Meet the MD: Ben Larsen of Glenmoriston Town House Hotel

Meet the MD: Ben Larsen of Glenmoriston Town House Hotel

Ben Larsen has worked his way up from kitchen porter to general manager of the Glenmoriston Town House Hotel. He took some time out of his busy schedule to fill us in on the day-to-day aspects of his job, from blending up delicious cocktails to ensuring every guest has a top quality stay.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I oversee the running of the hotel. From helping to create new innovative menus to blending up a new cocktail for our expansive list, to welcoming guests and overseeing wedding parties, my job is never dull. We are the largest whisky bar in the capital of the Highlands, and that is something to be celebrated. We serve local, fresh produce, delight guests with our hospitality and serve interesting drinks, and it’s my job to make sure that happens, every day.

What is it the company does?

The Glenmoriston Town House is a four star hotel and restaurant located on the banks of the iconic River Ness in the Highland Capital. We house the largest whisky bar in the Highland Capital, serving over 250 brands of whisky. We have an expansive cocktail list (50 cocktails to date) and always try to add to that. We can do bespoke, tailor made weddings, and can house business meeting and cater for private dining. Our in-house restaurant Contrast serves only local, fresh produce and we are currently getting set to launch new menus.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

The Glenmoriston Town House hotel has been in our family for 16 years. But I did not start at managerial level. I got my hands dirty and started in the hotel as KP 10 years ago. I have worked in all the departments at the hotel, from reception to behind the bar, to cleaning the rooms. I have a true understanding of the hotel and know what it takes to make it work.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

My team know I understand the business. I didn’t graduate from university and come in at the top. I worked from the bottom and climbed up the ladder, with guidance from my family. I think my peers respect me because I muck in and get my hands dirty. I do whatever needs to be done to ensure our guests have the best experience possible.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

I think aligning all the management team to my way of thinking. I embrace change and think diversification is necessary to bring business forward. Sometimes it can be easy to sit back and think that the name of a business will sell itself. I don’t think that way. I want to proactively make changes to make business come to me.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

With my role, weekends are out the window and for the past year, so are holidays. So I have to find time to enjoy my pursuits through the week. I love to socialise with friends to take my mind of work when I get the chance, but at the moment, that doesn’t happen very often due to it coming up to a very busy time of year.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually wanted to be a pilot, but I was diagnosed with a colour deficiency in my left eye, so I couldn’t pursue that any further. But to be honest, I think I’m exactly suited to where I am.

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

I like everything from the breakfast table setting to polished glasses to be 110%. I put 110% into my work and I expect staff to do the same. In this business, the devil is in the detail. My staff are brilliant and are really dedicated, but if any issues do come up, they are dealt with swiftly.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

The Glenmoriston is currently going through an image change, with some exciting announcements coming soon. I am keen to ensure our cocktail and whisky bar caters for the growing groups of young professionals who want to dine and socialise in a welcoming and relaxed environment. I also embrace new trends and hopefully add appropriate twists to food and drin . In five years time, I would like to see our ethos still firmly in place, serving fresh, locally produce – but I would like to see our overall hotel revenue increase significantly.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Know your business. I really believe that to lead people, you have to understand the business from top to bottom before you can understand what makes it tick. Setting goals is also important. I think it’s important at the beginning of the week to set goals and achieve them as the week goes on. The same goes for longer-term goals too. Meanwhile, don’t be scared of change and always listen to advice. listening to other people’s points of view is really important to help you make your own decisions and to grow.