Colin Smith is Chief Executive of the Scottish Wholesale Association.
Bringing over 20 years’ experience in wholesaling and retailing, Colin works to help the wholesale industry become stronger and louder, by providing a voice for the Scottish Food, Drink and Allied trades.
- What is the best thing about your current job or role in the industry?
The diverse nature of the role, the fantastic people, and the close bond amongst our membership. You go from dealing with food and drink supply issues one day to talking about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles the next. Every day is different and exciting.
- What was your first job in the hospitality/foodservice or tourism industry?
I come from a line of family bakers and was always involved in the bakery from a very young age. When the bakery closed, I got a job at Bellevue Cash & Carry in Edinburgh as part of my Napier University Business Studies degree. With the exception of four years when I was running my own retail convenience store, I’ve been in the wholesale industry ever since.
- Who has been your biggest influence during your career?
I can’t say that there has been one single person. There have been several people throughout my career, from my parents who instilled my great work ethic, to previous bosses who taught me about business and who continue to support and mentor me throughout my career.
- What key piece of advice would you give the future generation of hospitality professionals?
Never underestimate the power you have in being part of the food and drink industry! Possibilities are endless, you can go nearly anywhere and in any direction. It can take you to places you’ll only dream of, or keep you as close to home as you want. The industry is diverse but so too are the people. It brings people together and helps you speak the same language.
- What is your favourite restaurant or type of food?
It’s probably better asking what food I don’t like and even then it’s only mussels and oysters…and insects. If I had to choose, today my food of choice would be Indian and Thai.
- What is your favourite dish?
Thai Gaeng Daeng or Chicken Biryani with a peshwari naan.
- What is your favourite drink?
A nice ice-cold beer with my Indian or Thai.
- What or who are you looking forward most to see or meet at ScotHot 23?
Meeting all the food and drink producers and discussing how the Scottish Wholesale Association can help train and educate them on wholesale as a route to market. Through our Delivering Growth Through Wholesale training programme, we can help give them access to Scotland’s 5,000 convenience stores and 30,000 hospitality, tourism and leisure outlets that our members supply on a weekly basis.