One of Birmingham’s three Michelin-star restaurants is scaling back service after restructuring its parent firm as diners feel the squeeze.
Turners, in Harborne, was closed for three days last week amid a restructure which will see its holding firm Porterhouse Services dissolved and a new company set up at Companies House.
The restaurant, established by Richard Turner – one of Birmingham’s most respected chefs – will be cutting back services from 10 to seven sittings a week after being hit by the spending slowdown and food prices rising by 30 per cent in a year. As a result four jobs have been lost.
Mr Turner said he was working with suppliers affected by the restructure, and hoped that a reduction in working hours for his staff would have a beneficial impact on creativity.
He scotched rumours that the restaurant was to close after it failed to open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week and reassured diners that Turners will still be be a force for the future in the city.
He told the Post: “The changes have happened behind the scenes. I am working with suppliers to get through this but the restaurant is still working, only slightly smaller.
“We will be doing fewer services a week so we can concentrate on what we are doing more, and so staff aren’t working 80 hours a week.”
The restaurant itself is also being trimmed back, with the maximum number of diners being reduced from 26 to 20.
Mr Turner, who has been a major part of the food revolution in Birmingham which saw the city’s culinary reputation soar, said he has re-evaluated his life after having all of his belongings destroyed in a house fire late last year.
The chef, who was at work when the fire broke out, told the Post in February he was forced to sleep on the floor of his restaurant after the “nightmare”.
Mr Turner said: “This year has certainly been challenging for all restaurants, especially at the top levels, as diners’ wallets are squeezed, resulting in our own restaurant menu prices being held this year, despite increases of up to 30 per cent on food costs.
“My passions have always been to focus on the very best ingredients, and create dishes to challenge and delight our diners, which has also added to the pressure of providing consistent quality for the price.”
“Personally I have been reflecting on my own life balance this year, after my house fire last Christmas, and the pressure on finding a new home whilst trying to work over 80 hours a week in the restaurant, and the related expenses of moving, and this summer not being able to give my team a break made me think ‘what’s it all about?’”
From now on Turners will open for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Mr Turner added: “I have made the bold decision to go back to basics. Cooking the dishes I want to cook, using the ingredients I want to source from across the UK, for less customers, cutting our dining spaces down to just 20, so less need for staff recruiting and more focus on the customer experience.
“I promised my wife I would stop working myself to an early grave and spend more time living, so we will now focus on evenings and Friday and Saturday lunches.
“I have got some exciting new ideas for dishes and we will be arranging more of our sell out Taste of Turners dinners for our regulars.
“We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support this year, and my suppliers for baring with us for what promises to be an exciting 2013.”