The owner of an iconic Isle of Man cafe has voiced concerns about a lack of support for the hospitality sector.

Vicky Cottier, who manages Victory Cafe at the Bungalow on the Mountain Road, says she has ‘lost faith in MHKs and government ministers’ and can’t understand why further help can’t be provided for the sector. Vicky, who posted the statement on Facebook, didn’t mince her words as she highlighted the challenges plaguing the business.

Her impassioned appeal comes as the busy TT period approaches, and the cafe are looking for a full-time kitchen person, but says ‘the reality of the matter is the cafe has only had two or three applicants in the past eight months’.

And replying to a comment on the post, Vicky said ‘I’ve never said this in public before, but I have lost faith in our MHKs and ministers’ and while ‘their intentions are really, really good, there seems to be nothing they can do’.

The scarcity of applicants, according to Vicky, is not an isolated issue but a systemic challenge plaguing the entire hospitality sector on the Isle of Man. She described it as a ‘churn industry’ mentality.

‘There are simply not enough people who work in hospitality’, the statement said.

‘I have so many friends in hospitality and we are all experiencing the same thing. I look at the job centre on a weekly basis. Those restaurants, cafes, hotels looking for chefs, cooks, kitchen porters are the same week in, week out.’

Amidst her reflections on the industry's plight, Vicky drew attention to the stark disparities between hospitality and other sectors, particularly regarding financial remuneration. ‘Hospitality business owners simply can't compete’, she stated, attributing the constricted profit margins to the inability to offer competitive salaries for the hard work and dedication of staff.

Expressing hope for potential governmental interventions, Vicky is appealing for measures such as VAT reduction or rebate systems to alleviate the financial burden on hospitality businesses.

However, government have responded to Vicky’s concerns, but said ‘at the present time there are no plans to make any changes to the terms of that agreement with the UK’

A government spokesperson added: ‘Looking long-term, the government is continuing to prioritise its long-term economic strategy, sustaining key sectors and supporting new growth.

‘The first year of the economic strategy saw the overall number of people employed grow by 700; in 2024-25 the intention is to sustain this pace of progress towards the goal of 1,800 new jobs filled by 2026.

 ‘Highlighted as a key feature of the Island Plan, a focus is being placed on increasing the number of economically active new residents, who can provide needed skills and investment into the island.

 ‘The Department for Enterprise is also currently working on the local economy strategy, which will involve identifying and exploring solutions to what businesses may perceive as being barriers to growth.’

Vicky says Victory Cafe would redirect any financial relief towards improving wages, believing that higher pay would attract individuals dissatisfied with their current employment situations.

Vicky concluded her statement with a reflection on the state of affairs. ‘My conclusion is the world is upside down’.

However, despite the continued struggled, she ensured customers near and far that they will ‘pull off TT’.

Given the Victory Cafe’s location, an abundance of people head to the Bungalow to watch the racing, and she said the cafe will make the fortnight great because ‘we will love meeting that challenge’, but it would be a ‘wee bit easier if we had that extra bit of muscle’.

The post led to a number of supportive comments from the public and other people and businesses in the industry.

Robinson’s Fresh Food’s said it hopes Business Isle of Man and Visit Isle of Man pick this up as both agencies are ‘there to help, support and listen to the industry’.

It added: ‘If we don’t have a viable and thriving hospitality sector we won’t be offering much to visitors, locals or attractive for people looking to relocate and grow residents for the island’.

Other local hospitality businesses shared similar views to Vicky’s posts in the comments, including Dovecote Tearooms and Gift Shop in Kirk Michael and Whistleshop Coffee Shop in Port Erin.