Family firm eyes further expansion

Training facility created as Cawley group continues to grow

Duck Bay
Cawley Hotels & Restaurants refurbished Duck Bay during lockdown.

INDEPENDENT multiple operator Cawley Hotels & Restaurants is set to launch a new group training facility and production kitchen at its former retail outlet in Gartocharn.

The family owned and run group, which counts Duck Bay at Loch Lomond, River House in Stirling and Coast in Langbank among its outlets, is currently transforming its House of Darrach venue into the new facility.

The property, which was originally the family’s first Hungry Monk venue before being overhauled and relaunched as the House of Darrach retail and restaurant destination around ten years ago, will include a bar for delivering training in drinks and coffee and a mock restaurant area for service training.

The former outlet’s kitchen will become a group production kitchen overseen by the Cawley group’s executive chef Craig Hogarth, with refrigerated vans set to deliver goods to each outlet. There will also be a storage facility and a group meeting and events space.

The training and production facilities will join an already-established new head office and central reservations function on the upper floor of the property.

Stuart King, group manager of Cawley Hotels & Restaurants, said the move is a natural step for the company.

“With the business growing we had to expand head office; we outgrew the office at Duck Bay,” he said.

“The training area will be great. And having a central production kitchen will streamline things and give us greater control and consistency.”

The creation of the new facility at Gartocharn comes as the group is carrying out a root and branch refurbishment of its former Loch House venue in Lochwinnoch.

Due to open next spring, the yet-to-be-named venue will be completely rebranded with an “exciting new concept” and a contemporary new look.

“It’s a big refurb; it will have been closed for the best part of six months,” said Stuart.

“It’s a full rebrand – a new name, a new identity and it will pull in a whole new market.”

The Lochwinnoch project follows a refurbishment of Duck Bay during lockdown, and comes as the company gears up for a busy couple of months – apart from Christmas Day when it will continue its tradition of the past 20 years and close the venues to give staff the day off.

“It’s a great way to thank staff for all their hard work, to give them the most important day of the year off with their families,” said Stuart.

“It’s been busy; business has been great since we reopened.

“And we’re on the lookout for another outlet; it’s got to be the right outlet for us, we’re not going to expand for the sake of it.

“It’s exciting; we’ve got a lot going on.”