News Briefs


Next review date for lifting lockdown measures in Scotland (or not) is 18th June.

Skye’s Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant have received a six-figure CBIL’s loan from Bank of Scotland following the fall-out from the current pandemic which saw 1,000 bookings cancel. Now Director Isabella Macdonald says, “Thanks to Bank of Scotland we’ve been given the breathing space needed to allow us to pay our suppliers and overheads, and we now look forward to welcoming our team and guests back when the restrictions are eased.”

The Bruce Group Scotland has got the green light from Edinburgh City Council to turn the venue which houses The Cow Shed, Bar Bados, and Subway nightclub in the cities Cowgate into a 26-bedroomed boutique hotel, bar/restaurant, and function room. The hotel, when completed will “have a Scottish feel to them with a modern twist”.

The owners of Glasgows’ Kimpton Blythswood Hotel, IHG, have told staff that redundancies are likely across its estate which also includes Edinburgh’s The Kimpton Charlotte Square, The George and the Crowne Plaza. Staff are currently in a Collective consultation. It is believed to be the first major hotel in Scotland to announce redundancies but it expected that more will follow shortly. It has been suggested that a third or more of hotel staff could be laid off between now and the end of July.

Aberdeen’s PB Devco has partnered with local businesses to create a communal store in what was formerly a cafe in the city. It is now a takeaway but also offers goods from local firms including Bannerman Butchers, Mackie’s of Scotland and Bakery Lane.

The Black Bull Inn in Mid-Calder reached out to its customers with a Crowdfunding initiative to help it survive during Covid-19 and it just shows you how popular owners are Lynda and Donald McLauchlan are. The crowdfunder reached 75% of its £20K target in just a week. The enterprising duo offered monetary vouchers which could be purchased or people could donate. For every £1K raised they also donated a 3-course meal for 2 to a key worker. Well done.

Christie & Co have completed the sale of The Royal Dunkeld Hotel in Dunkeld. The hotel, which has been owned by Neil Menzies since 1999, has 35 letting bedrooms, 10 in an annex, a restaurant and bistro and bar, and several small function rooms. The new owner is Thomas Melville who also owns the Loch Long Hotel and The Grey Gull Hotel.

Some of the biggest names in tourism and hospitality across the North Highlands, North Coast 500, Argyll and the Isle of Skye are stepping up their campaign for urgent action from the First Minister to help reopen businesses this summer, protect the industry and save jobs before it is too late. Coordinated by David Whiteford OBE, Chair of the North Highland Initiative, and Tanja Lister from The Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland, 75 tourism and hospitality business leaders have once again written to the First Minister demanding: Clarity on timelines for reopening businesses of all types and workable social distancing protocols for tourism and hospitality venues.

Cask Trade, a London-based business selling whisky by the cask, has reported a huge increase in demand. Owner of Cask Trade, Simon Aron, says casks of whisky are fast becoming the investment choice for people looking for a less uncertain alternative. “Whisky is one of the only assets that appreciates the older it gets and it is still completely detached to financial markets, which makes it a safe haven for investors.” Rare Whisky has grown in value the most over the last 10 years at +564% and increased by +5% in the past 12 months and states casks remained in huge demand. By comparison, cars have seen an increase of 194%, art by 141% and wine by 120%.

Tennent’s has revealed details of its lockdown trading came as it posted a 12.1% rise in pre-tax profits for the year to 29 February, to 1£92.8 million for the year to February 29. Tennent’s owner C&C has revealed it is losing the equivalent of £6.2 million a month while pubs and restaurants are closed amid the coronavirus crisis.

Signature Group’s Morningside venue ‘McLarens on the Corner’ has now been transformed into a community hub for Edinburgh foodies to enjoy restaurant-quality dining, street food, cocktails and craft ale but at home. The new ‘McLarens Market Corner’ offers Neapolitan Pizza and Cold Town Beer from Cold Town House in the Grassmarket, street food from The Huxley on Rutland Street and cocktails from Copper Blossom on George Street. 

Owner of Signature Group, Nic Wood, said, “We’re really excited to be bringing our innovative new home dining concept to the Morningside community and to foodies across the capital. 

 “We’ve had to get creative and adapt to the new social distancing rules. We think McLarens Market Corner offers people a fun way to pick up a range of fine dining menus, street food, cocktails and craft ale all in one handy location. We’ve worked hard to take what we think is some of Signature Group’s best food and drink and bring it into the homes of our customers. 

The inaugural Scottish Rum Festival due to launch at The Merchants’ Hall in Edinburgh this summer will now be a virtual event. The online event will be staged on Friday 24th July for trade

delegates and Saturday 25th July for public ticket holders The festival will also raise money for The BEN. Festival tasting packs will be sent to ticket holders and will feature an expertly curated selection of rums. Rums including VS Distillers, Brewdog Distilling Co., Matugga Distillers, Wester Spirit Co., Ninefold Distillery, Glasgow Distillery Co., Rumburra Scotland, Spirit of Glasgow and Deeside Distillery. Public tickets are priced at £34.95 and are now available online at: £5 from the sale of each ticket will be donated to The BEN.

Greece’s bars, pubs and restaurants re-opened on May 25, and Italy has lifted restrictions on international arrivals. New Zealand will go to no social distancing from next week and also will allow large events, but its borders are not open.

Over 67% of the tourism firms on the iconic North Coast 500 (NC500) are set to re-open as soon as the go-ahead is given by the Scottish Government, according to a new coronavirus business impact survey. A record 185 tourism businesses from across Inverness-shire, the Black Isle, Easter Ross, Wester Ross, Sutherland and Caithness responded to the NC500 survey between 14th and 26th May. Accommodation providers, food and drink outlets, retail operators, outdoor and visitor attractions hope that the easing of lockdown measures in Scotland within the coming weeks will mean that the North Highlands could see a staycation boom before the end of this year’s summer season. A further 18 % of respondents hope to re-open in 2021.

Further research from Barclays suggests Millennials can’t wait to get a break from home cooking and are looking forward to getting back to the pub. One in three plan to spend their money on eating out (36%) and getting a haircut (36 %) within the first month of lockdown restrictions enabling them to do so.

Also high on the list of activities people are planning to spend their money on first are a family day out (26 %), going to the pub (23 %) and booking a holiday (21%). When asked what they are most looking forward to as lockdown starts to ease, almost half of the millennials (48 %) said visiting family and over a third (37%) said seeing friends. Despite there being no end in sight for international travel restrictions, a quarter (25%) are excited to jet off on holiday and 23 % simply cannot wait to have the freedom to do what they want.

Ondine, the Edinburgh seafood restaurant owned by Chef Roy Brett and wife Karin, has secured a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan from Barclays.  Since closing due to Covid-19 the couple have been running an at-home service.

Stuart Brown, head of branch and business banking, Scotland at Barclays UK, commented, “Ondine was one of the thousands of restaurants across the UK that had to effectively shut their doors overnight because of the lockdown. By moving quickly to get an at-home service in place they have managed to secure an ongoing revenue stream and this Bounce Back Loan will provide additional essential financial support to meet business-critical costs. ”





Contact us

Upper Floor Finnieston House 1 The Stables Yard 1103 Argyle Street Glasgow G3 8ND
0141 221 6965