Gary Usher axes set menus due to 'spiralling costs'

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

New menus: Usher switches things up (Credit: Getty/ alvarez)
New menus: Usher switches things up (Credit: Getty/ alvarez)

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Chef Gary Usher has ditched set menus for a à la carte dishes across all Elite Bistros sites to tackle soaring inflation rates and keep prices accessible.

Hospitality group Elite Bistros serves simple bistro food using quality ingredients across seven sites, including one pub, the White Horse in Churton, Cheshire.

In the pandemic, changed all menus to a set menu format, which Usher said gave the opportunity to really streamline the business and keep everything under control.

Other Elite Bistros sites include Sticky Walnut, Burnt Truffle, Hispi, Wreckfish, Pinon and Kala.

Usher said: “We need to adapt again, and what we’re adapting to this time is the spiralling costs of inflation, and the cost-of-living crisis we all find ourselves in.”

Cost-of-living crisis

“Now, it’s affecting us as a business as much as it’s affecting you guys at home. Our menu just keeps going up because of it, and we hate that.”

With that in mind, the cost was just going up and up of the set menu prices. So, the chef has opted for an a la carte format across menus at all sites, where every single item is individually priced.

For example, if a customer chose the aubergine starter followed by the chicken main course and set yoghurt dessert, they’d pay a lot less than someone who picked the meat starter, lamb rump main and chocolate dessert.

Staying accessible 

Usher continued: “It’s much more relevant and it’s much more accessible in so many ways to so many more people we hope.”

The move was “big for the business” but “very scary,” according to the chef. He predicted it would make spend per head drop massively, which was a worry as the business was around 25% down at the moment already.

But Usher said the business wanted to remain good value and accessible to so many people.

He added: “We feel this is right for us as a business and we feel this is right for our guests too.

“So, we hope to see you soon. Thank you.”

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