• Currently celebrating their first anniversary, Drysdale & Company was launched in the midst of the second lockdown and has gone on to enjoy a fruitful first year. 

Stuart Drysdale, MRICS, Director of Drysdale & Company, said: “The local pub market continues to look positive as there will likely be a shift in working patterns with more people spending work and leisure time closer to home as many office based corporate workers have the option to work from home on a more frequent basis.”

This firm is the first specialist commercial property agency for the hospitality sector.

He continued: “Operators of good pubs with a quality food provision are looking for local destinations out-with the city centres, where they may continue to have a presence, but then supplement trade with businesses closer to residential areas,” added Stuart, who, despite the continuing effects of Covid-19 on the economy, has experienced a strong first year of trading in the business.

“The Scottish hospitality industry has never been short on innovation, coupled with new ideas, and whilst we find ourselves navigating a tricky period in the continued pandemic, there will always be opportunities to look at.”

Launched with the belief that it had a unique proposition for the hospitality sector, Drysdale & Company is a collaboration between Mr Drysdale an experienced commercial property expert and Alex McKie, Managing Director of The Fusion Group, which owns and runs numerous successful hospitality businesses across Scotland.

Multiple instructions from hotels to find fresh buyers for premium properties, including the Lake of Menteith Hotel and Poppies in Callander, have combined with referrals from the agency’s extensive network of professional advisers and business owners.

Following the extremely high levels of interest in the leasehold opportunity at Lake of Menteith, the firm has now concluded this deal, whilst it has also been busy successfully disposing of a twenty bedroom hotel in Edinburgh city centre to an international investor.

In the Public House sector the company has brokered the sale of Sheddens Inn in Glasgow, a traditional lock-up pub, to an experienced multiple operator in the summer of 2021, and taken offers for Jeanie Deans, a wet led pub in Edinburgh due to open in its new format in January 2022. Further news was the appointment of Brian Davidson, who was made a Non-Executive Director of The Fusion Group.

Whilst a separate company in its own right, Drysdale and Company enjoys a unique synergy with Fusion, which also runs a meetings and events company, with the two businesses supporting one another in contacts and shared experience.

The latest pub to hit the agency’s books, The Cross Keys in Alva, has offers in after only a week of marketing, presenting an excellent opportunity for a tenant to re-establish the unit.

On predictions for the self catering sector in 2022, Stuart said he believed it would continue to be strong “with the continued uncertainty in the travel sector most probably leading to high levels of Staycations throughout Scotland. Banks and commercial lenders will also probably look to fund purchases in this sector more readily than the full service hotel model”.

“It’s certainly been a rollercoaster of a first year for us,” he added, “but we are very fortunate to have been busy throughout, and to have hit the ground running with a fantastic network of contacts and support which has helped us achieve our objectives. We hope to be able to help many more hospitality businesses in 2022 as our sector is far from out of the woods. There are always opportunities if you access the right assistance.”

Stuart stressed the importance of hospitality businesses “understanding the value of their businesses.”

“We can provide quick, confidential and realistic advice, and in many cases will have a book of buyers who may be interested without having to go to the open market,” he said.

He backed this up by stating that he was frequently being asked to search for off-market opportunities for established, experienced operators.

Stuart outlined that three new opportunities were already on the horizon for 2022.

“We’re going to be selling a luxury lodge site in the North East of Scotland, coming to market early in the year, along with a mixed use hotel and lodge development site on the West Coast” he said.

“There’s also an established hospitality business for sale off market with profits close to £2 million. We’ve had numerous other high quality confidential instructions in the Borders and Perthshire, with asking prices from £800,000 to £4 million, so the market is definitely picking up.

“We hope to keep up 2021’s momentum and build on it with even higher profile clients.”

Alex McKie said: “My congratulations go to Stuart on a first trading year which has quickly seen Drysdale & Company become a one stop shop for hospitality businesses of all sizes looking to sell, or consider other practical solutions. It’s a professional, welcoming, and trusted source of advice in the industry with so much more to achieve in the coming years.”

Drysdale & Company give hospitality businesses the opportunity to present themselves to market in the best possible way, with the agency accessing top quality photography & videography, together with add-ons such as 3D walk throughs, property condition reports, and full compliance checking to increase the speed and efficiency of a business transaction.

Asset disposal is only one of the different solutions and pathways offered, with the agency also able to advise on and implement potential management services, accommodation booking services, and joint ventures and leasing, all designed to boost revenue and improve an operator’s profit margin. 

Ultimately, this can mean that perhaps a business does not need to sell up at all, or if they do, they will achieve a much better price,” said Stuart.

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