The owner of a fine dining establishment in Broughty Ferry has been forced to change its approach due to the rising costs of living.
Tayberry will only offer tasting menus for evening service now.
The decision came after owner Adam Newth, 31, realised he would be unable to continue operating his restaurant with an a la carte offering due to people potentially spending less in his venue.
With the demand for evening taster menus increasing over the years, he said it was the most logical choice to ensure the quality of Tayberry’s dishes would remain.
Adam has felt the pinch of rising costs across his entire business from electricity to staffing. This has forced him to overhaul his business model almost overnight.
Open from Wednesday to Saturday, between 6pm and 9pm a total of 36 covers can dine at the venue which will now only offer its six course menu (£69 per person) in the evenings.
This menu is seasonal and based on local produce available. It changes every six to eight weeks.
The main reason Adam has moved to only offering a tasting menu only during the evening is that it makes the kitchen more manageable and helps keep costs down.
Food waste can also be monitored better and over ordering is less likely as there’s a smaller quantity of set items purchased.
He is also unwilling to compromise on the quality of produce he serves up as his restaurant has become synonymous with serving the best,
He said: “We’ve always offered tasting menus and try to bring fine dining to the Dundee area.
“It is much more manageable in the kitchen, which means we can get every dish the best we can make it, and focus on quality and source of ingredients.
“We are focused on Scottish produce and we don’t want to move away from that – it is one of our selling points. People know they are getting quality products.
“Many places are trying to keep the costs the same but that affects the quality and I’m not willing to do that.
“People need to have an understanding that if you still want quality and you want us to provide that, it is going to come at a bit of a cost.”
Prices have doubled
Adam described the current situation as “the perfect storm”. With prices doubling and the increased pressures that come with the cost of living crisis, he says it is one way to “cripple a business”.
“Five years ago, you would get a case of butter for £30. Now it is around £70.
“When you are in a restaurant the first thing you get when you sit down is bread and butter, and that’s free.
“I am going through a case a week so that is £70 I am giving away every week. And restaurants need to make ends meet.”
As a result of such drastic changes, Adam’s ability to hire and retain staff is questioned and redundancies may be required to keep the business afloat, although he hopes it doesn’t come to that.
He said: “Our costs have doubled. We are normally at £700 a month for electricity and now we are at £1,400.
“We employ students as part-time waiting staff and that £700 is their wage. I can’t afford that now because of the costs.
“We haven’t made redundancies yet, but it is not off the table if the business needs to survive.”
The tasting menu
For those looking to book a tasting menu experience they can expect canapes, amuse bouche, starter, fish course, main, cheese and dessert.
The idea behind the menu is to surprise customers and have them try something they might not have had before.
Dishes for the current menu include lamb rump and braised lamb belly sourced from Yorkes of Dundee, east coast brown crab potato salad with shoe string potato fries, and a sea buckthorn curd with a sponge base served with crab apple and buckthorn sorbet and finished with lemon meringues.
Although there is now not an a la carte option in the evenings, Tayberry still caters for all dietary requirements such as dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian.
The three-course a la carte menu for lunch is available for a lighter offering, as is the tasting menu.
By scaling down the size of dishes with the tasting experience, it reduces food shortages and ensures a certain amount of spend per customer.
It also combats the no-shows issue facing restaurant and will help reduce the money restaurants can lose as a result.
“Scaling down the size of the menu guarantees these products are available and that we can deliver them,” Adam said.
“It also guarantees us spend from a sustainable business point of view to help cover costs and make a profit.
“If diners can’t make it we ask that they please let us know so we can give their table to walk-ins so that we don’t lose a £200 to £300 bill.”