An independent Harrogate restaurant is set to change its concept over the next coming months in a fightback against the heavy influx of chain restaurants in the town and wider region.
The award-winning Yorkshire Meatball Co, the UK’s first specialty meatball and craft beer bar, have revealed their initial plans since their successful £100,000 crowdfunding campaign.
The plans will see the business broadening its restaurant concept, to a more relaxed, casual bar offering.
The restaurant has been closed this week as part of a major refurbishment.
Co-owner David Atkinson said: “Whilst healthy competition is always welcome, the huge number of high street names coming to the local area cannot be ignored.
"What these restaurants bring with them is a sharp peak in wages, particularly for chefs, and this is something that small independents, like us, can struggle to compete with.
"As a result, it’s important that independent sites like ourselves are proactive in ensuring their concepts remain commercially viable, in what is an increasingly challenging employment environment.”
Since it launched its first site in Harrogate two years ago at Station Bridge, the father and son team have been eager to develop its concept to provide a broader offer for its customers.
The changes will focus on a more concise menu, with the emphasis on the brand’s signature dish, “The Combo”, and will expand it’s already extensive craft beer offering, which is seen as an equally integral part of the concept.
The interior layout will also change to create a more relaxed, casual atmosphere, with the addition of bar seating zones and a move away from formal, laid-up dining tables.
The Yorkshire Meatball Co. has also commenced detailed planning for its outdoor beer terrace, increasing capacity to 80-covers across the site.
Co-owner Gareth Atkinson, said: “It’s an exciting time. We have listened to what our diners love about our offer and enhanced this further to refine and re-focus the concept.
"Trends are changing. We’re seeing increasing demand for a relaxed, sociable and personal atmosphere, where customers are just as likely to pop in for a craft beer and end up staying to enjoy some hearty, no-fuss food, as they are to visit us for a relaxed two or three course meal”
The company is also in final-stage talks to launch a range of premium-branded, gourmet meatball products through supermarkets nationwide in Q4 2016.