Stuart and Joanna Riddle have established a portfolio of pubs, restaurants, and hotels, and have just re-launched The Woodside Hotel, which became their third property when they bought it a year ago, and then gave it a £1.4m facelift. Now known simply as “The Woodside”, it is a 140-cover venue featuring a pub, coffee house, restaurant, terrace dining, 11 letting rooms and a function suite. Mr Riddle said: “We are unfeasibly optimistic because we have a unique proposition at The Woodside, this isn’t our first rodeo, and we have experience setting up this type of thing before.”
Indeed, the pair started their portfolio in 2013 when they embarked on a £700,000 development of the Stirling Arms to create pub, kitchen and coffee house The Riverside. That property, located in Dunblane, was overhauled to offer a 140-cover venue. In 2018, the couple invested £1.2m renovating The Allan Park Hotel in Stirling. It was renamed “The Allan Park – pub, restaurant & coffee house w/rooms” and transformed into a 120-cover venue with eight letting rooms. The three sites are expected to collectively turn over more than £3.5m with a workforce of nearly 100.
Mr Riddle had become head chef at the two-AA Rosette Dunain Park Country House Hotel aged 25 before holding the roles of menu development manager at the Spirit Group, catering controller at Bellhaven Pubs, and finally head of food development (premium) at Greene King.
As for how he and his wife branched out on their own, he has now said: “We felt we would like to be masters of our own destiny. We also felt that we could do it better than the nationals. At that point, I was 36, I handed back my company car keys and we created The Riverside.”
The pair have also now bought a building behind The Riverside called the Riverbank Mill – with plans to turn this into four suites for The Riverside and a luxury penthouse on the top floor, running in conjunction with The Riverside’s upper floors getting turned into seven bedrooms, “so we are very excited”, Mr Riddle stated.