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Hospitality begins right at home for Inverness BID city centre star Cru

By Features Reporter

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Scott Murray, managing director, Cru Holdings. Picture: James Mackenzie
Scott Murray, managing director, Cru Holdings. Picture: James Mackenzie

Inverness city centre is renowned for its hospitality, from great pubs and bars to fantastic eateries that showcase our wonderful natural larder.

But it’s also vital to our local economy, providing employment and career opportunities too.

This week’s Inverness BID city centre star is Cru Holdings which operates several hospitality venues across the city and Highlands, and Murray Travel which is celebrating its eighth anniversary.

Cru were the first hospitality group in the Highlands to become accredited under the Real Living Wage scheme in 2021.

In Inverness it operates Bar One, Scotch & Rye, The Keg, Prime, The Wee Bar, The Whitehouse, as well as Murray Travel on Strothers Lane, and in Nairn, The Classroom.

The wellbeing of staff is a top priority. As well as giving them the real living wage, Cru offers enhanced benefits and guarantees a maximum working week to ensure everyone has the chance for some much-needed downtime.

Managing director Scott Murray told us about Cru…

Q. Tell us about you

A. Cru Holdings is a family business, which started in the Highland capital in 2009 with our first cocktail bar, Bar One. Since then we have opened six new venues and have expanded with an award-winning travel agency with branches in the city centre, Elgin, and my hometown of Forres, with another due to open in my current town of Nairn next year. We also operate the MYXD cocktail brand which was started during Covid and now has expanded from solely home delivery to wholesale where you will find us on the back bar of hotels such as Raddison.

Q. What have you got in store for customers over the festive season?

A. We always launch a Black Friday campaign as well as experience vouchers which can all be found on our website. These really do offer exceptional value for money and can be just the treat to get you through the cold, dark winter months. We have also launched a pensioners menu at selected venues, as well as great value two-course meals and our Sunday roasts. Our new venue will also be opening on December 16 where Bar One currently is. We will also be giving away a holiday on Christmas Day (keep an eye on our Facebook page) where we will be drawing a lucky winner live from Times Square in New York.

Q. Why is it great to work for Cru?

A. We try to ensure that all bases are covered. As well as being a living wage employer, our wellbeing and benefits package is truly unique to the city centre as far as I know. Things like a guaranteed birthday off, huge discounts on food and drink, and holidays, as well as interest-free loans all set to enhance the packages our team can enjoy.

Q. Why is investing in staff and fair work important?

A. In today’s climate, getting the right team is a challenge. It’s important to ensure that the team is coherent, and the only way to achieve that is by treating everyone fairly, and ensuring they are trained well. That creates a happy workplace which is then experienced by the customers, who return again and again. It’s a circular economy that begins with the wellbeing of the team.

Q. Why is Inverness city centre a great place to eat and drink out in?

A. I think the availability of great quality produce on our doorstep really allows Inverness to showcase the very best of what the Highlands has to offer. Put in the hands of some incredible chefs only serves to enhance that experience. Highland hospitality plays its part too – I genuinely believe we are naturally more hospitable than other cities perhaps are, and this really comes through.

Q. Why is the Inverness city centre gift card the perfect present?

A. It gives such a huge element of choice to the user, and makes for an easy gift (if like me you always forget to buy until Christmas Eve) – this way you can guarantee your efforts won’t be regifted or end up in a raffle down the line, and the recipient can use it on whatever makes them happy. Lets not forget the cost of living issues – which means that a £50 gift card could be spent on essentials rather than a gift that isn’t really needed. Along with this, it ensures that the money is being kept local which is hugely important to ensure businesses can continue to trade in the current climate.

Inverness City Centre Gift Card.
Inverness City Centre Gift Card.

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