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Beefeater restaurant in Inverness to close doors to public to make space for extra hotel rooms at Premier Inn

By Philip Murray

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Loch Ness House which houses the Beefeater and Premier Inn hotel.
Loch Ness House which houses the Beefeater and Premier Inn hotel.

A popular Inverness restaurant is closing its doors and being partially converted into hotel rooms to meet tourist demand

The Beefeater, which is located at Loch Ness House on Glenurquhart Road, has been welcoming patrons for many years.

But it will close its doors to non-residents of the adjoining Premier Inn hotel after July 5.

Diners who were on the Beefeater’s mailing list were informed of the news via email. In it, the company said: "We are writing to let you know that we've announced plans to make changes at some of our restaurants, and unfortunately Loch Ness House, Beefeater in Inverness will be changing to a Premier Inn restaurant and will only service those staying in the hotel after July 5.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause.

"Although we can't welcome you here, did you know we have another restaurant - Inshes Gate, Brewers Fayre located in Inverness which is just a short drive away.

"As an apology for you local restaurant closing and to make it worth the drive, we have an exclusive offer for you of 50 per cent off Mains, valid between July 5 and August 31."

Loch Ness House Beefeater.
Loch Ness House Beefeater.

Whitbread, which owns the Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn brands, confirmed that the plan to close the Beefeater is part of a wider policy across the company to shutter 112 of its “lower-returning branded restaurants” and turn them into smaller integrated restaurants for the use of hotel guests only - with the other vacated space used to add “new higher returning hotel rooms to help meet strong demand”.

It said the 112 restaurants closing their doors had registered a combined £19 million loss before tax in the most recent financial year. However, it did not break this figure down further, or say what the profit or loss figures were for its Loch Ness House Beefeater.

The Brewers Fayre in Inshes is not affected by the closure.

Loch Ness House Beefeater.
Loch Ness House Beefeater.

It is not known if there were any job losses as a result of the Beefeater’s planned conversion to hotel dining only.

Asked for comment, a Whitbread spokesperson said: “After many years serving the community we can confirm Loch Ness House is closing its doors. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their support over the years and our amazing team members. The nearest Whitbread brand is now Inshes Gate Brewers Fayre.”

Despite the £19 million loss on the lower income restaurants on its books, the wider company increased its sales 13 per cent overall, and registered a 36 per cent rise in pre-tax profits - which reached £561 million.

Whitbread said that its Premier Inn UK arm remained the main engine of growth behind those profits, together with an improving performance from its growing portfolio of 59 Premier Inn hotels in Germany.

Loch Ness House Beefeater.
Loch Ness House Beefeater.

To build on the Premier Inn’s success, the firm launched an “Accelerating Growth Plan” aimed at adding 3500 new hotel rooms to Premier Inn’s UK pipeline. It was this push which spelt the end of the Beefeater as a restaurant for non-residents.

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