RESTAURANT staff at Greenock's Beacon Arts Centre have been served their notice under plans to close it down.

The venue's Bistro bar and kitchen is under threat as bosses explore ways to cut costs and turn a profit after recent financial troubles.

Theatre management stress that no final decision has been made about the future of the bistro and up to five staff whose jobs are on the line - but admitted that the catering side of the business continues to lose money and changes must be made.

Affected employees were dealt the blow after being called to a meeting that lasted just 10 minutes.

A period of consultation is now under way with those staff to be spoken to individually on Tuesday.

Proposals to drastically cut back or even shut the bistro down altogether follow on from the recent cashflow problems at the venue which led to Inverclyde Council stepping in and bringing forward a scheduled payment to help keep the doors open.

New chairman Alex Reedijk, who has been brought in to help turn the business around, said: "As many of your readers will be aware, the Beacon Arts Centre, whilst being much loved and frequented by the residents of Inverclyde, nevertheless has a few residual challenges to be resolved.

"The Bistro has consistently run at a loss since the Beacon opened despite the quality of the offering. "However, as we move forward seeking the best outcome for the Beacon, it is only right that we actively explore all possible options for sustained success in the future.

"So, as part of this, we have opened consultations with a small number of staff whose jobs may be at risk of redundancy if the Bistro is to close.

"To be clear, no-one has been told that they are losing their jobs."

In March, the Tele revealed how the Beacon was facing a huge cash crisis which threatened its very existence.

Following emergency talks with the council, the local authority brought forward a scheduled £200,000 payment to allow the charitable organisation to continue trading.

The cash advance was made on the basis that drastic action is taken to address the poor financial performance, which has been an ongoing problem since the Beacon opened in 2013.

Part of the rescue plan included a mass exodus of directors at board level and the introduction of Scottish Opera boss Mr Reedijk - who has a glowing track record for reviving ailing arts organisations - as chairman.

Former chief executive, Sean Paul O'Hare, who was suspended pending an internal investigation, has also since left the organisation.