As the hospitality industry faces its toughest ever challenge, a Perthshire Hotel has revealed the human stories behind some of its longest serving homegrown Scots employees.

Confident their hotel will survive as a centre of the local community, the three individuals at The Red House Hotel in Coupar Angus, the town’s last surviving hotel, absolutely love what they do.


With more than sixty seven years service between them, Assistant Manager, Sarah Cooper (24 years), Chef, George Arnott (26 years) and Front of House, Carol Anne Key (27 years) want young Scots to see hospitality as a sector which can provide a rewarding, lifelong career, and not as the low paid, low prospect industry as which it can sometimes be painted.




All local to Perthshire and Tayside, the trio have come together to pay tribute to Hotel owner Alan Bannerman and his family, who are celebrating forty years of ownership of the hotel this year, and to thank their loyal customers who are supporting them at this difficult time. They’d like to inspire other local young people to consider entering the industry when better times return, citing the many highlights they have enjoyed over their long careers at the Red House.


“Even with the current Covid19 pandemic casting a cloud, we know we will get through this and are committed to looking after our customers, and to looking out for each other,” said Sarah Cooper. “It was a challenge to get all the new procedures up and running smoothly in the summer when we re-opened, as well as reassure guests and other staff, but now it’s second nature, and we’re all pulling together.”


Born and bred in Coupar Angus, Sarah Cooper joined the hospitality industry aged just thirteen, having initially worked part time at the Royal Hotel which was in Coupar Angus at the time. After school and college she joined The Red House Hotel.


“You are definitely made to feel part of the family here,” she said. “The friends that you work with become your second family due to the long hours we often work. We see a lot of regular faces, whether it’s in the bar, Sunday regulars, or golfers who stay from time to time. They all help us enjoy this job.”


“Alan is a great boss and deserved a much better 2020, our anniversary year, than what it has been for him, but we will celebrate properly when we can.” 


For both herself and Carol-Anne Key, a real highlight of their years at The Red House was winning the Scottish Golf Tourism Award for Best Small Hotel in 2017.


“We had a fantastic night at the Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews which definitely made all our hard work and attention to detail worth it,” said Sarah.


Born in Dundee and now living in Wolfhill, Carol-Anne actually had her wedding at The Red House Hotel, before joining the staff in November 1993. She first got interested in hospitality when she was a teenager working in York at her Great Aunt and Uncle’s family hotel.


Like Sarah, Carol-Anne is missing the friendly banter with residents, especially the golfing parties.


“I enjoyed meeting many sporting personalities over the years who came to speak at Sportsman Dinners, and met the bands Capercaillie and Wolfstone, who both stayed at the Hotel when playing gigs at Glamis Castle,” she said. “We’ve always been central here and have attracted a lot of different group, from walkers, to golfers, to day trippers.”


For chef George Arnott, work is just along the road as he too lives in Coupar Angus. He started as a seventeen year old in the kitchen at the Murray Park Hotel in Crieff where he’s originally from. Becoming Head Chef, he stayed there for nine years before joining The Belmont Arms in Meigle, and then The Red House Hotel.


A lover of all things gamey in the kitchen, he enjoys plucking and preparing pheasant, as well as making soups and rich casseroles – ideal comfort food as we come into winter!


Said Alan Bannerman; “My family and I are very grateful to have such loyal staff, they really have gone the extra mile over the past few months dealing with everything that has been thrown at us. They represent the very best of Scottish hospitality – passionate, hard working people who are vital to their community.”


“The fact they have all been here for so long means we must be doing something right,” added Alan. “Let’s hope this industry gets the help it deserves and attracts new blood in the coming months and years to aid a vibrant recovery.”


Red House Hotel


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