Edinburgh's Aizle restaurant moves to a four-day week

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Krystal Goff and Stuart Ralston opened Aizle in 2014
Krystal Goff and Stuart Ralston opened Aizle in 2014

Related tags Michelin guide great United kingdom of great britain and ireland

Aizle in Edinburgh has become the latest restaurant to reduce its opening times in a bid to tackle the long-hours culture of the hospitality industry.

Chef owner Stuart Ralston is switching the restaurant, which is recommended in the 2018 Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland, from a five to a four-day week in the hope of giving his team a better work-life balance without a pay-cut.

He told the Edinburgh Evening News​ that though the change was ‘difficult for a small business’ he saw it as a reward to his long-term staff.

“There’s a tendency to overwork in this industry, the days are long and can be very physically demanding, so it’s important we all have a chance to enjoy life away from the workplace,” said Ralston.

The chef launched 36-cover Aizle, which offers a £55 five-course set tasting menu, with his wife Krystal Goff in 2014. ​ He hopes that closing on Sundays will allow him more time to spend with their three-year-old son.

“Since we opened three and a half years ago I’ve spent virtually zero time at home,” he said. “We start at 8.30 am and it’s often midnight or 12.30 am before we finish. It’s a long day and by Sunday we’re all pretty depleted. But that’s what it takes to run the restaurant.”

Chefs including Sat Bains, James Close and Michel Roux Jr have reduced opening times at their restaurants​ in the last few years in a bid to tackle the long-hours culture that has become endemic to the industry.

Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson revealed last year that he had raised prices and tripled the size​ ​of his team at two Michelin-starred Faviken in order to reduce staff hours from an average of 80 to 40-45 a week.

Rene Redzepi's Noma is also moving from a five to a four-day week and increasing the cost of its menu by approximately £30 when relaunches in February.

“Customers should want to know that the people serving their meal, cooking it and cleaning up afterwards are being well looked after,” said Ralston.

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