, she was able to prove that her business was primarily serving cafe food and coffees. 

She said: “In the university area around us, footfall has dropped by around 70%. We live in Glasgow with four seasons in one day so these spaces need to be flexible.

“It’s a big consideration, we are talking about businesses spending £20,000, so you really have to think of it as a permanent thing.”

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said it was keen to work with the council to help small businesses "find ways to use outdoor spaces to help them recover from the crisis.”

John Macleod, owner of Finnieston fish restaurant Crabshakk and an architect by trade has called for “greater flexibility and freedom” with licensing and has been drawing up his own plans for how outdoor spaces could look.

READ MORE: Glasgow house plan to rescue Finnieston's pubs and restaurants 

He said: “People like being outside, the pandemic has shown that, and there’s all these areas in Glasgow that could be used more.

“I’d be supportive of any initiative to make better use of space, encouraging an outdoors trading climate and a different cultural climate relating to food and drink, with Glasgow joining many other cities in that regard.”

HeraldScotland:

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “We will continue to look at any application or proposal for outdoor seating that we receive, and many application have already been submitted and processed.

"This is a procedure that is streamlined and well-used, and we will work with businesses to offer them every support and opportunity to operate in a way that helps their operation and staff. “