A pair of restaurant owners in Renfrewshire have told of their hopes and fears as they prepare for the year ahead.

Lio Pierotti, owner of the Piccolo Mondo, in Renfrew, said a major refurbishment had helped give his business a much-needed boost.

He told The Gazette: "We've had to speculate to accumulate because if you stand still in this industry, then the only way is backwards really.

"Overall it's been a good year, but we are still faced with the energy costs going up.

"Nothing is getting cheaper, so we've tried our very best to keep things as low as possible this year and not pass on any costs to the customers."

The Gazette:

Indrit Mataj, owner of Trattoria Roma, in Johnstone, said his business had also been hit by utility costs continuing to rise this year.

He said: "We're now making around half the profit we used to make, as gas, electricity and wages are all up.

"We could put the prices up, but if people can't afford it then they're not going to come and we don't want to push our customers away.

"Another big challenge is finding staff because a lot of people now only want to work a few days a week."

Lio believes more investment in Renfrew town centre would help attract new customers to his business.

He said: "There's been a good bit of money spent on regeneration in Paisley and I don't really see any money being spent here.

"Renfrew is a great wee town but I do think it needs some investment to get it moving in the right direction.

"We get a lot of customers complaining about the lack of parking available, so I think there's a few things that are putting customers off coming into the town."

The Gazette:

Despite these challenges, both restaurant owners are determined to keep their businesses afloat during 2024.

Indrit said: "While I still walk, I'm never going to shut my business.

"I've been here 20 years of my life and it's very personal to me, because both me and my wife work here.

"Our wee boy loves the place and the customers are our friends."

Lio added: "We're trying to expand our customer base as much as possible while keeping things fresh for our regular customers.

"We're looking forward to the year ahead and we'll hopefully will have some nice events planned here for our 50 year anniversary, with a new menu to coincide with that."