The Beacon Arts Centre has decided to close its bistro operation but will continue to operate bar facilities.
Five employees have been advised that they will lose their jobs when the bistro operation ends on Friday 31 May 2019.
Bar facilities will continue and will be staffed by casual workers.
Alex Reedijk, chairman of the Beacon, also said all is not lost at the bistro and that it could rise from the ashes at a later date once the venue is on a more stable financial footing.
Mr Reedijk said:
“It is a source of immense regret to me and all of us at the Beacon that we have had to make some posts redundant.
“After a period of consultation, the board came to the view that it is no longer sustainable to keep the bistro operation going in its current format.
“In the short term, we will be evolving a model that keeps the bars open, so there’s still the possibility for a drink pre-show and during the interval, so that customer experience remains secure.
“In the longer term, we will be doing some thinking around how we bring the bistro back to life because the thing that will never go away is its gorgeous location, but we have to turn around the history of the bistro being a loss-maker for the Beacon since it opened.”
However, BECTU officials slammed the decision to shut the restaurant and say it was turning a profit until recently.
A union spokesperson said:
“The fact that the bistro made a profit when it was run by the staff, while the overall theatre operation was running up a significant deficit, demonstrates to BECTU that it is the overall management of the Beacon that is in more urgent need of radical action rather than the bistro.”
The venue’s chairman says the union is off the mark.
Mr Reedijk said:
“That’s simply not correct because when you take into account all the costs of running a bistro, whether it’s in that building or not, including contributions to overheads – power, energy and all the other pieces, it has not been a sustainable model up until now.”