Restaurateur defends £19.50 burger after people complain about price

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A restaurateur has defended the price of a burger after facing backlash.

Businessman and chef Gary Usher has found himself in hot water for charging a whopping £19.50 for a burger at his new pub.

Mr Usher snapped up The White Horse in Churton, Cheshire, last year following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

After coming under scrutiny for the burger price, he took to social media to address the complaints in a five-minute video, reports The Liverpool Echo.

Mr Usher began by slamming one suggestion that the venue should be “comparing” itself to “the pub down the road” and determining its prices that way as “just ridiculous”.

Describing himself as “painfully shy”, the chef said he did not want to “be arrogant” about his business “ever” but felt compelled to stand up for the brand and his team.

Mr Usher said: “We have to give ourselves a bit of credit for who we are and what we’ve achieved and how we’ve got to where we’ve got.

“You know, this pub isn’t our first venture, this is number eight and we’re pretty b****y successful at what we do.

“So you have to give us some credit and allow us, give us the confidence to make the right decisions for this.”

He explained that he and his team do not look at other venues in the area for prices and while it is good to “be aware” of competitors’ costs, that is just “not how you price up a menu”.

The self-described “expert” then talked through the buying process for the burger – the team source the “very best ingredients”, add them up, take VAT into account and then “work out a percentage that covers all our costs”.

He continued: “I want people to come, we’d love people to come, it’s what we do.

“We love looking after people, we’re in hospitality, it’s what we do. However, if you don’t want to come, that’s also fine.

“There’s an option not to buy that burger – there’s an option not even to come to the pub.

“Now, love him or hate him, Ricky Gervais has a sketch where he mentions in a town centre a big billboard saying ‘guitar lessons £15’, whatever.

“Somebody walks past, looks at the guitar lessons and says, ‘I don’t want guitar lessons!’

“It’s the same with the burger. It’s not for you. If you don’t want it, that’s fine.

“That menu is an advert for our business, take a look, it is up there for your perusal and social media is a great place to voice your opinions, but you don’t always have to.”

He continued: “Take a look at the menu, if the burger’s not in your price range or you think it’s too expensive, move on.

“Go to the next restaurant, don’t buy the burger, don’t say anything.

“So to the people complaining and that don’t like it, I’m really sorry but that is what we do and that is where we are at – that is the price of our burger.”

Mr Usher then referenced the energy crisis and said the burger’s price will not come down, but it may potentially go up as bills and external costs continue to soar.

Many people took to the comments section below the video to share their thoughts on Mr Usher’s response.

One person said: “Is this the only industry where people complain about the price of something they’re never gonna buy?

“You don’t see people complaining on an Audi post that their latest car costs £70k or whatever.”

James Hoggarth said: “All I can say is, I really want to try this burger now”.

James Allcock commented: “I love the old ‘That’s expensive for a pub’ like pub rent/mortgage/staff/electric/food cost is lower than a restaurant.

“What’s the fact it’s a pub got to do with any cost metrics. It’s a business the end”.

Another Twitter user said: “It’s a great menu. There is little I could cook at home cheaper.

“If people want cheaper meals, low-quality ingredients that came from a catering supplier, are defrosted to order and assembled by someone with no kitchen skills there are plenty of other places to go.”

And another said: “I would just like to say to people complaining or questioning the price of the burger- go and try it and you’ll get why, it will be so far removed from any bog standard burger I can promise you that. 

“@Elite_Bistros food is always absolutely outstanding, give it a go”.

Twitter user Rich Harris added: “So much empathy for this. Hospitality has such a wide spectrum and there isn’t a person that doesn’t use it.

“From a sausage roll at Greggs to Michelin star restaurants you can’t compare different venues with the same metric, [if] one isn’t for you rest assured there will be one.”

Mr Usher operates Elite Bistros, which has seen success with a range of award-winning restaurants, from Wreckfish in Liverpool to Burnt Truffle in Heswall, and many more.

The White Horse Pub is based on Chester Road, Churton, Chester CH3 6LA.

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