A council ‘pilot’ restaurant testing the viability of beachfront eateries, lost more than £175,000 during its summer opening.

BCP Council opened Bayside Restaurant between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers in August this year.

The eatery was funded by the council and was open for just one month in a barn-style wooden framed marquee.

Ahead of its opening, BCP Council said the restaurant was part of its plan to assess the “viability” of allowing more hospitality activities on the beach, to create ‘more local jobs and encourage tourism’.

Dorset Echo:

Read more: Changes at Bayside Restaurant after opening week reviews

But according to figures released by the local authority as part of an FOI response in November last year, the restaurant lost £163,000 after income generated was offset.

This has now been updated to £176,000 in total.

According to the FOI in November, the costs equate to £97,104.45 for staffing, infrastructure costs were £64,455.89, supplies £62,614.64 and services £95,583.35.

Speaking at BCP Council’s full meeting earlier this month during a debate about the sale of council assets, Cllr Andy Martin said the Bayside marquee which traded for just four weeks in August had ‘lost the council £195,000’.

He said he found this “astonishing” for a four-week venture, adding there was not a business case for it.

The Daily Echo understands the final figures will be released as part of the council’s published accounts.

The restaurant, which promised to offer ‘food a cut above just the usual burgers’ was slammed with negative reviews in its first week.

Before the launch, they said food would range from pasta, and fish and chips, to "something more special like champagne, oysters or lobster".

Dorset Echo:

Read more: New restaurant Bayside opens on Bournemouth beach next week

However residents who visted the restaurant in its opening week say they were left disappointed due to long wait times, mixed up orders and the menu not living up to what was advertised.

At the time, a BCP Council spokesperson said they were aware the restaurant had encountered ‘some challenges’.

Responding to questions over the loss, a BCP Council spokesperson, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make our seafront a vibrant and attractive place and that means trialling different offers, which includes concepts like the Bayside Restaurant.

“Bayside was a test of a high end, cuisine dining experience.

“Although overall our seafront offerings bring in around £6million profit each year in total, unfortunately - mainly due to operational difficulties - delivery of this concept didn’t meet our aspirations and individually had a loss of £176K.

“It’s important to remember this is just one site which added to a large and varied mix of pop up and permanent restaurants, cafes, beach huts, attractions and events which attract visitors and residents alike.”

Dorset Echo:


We also asked the council whether there was a business case for the restaurant, and if so, where it was published and if applicable, discussed by members.

They told us there was a business case but it could not be released because of 'commercially sensitivities'.

The Daily Echo has asked for a redacted copy of said business case.

The local authority also said the decision would have been made operationally.