Restaurant ‘can’t afford’ to hold star
Food: Michelin award leads to losses
A five-star country house hotel in the Highlands has turned its back on the globally-recognised Michelin Guide.
The owners of Boath House, which lies off the A96 at Auldearn, near Nairn, believe the expectations from Michelin are now “at odds” with the way they run the small family business.
Husband and wife team Don and Wendy Matheson said customers wanted a “more informal and relaxed” experience.
The move comes a week after French chef Sebastian Bras asked for his threestar restaurant Le Suquet to be dropped from the guide in order to “start a new chapter”.
Mr and Mrs Matheson said they too wanted to ‘reevaluate’ their relationship with the Michelin Guide, deciding to “move in a new direction”.
The Georgian mansion boasts four AA rosettes and one Michelin star, but the family is overhauling the brand to reflect what they believe customers want.
The decision comes ahead of the 2018 Michelin Guide being announced next week.
Mrs Matheson said: “While we are extremely proud of the Michelin star we gained 10 years ago, and it undoubtedly enhanced our reputation, our restaurant has consistently made a loss.
“We believe the expectations from Michelin are at odds with achievable profit margins and put an enormous stress on a small family-run business like ours.
“The feedback we are hearing time and time again from our customers is that they want an experience that is more informal and relaxed.”
The owners will open a cafe in their walled garden next year, with the aim to be casual and rustic. It will complement the dining room in the main house which has recently changed to offer more approachable and less expensive options.
Mrs Matheson added: “The aim is to provide a warm, comfortable touch of contemporary luxury combined with homely charm.
“We are confident that this is where the accommodation and dining market is going and that we will have a more sustainable product.”
Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide, said: “It’s obviously up to individual restaurants how they want to run their businesses, and there is absolutely no formula for winning or retaining a Michelin star.
“There has certainly been a trend towards more informal dining over the past 10 years or so, and in fact Michelin has been at the absolute forefront of recognising and celebrating that.”
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Boath House is overhauling its branding