New lease of life for hotel after Business Gateway helps secure land for expansion
A boutique hotel has been able to develop nearby land into outdoor dining, and increased their capacity by 25%, after Business Gateway helped the owners secure funding and put the operational systems required for the expansion in place.
The Eglinton Arms is a 34-bed hotel based in Eaglesham, Renfrewshire and was originally a coaching inn, built in 1834. Following renovations and investment, the prestigious hotel now boasts banqueting facilities and a popular all-day restaurant.
After initially closing in March 2020, the hotel reopened in July 2020 for essential workers but was significantly impacted by the pandemic. To respond to these challenges, the Eglinton Arms team identified an opportunity to develop the land next to the hotel and transform this into an outdoor dining area and beer garden that could sit up to 80 people. Operations director Tuathal Breheny approached Business Gateway for support to make this a reality.
Through Business Gateway, Tuathal was able to access 1:1 support from a business adviser who was able to help with the business plan, and provide advice about funding options, helping the business secure over £9,000 from the European Regional Development Fund. Business Gateway also assisted with the long-term strategy and planning to ensure the business was best placed for future growth.
Tuathal also used Business Gateway’s free Research Service to access market research reports, company reports and credit checks as well as information about the local demographics. This information further bolstered their business plan and helped make the case for planning permission.
The lease was approved in February 2021, and work on the new dining area started in March. The business anticipates this expanded dining area will eventually help bring in a further £250,000 of additional sales per year, ensuring both their survival and growth following the pandemic.
Tuathal said, “Like many in hospitality, we knew that we had to adapt quickly to the pandemic, and for us, the lack of outdoor dining was a significant challenge and limited our ability to survive the crisis. Fortunately, we were able to secure the lease for the nearby land, and by working with Business Gateway and East Renfrewshire Council, we were able to take our concept forward and make it a reality.”
Tuathal also accessed support through DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme, delivered by Business Gateway. This allowed the team to undertake a review of their current systems and technology to identify what would be needed to ensure employees could take orders and payments in the new space. DigitalBoost support then helped implement a range of upgrades which included changes to the till system, extending the WiFi connection outdoors and ensuring the new systems were compatible with the rest of the business.
Tuathal said: “We knew there was an opportunity to expand our business with the new dining area, but for this to happen, we had to invest and upgrade in our point-of-sale technology, ensuring staff could take orders and payment regardless of where they were on site. The DigitalBoost programme helped us identify and implement what we needed to do, ensuring efficiency across our entire business.
“Our business is in a strong position for growth, and the dining area has been well received by customers. While we are thankful many of the restrictions required by the pandemic have been lifted, this is a space that will be enjoyed long into the future.”
Colin McNally, Business Gateway adviser, said, “Tuathal and the team had a vision for how to adapt to the pandemic, but needed support on the logistics required for this to materialise. By working with Business Gateway and our local authority partners, this business has received the targeted help needed to expand and increase their profitability. While initially a response to the pandemic, I am confident this new offering will help the Eglington Arms grow, giving customers a new space to enjoy the high-quality hospitality offered by Tuathal and the team.”