The Times reports that it has spoken to 12 former employees of the Kitchin Group, who told of how they experienced sexual harassment across the restaurants or were abused, denied food, water, lavatory breaks or proper rest during shifts of up to 18 hours.
Many claim to have lost significant amounts of weight and suffered mental health problems.
The reports follow accusations of abuse and bullying within the group that were published anonymously via an Instagram account.
In response to the allegations, representatives from the Kitchin Group released a statement confirming that two senior members of staff have been suspended while the claims are investigated.
Peter Southcott, managing director of the Kitchin Group, said: “Following allegations of unacceptable behaviour, two senior members of staff have been suspended whilst these claims are fully and independently investigated. We will not hesitate to take whatever action may be necessary.”
The Edinburgh-based Kitchin Group operates a portfolio that includes the Michelin-starred The Kitchin restaurant in Leith; the Scran & Scallie and Southside Scran restaurants, both of which are also located in the Scottish capital; and The Bonnie Badger restaurant with rooms in Gullane.
In a statement, Tom Kitchin said: “Top kitchens the world over can be high-pressure, frenetic and challenging environments where emotions often run high. However, the exacting standards of our food and service must be matched by the standards of behaviour in our kitchens and wider operations.
“In the last few years, the feedback from our team members underlines the significant strides we’ve taken to improve what had often been a traditional culture in our kitchens, but we have more to do.
“Where we have fallen short, we will address it and remedy it. That will be our clear priority in the weeks, months and years ahead.”
BigHospitality has contacted the Kitchin Group for further comment.