Vegetarian restaurant V. Dorset forced to close over costs

AN independent vegetarian restaurant in Parkstone has been forced to close after rising costs left them “clinging on”.

Keri Astill-Frew, co-owner of award-winning restaurant V. Dorset, said they hadn’t been making money for a year.

Ms Astill-Frew told the Echo: “We’ve been clinging on all year really, the news isn’t getting any better, even the government are saying it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

“We talked about it, and we thought it’s going to be at least another two years of it being like this before things start to improve, that’s what we’re expecting.

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“Do we have it in us, both financially and mentally and physically to keep going for another two years just clinging on for dear life.

“It’s our whole lives as it is, and its fine giving your whole life to it when you’re doing well, you’re making money and its busy, but when you’re not getting anything out of it financially either, it’s very difficult to keep that passion and keep your motivation going.”

Ms Astill-Frew said produce costs have been increasing on a regular basis.

“I’ve got an app which I use for ordering, every time I look at it something has gone up,” she said.

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“We haven’t been able to pass on every cost increase to our customers, there’s no way we could do that.

“You try and absorb as much as you can, we’ve cut back on our staff as much as we can possibly cut back. We’re running with as little staff as we can manage to, and still we’re not able to make a profit.”

Despite the sad news that the restaurant has had to close, Ms Astill-Frew said that the response from their customers has been “lovely”.

“It has been quite gratifying to see just how much people did appreciate us. I know that from reading the comments that this is not down to the food, and it’s not down to us or our products, it’s just difficult times for everybody,” she said.

“We’ve got such lovely customers, they’ve been fantastic. We’ve been absolutely slammed on orders since the announcement, last night was our busiest night for probably over a year I would say, and we’re expecting it to be even busier tonight.”

She added: “Although it’s too little too late, it’s still really nice to know that people are so desperate to get their last orders in.”

The restaurant’s final evening of opening will be tonight, Saturday, January 28.

Bournemouth Echo | News