2021 predictions: Neil Morrison

Here’s what Neil Morrison, 
owner, Macgochans Tobermory, The Lochside in Bowmore, The Benleva in Drumnadrochit and co-owner of the Ben Nevis in Fort William had to say about 2021…

I think it’s going to be a write-off until Easter. We will tighten things in the meantime and then hit it hard then. A lot of the chat about things easing off in January and February has just given people false hope because there can be no possible decent business movement until the vaccine is rolled out widely. We have two venues in tier two and two in tier one and trade is down about 40 per cent across all the businesses and we are doing a lot more takeaway business than we’re doing in the units because customers still feel that they want to be on the safe side.

We had to close the Ben Nevis in Fort William because trade was so poor. It will remain closed until Easter and we are taking opportunity to give it a refurbishment. We are creating a balcony on the loch side and putting in three big lifts from the kitchen to improve service – it’s normally a busy busy unit. We created a whisky bar in it before this all started and we are now concentrating on the refurbishment of the restaurant.

It’s also been hard because seasonally we tend to cut staff back anyway but you are furloughing a lot of people that you need for the following year and it’s hard to know what to do for the best because you also want to look after your people.