New Ayrshire Restaurant Thriving Despite Pandemic Pressures

By Harris Cumming

THE Coronavirus pandemic has wrought havoc on the hospitality industry over the last 18 months. Even huge players such as the Wetherspoons group have felt the strain, posting its biggest loss on record last Friday. However, against this bleak backdrop, there have been glimmers of success in an otherwise inhospitable seeming environment.

Opening in the depths of the pandemic, Ayr’s Tempura bar and restaurant was forced to carve a difficult path for itself. However, partner, Mark Blake, argues that while there were many challenges along the way, the battered chicken restaurant partially owes its success and existence to the lockdowns.

The 28-year-old co-owner said: “Of course it had its challenges but for us it was also advantageous. When we were closed for lockdown we really nailed our takeaway, our food, our service, and our social media. It gave us a bit of time and a sort of window to get all that down.”

He added: “I think without the lockdowns there wouldn’t be a Tempura, because that was when my partner Brandon had most of his time to brainstorm and come up with the ideas and different things to do with the restaurant.”

Receiving a number of rave reviews on social media, the cosy Ayr eatery has proven extremely popular since its inception in October last year.

Despite this success though, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Tempura. Blake argues that one of the biggest problems was the turbulent nature of government restrictions on the sector, which caused much uncertainty and made planning difficult.

He added: “I think it is challenging for everyone right now, especially in hospitality, with getting employment and all that kind of stuff.”

However, this hasn’t stopped Tempura from planning for a bigger future for the business.

Blake explained: “We’re hoping to get a to go restaurant open in the next 4 weeks, that will be 200 yards down the road and will focus on all things takeaway. So that is quite exciting.”

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