McIntyre’s mission to turn Scots village into a ‘dining destination’  

A middle aged man stands with group of younger people in restaurant uniforms behind him
Danny McIntyre and the staff team at Punto, Kilmacolm

IN the wake of a successful career in recruitment, Paisley-born entrepreneur Danny McIntyre has found his second calling in hospitality, and is now running Punto, an Italian kitchen and wine bar in the heart of Kilmacolm.

Danny, 65, founded the multi-million-pound firm Primestaff in 1993, ultimately selling up to management in 2018 following 25 years at the helm. After a year out travelling the world, he took an operational role with hospitality group Yes To All, helping it successfully navigate recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But it was a cancer diagnosis that inspired him to have one last go at running a business of his own.

Fortunately, the disease was caught at an early stage, with McIntyre undergoing radiotherapy treatment at the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow. Emerging from that experience, he resolved to stay busy, and the perfect opportunity arrived in his home village, where the owners of Punto wanted to sell.

Danny McIntyre
Danny McIntyre

“I wouldn’t have done this before the cancer. I was lucky to catch it so early, and I met plenty of people who weren’t during my treatment.

“It made me realise that I wanted to be busy. I needed a project that would have me more involved with people – that’s the part I loved most at Primestaff, and Yes To All – working with people every day and building a successful business around them.”

McIntyre, supported by his wife Christine, took over the 42-seater restaurant in March this year, and feels he has already made his mark, with fully booked weekends, village regulars returning and visitors making the trip from surrounding towns and villages, and Glasgow – just 30 minutes away.

A plate of pasta with a glass of wine behind
Punto specialises in Italian food

McIntyre, a well-known member of the Kilmacolm community, is on-site hosting almost every day, and says an important move has been to boost day-time trade by creating an environment welcoming to local community groups and older generations in the village, with accessible lunch menus and pricing that creates all-day custom.

He said: “Kilmacolm was crying out for another restaurant that is also a hub of the community, a place where people can meet friends, family, community groups, or business contacts, and that provides great quality food and drinks on their doorstep so they don’t have to travel. It sounds simple, but it still needs to be delivered well.

“It’s about more than that, though. Kilmacolm is a gem that so many people in Glasgow are yet to discover. The right restaurant can help make it a dining destination and that’s a big part of what we’re aiming for at Punto. We believe we’ve added something new and exciting to the mix – and more competition drives standards but also gives more people a reason to visit.

An espresso martini
Punto has a classic Italian cocktail offering

“We want to provide an alternative to Glasgow – for locals but also people from the city. We know people in the village won’t always dine here, but when they do, they can enjoy a lovely meal. The same goes to visitors, it’s a chance to enjoy a lovely meal in new surroundings, and take in one of the west of Scotland’s most beautiful locations.”

One of McIntyre’s first moves was to promote young chef Jamie Wade, who learned his craft at restaurants including Celinos, Mar Hall, and Ingliston Estate and Country Club, to lead the kitchen. It’s the 26-year-old’s first head chef role, and he has already seized the opportunity delivering new lunch and evening menus featuring fresh pizzas, pasta, and classic Italian dishes, as well as weekly specials to delight diners.

Chef Jamie Wade
Chef Jamie Wade

McIntyre has also been able to fill all 23 kitchen and floor roles at Punto, led by front-of-house manager Toni MacAllister, through a mix of retained staff from previous owners, and also by providing opportunities for locals including young people in the village.

He said: “I’m aware staffing challenges are affecting the industry, but we honestly haven’t felt them – perhaps it’s my background! We want to provide people with a platform to progress their career in hospitality, while also creating opportunities for young people in need of work as they study or find their feet in life.

“It’s about building a reputation for being a good place to work, having a positive culture, and providing opportunities people want. We seem to have found the right formula.”

He added: “I understand that going back to work wouldn’t be what everybody would do in my situation, but I feel lucky I’m still able to seize opportunities like this. My advice to anybody is get yourself checked out – no matter how small the issue. There’s no sense in dying of embarrassment.”