Harrogate restaurant in danger of closing after suffering “really difficult” trading period

Paul Rawlinson and Simon Jewitt outside the Norse premises which opened in 2017

A Harrogate restaurant has urged people to  support it after experiencing a “really difficult” trading period before Christmas which leaves it in danger of closing its doors.

Norse moved to new premises on Swan Road in town last year and the firm hasn’t managed to create a sustainable business since the move.

The owner of Norse, Paul Rawlinson, said in an update on the restaurant’s website last night: “Sometimes we walk past restaurants, see that they’re no longer open and it comes as a complete surprise.  Often we say “What a shame” and discuss how we didn’t know they were struggling and we might have visited more often if we had been aware.  Well, we are in danger of this happening at Norse in the not too distant future.

“The period before Christmas (Sep – Nov) was really difficult. The team have pushed on as ever with the aim of delivering great food and service.  Lots of guests have been very happy with their experiences and this continued over last weekend with a really successful New Years Eve event.

“Behind the scenes I have been struggling in the knowledge that the numbers haven’t been adding up for us.  It’s primarily my job to convince people to step through our doors, and they haven’t been doing that in large enough numbers.  There have been some new openings and pressures within the market, but all restaurants have to deal with those, I’ve just not got the formula right.

“Norse has grown a reputation as a restaurant to visit for a special occasion where you might eat our tasting menu, which is great but that isn’t enough to make a sustainable business.  We need to change and encourage guests to visit more regularly.  There is just about enough time to turn it around if we move really fast and get it right.”

He said that with the aim of attracting new guests and tempting previous guests back , the restaurant would  alter its format.

Rawlinson said they planned to drop their small plates format in favour of a more familiar starter/main/dessert format. They will also describe the style of food at Norse as ‘Modern food using Yorkshire produce’ – making the Nordic influence less overt.

In an email to customers, Norse said: “It’s a risky decision to go public, but the situation can absolutely be recovered in the next few months.  It is important that these changes have an immediate positive impact.”