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How St Andrews hospitality businesses are preparing for The Open Championship

Julie Dalton, owner of Hatch and The Adamson.
Julie Dalton, owner of Hatch and The Adamson.

With the home of golf hosting the 150th Open Championship this year, hospitality businesses are teeing up for a busy week.

Taking place at St Andrews Old Course, the event will run from July 10 to 17 and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe.

With it being the oldest golf tournament in the world and around 290,000 fans set to attend, local hospitality businesses are gearing up for seven days of non-stop service.

Ahead of the event, The Courier has spoken with restaurant owners of some of the towns venues including MasterChef winner Dean Banks’ Haar, The Seafood Ristorante, The Adamson and Hatch, and the Dunvegan Bar & Restaurant to find out how preparations are going.

Showcasing Scottish hospitality

Hoping to showcase the Scottish flair of his restaurant Haar, Dean Banks has streamlined his tasting menu to a premium five courses at a higher price, with no add-ons available.

With wagyu beef, caviar, and his signature lobster as courses, he is taking the opportunity to showcase Scotland’s finest larder.

Dean Banks
MasterChef winner Dean Banks of Haar.

He said: “We have reduced it slightly so there are no add-ons and there is only one menu, which can be altered for allergies or dietary requirements so we are catering for everyone.

“This also allows us to manage the staff and their time also.”

Pricing his lunch menu at £110 per person and dinner menu at £250 per person, Dean has said the cost is equivalent to his usual tasting menu containing duck and trout courses with add-ons.

Dean has estimated a 10% increase in average spend from his customers which will benefit his business.

“I’m excited and I think everyone in town is excited because it has been hard for those people in the industry.

“This is a great opportunity which could secure us financially for the next six months.” he added.

Haar already has 400 covers booked for the week which is 80% more than their usual amount of around 80 covers.

A daytime menu showcasing Dean’s signature lobster will be available all day at a price of £70 per person and will allow the team to keep the venue in operation for the entirety of The Open Championship.

Double the staff

Dunvegan Bar & Restaurant, located at the 19th hole of the golf course, sees golfers and celebrities passing through its doors every year, and are ready for the busiest Open Championship yet.

With the event attracting such huge volumes of people general manager Luke Fotheringham has doubled his staff from seven to 14 for the duration The Open is running.

Luke said: “Logistically we need to increase our ordering, refill our cellar every morning and restock our building.

“Staffing has increased by 50% so where we run normally with two bartenders and five waiters on the floor, we will have four bartenders and 10 on the floor.”

The bar and restaurant will remain open to the public and in order to offer a finer dining experience the eatery has added steak and seafood to the menu.

Despite this, the venue has not increased their prices and does not intend to do so during the occasion.

Luke said: “We priced it accordingly and we will have a set menu just to keep it streamlined, but we have not increased the price.”

They will also run a limited bar menu because of the volumes of people – they are expecting to be at full capacity (200 people) every day of the championship. The venue will operate on a first come first served basis.

Private hire venue

One restaurateur who is feeling relatively calm is The Seafood Ristorante’s owner Stefano Pieraccini.

He has secured a deal with Mastercard to privately hire his venue over the course of the event.

The venue will not be open to the public, and will service only Mastercard guests for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

Stefano Pieraccini at The Seafood Ristorante
Stefano Pieraccini at The Seafood Ristorante

As for dinner the restaurant will only be available to Mastercard executive level guests with a total of 30 individuals every evening.

Stefano said: “Every other Open has been chaos, but this time we have planned every detail because we know what we are working with every day.

“It means we know when they are coming in, and we can shine at what we do.”

With the deal having been in the pipeline for 18 months, The Seafood Ristorante have been able to order exact amounts of food and reduce staff numbers.

Sea view venue.

Stefano explained: “Because we know our numbers we don’t need to over order, and the way it has been structured means we can enhance the customers experience also.

“I can actually reduce my staff because we know what we are working with every day and plan ahead to control staff numbers and food and drink costs.

“And our margins are higher than they have ever been for previous Open Championships.”

Training is key

For Julie Dalton, training her staff to be ready for The Open is crucial at her restaurant The Adamson and cocktail bar Hatch.

Training has been Julie’s priority since reopening her venues after she was forced to close them during the pandemic.

Julie Dalton owner of The Adamson and Hatch, St Andrews.
Julie Dalton owner of The Adamson and Hatch, St Andrews.

Julie said: “What we have been planning is making sure we have our team trained to the highest standard.

“If we are not set for success, it will be too late when The Open is here.”

During the event special menu offers will run and Julie has also designed cocktails especially for the 150th Open to give tourists and locals alike a taste of the event.

She has already confirmed multiple large bookings from celebrity golfers and long-term customers from America who are coming into town for the event.

Special drinks will be available for the event.

“I’m really excited about sharing the experience with the team because none of the team were here at the last Open we did,” she added.

“The team are excited about who they may meet and there is a real buzz as we countdown the days.”

Julie is looking to recruit new staff to meet the demand of volume of visitors set to arrive in the town in the coming weeks.

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