Revamp carried out at Northumberland restaurant to help cope with anticipated high demand
A popular Northumberland restaurant has refurbished its kitchen to cope with high demand from customers.
The Barn at Beal, on a stunning site overlooking Holy Island, enjoyed a bumper summer season in 2020.
With more of the same expected this summer, owner Rod Smith decided changes were needed to make it better for staff and to improve service to customers.
“We’ve used the time we were closed over the winter – and the grant money we received from the government – to renovate the kitchen,” he said.
"After 13 years, the shut down period actually gave us the chance to have a think about how we could do things differently and make the kitchen flow better.
"The staff now have their own zones which helps them enormously at busy times when previously they might have got a bit flustered.
"This initial period of reopening outdoors has given the staff time to find their feet and it’s working well.
"I’m a firm believer that if the kitchen is working well and the staff are happy then it has a knock-on effect on front of house and ultimately the experience customers have.”
A new menu has also been introduced with head chef Toby Quinn returning after a short spell in Yorkshire, backed up by David Johnson, Kyle McLaughlin and Fon Mather and Ruth Forrest.
While perennial favourites such as fish and chips and burgers are still available, the new menu gives customers the chance to taste something a little bit different.
"It’s already proving really popular,” said Toby. “We’ve recently had hare loins and lemon sole on the menu and we’ve been blown away by the response. We wanted to get people out of their comfort zone a bit.”
Manager Catherine Findlay added: “We really want to push local produce. All our suppliers need help after the last 12 months and we really want to support as many as possible. The quality is there and our customers notice the difference.”
An increase in campervan pitches is also designed to increase restaurant bookings, especially for breakfasts and evening meals.
"We have a five month busy season and the additional income from having the campsite helps to justify staying open over the winter and keeping staff employed,” said Rod.