A Forres butcher has got little to beef about despite losing a large chunk of his business to the coronavirus lockdown.
Jock Gibson who owns and runs Macbeth’s on Tolbooth Street has seen one half of his business dry up following the Government’s edict to stay at home yet the other half is rocketing.
Macbeth’s supplies hotels and restaurants with wholesale meat products, largely from his family farm at Edinvale, Dallas. It also has an established mail-order business, where customers can order online for chilled delivery.
It is this latter part of the business which has seen a ten-times-plus increase in trade.
Jock explained: “The hotel and restaurant supply part of the business has ‘evaporated’, and that accounts for around 80% of our trade at this time of the year.
“Our business has changed entirely to local and national deliveries to private households as well as hamper fulfilment for another company. We are doing a month’s online business every two to three days and we are seeing a huge increase in local custom.”
Meat for mail-order delivery is butchered and packed in Tolbooth Street, and all four staff have been retained to cope with the demand.
“Staff morale is really good at the moment and we have not furloughed any workers,” said Jock.
Down on the farm, there has been little change.
“Edinvale has largely carried on as before but with more emphasis on biosecurity and social distancing,” said Jock.
“We have had to increase the amount of beef available to the shop from the farm to meet new demand. Our ability to use the whole carcass efficiently has also increased as we are seeing a shift from steaks to mince and stew cuts.”
Jock admitted the lockdown has been good for his business, and it has led directly to collaborations with other businesses, for example, Cluny Bank in Forres and 112 On The Brae in Nairn, but he said it has been a very mixed picture for others.
“I really feel for the ones that have had to close temporarily. It must be soul-destroying and I hope that they get the support required to see them thrive at the end of this and bring vibrancy back to Forres.
“If the lockdown continues, I would worry about the long term future of our foodservice and wholesale business but hopefully we will continue to see the fantastic customer support that we have had from local and national customers.”