Leeds pub The Railway Inn forced to lay off chef and close the kitchen due to rising food and fuel costs
Yorkshire hotel boss 'overjoyed' as energy price intervention averts £4m bill
Beleza, which is owned by Nico Jamil, chose to return to the traditional cooking method in order to save money on bills, and avoid the risk of having to close the business.
“The price of the gas has gone crazy,” said Mr Jamil.
“So we thought we could take it in our hands and deal with the situation before we get a massive bill through.
“We couldn’t afford it to be honest, if we’d carried on we would have had to shut the restaurant down, so that’s why we went to charcoal.”
Mr Jamil received a bill for £13,000 for two months’ gas, which he initially believed to be an error.
“We tried to fight with them and asked them ‘how can it be like this?’” he said.
His choice to make the switch was cemented after he was given estimates prior to last week’s Government intervention which said the cost would again rise by over tens of thousands of pounds.
He estimates that in switching back to the use of charcoal, the business will have saved around £1,500 a month.
Mr Jamil said without the move, the business would have been facing making staff cuts in the short-term and even potentially faced closure in the long run.
“I would have had to reduce my staff to pay for gas and electricity and all those things,” he said, “so I’m glad we changed to charcoal.”
Started in December 2021, Beleza employs 23 staff in its restaurant.
Beleza’s decision comes as a number of restaurants around Yorkshire have announced their closure, one of which was Keighley-based Italian restraunt Santorini, who’s owner chose to close following a large increase in bill prices.
Mr Jamil also warned that other restaurants in his home town had informed him about their own struggles with the recent rise in bill prices, and that more help from the government is needed in order to safeguard businesses and livelihoods.
“There’s quite a lot of people struggling, it’s not just my restaurant,” he said.
“I live in Beverley where there’s quite a few restaurants, and they’ve told us they’ll struggle if they have to continue, and that If the government can’t help them they’ll have to shut down.”
“But if the government supports us that would be great news, and I hope they’re going to help us, all of us, not just restaurants.”
On Thursday, new Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced that businesses, charities and public sector organisations will receive “equivalent” support to the £2,500 energy price cap that was promised for UK households.
This support has been offered for a six-month period.
The announcement has been met with mixed responses, with one Beverly restaurant owner describing the policy as insulting.
Mr Jamil noted how switching to charcoal was something he had previously considered, and something he is now glad to have done.
“Everybody loves a barbeque and when throwing them for my friends and family over the summer I remembered that great taste you get from kebabs cooked on an open charcoal grill,” he said.
“The more I enjoyed them the more it made me think about how this could work in the restaurant for our customers, giving them the unique flavour to savour and enjoy without us having to consider increasing the menu prices to meet the demands of the gas bill.
“I will stay with charcoal forever to be honest, the flavour is now right and it’s too expensive, so we will never go back to gas again.”
Hull Brazilian restaurant stops cooking with gas to combat rising bill prices – The Yorkshire Post