A DISHWASHER who ended up running a top restaurant at the age of 20 has admitted they'll have to close unless more people come and eat there.

Jason Lawrence took charge unexpectedly of the Tartan Rooster in Kincardine last year and can't fathom why they're not busier after garnering glowing reviews.

And, on Monday, he issued a plea on Facebook to "please help us stay open".

Jason wrote: "We have over 2,000 likes, we have five-star reviews on Facebook, Trip Advisor and Google. We changed our menu, we reduced our prices, we joined the Blue Light card, we redecorated the restaurant, we did up the beer garden and yet we still don’t have enough customers coming in to keep us open.

"As of next Monday (27th) The Tartan Rooster will shut its doors for good UNLESS we have a good weekend and continue to grow from there on.

"Please support your local restaurant. If you haven’t been, look at our reviews, book a table, pop in for coffee and cake.

"We are open for lunch and dinner, Thursday to Sunday."

And he told the Press: "It's so frustrating. If we were bad I would understand it but our reviews are glowing and we've never had any complaints.

"Come this weekend, if we're not busy enough that will be it from Monday.

"I'm hoping this will kick-start the business and that people will see it's time to support local.

"Don't just say it or put it in a post, come in and have something to eat and show us you want us to be here."

Jason, who went to Dunfermline High School, continued: "I'm 21 now and never dreamed of having a restaurant at this age.

"After school I wanted to go into personal fitness, I was playing football too and washing dishes just to make some money.

"I never expected this.

"Friends are all wondering what they're going to wear on a Saturday night and I'm wondering how many people I'll have booked in to eat on a Sunday!"

He added: "I'm doing 50-hour weeks and not taking a penny.

"If I stick at it I hope in time I can take a full-time wage but some days I just can't see past it and it brings me down, doing all this work for no money.

"I've managed to keep everyone's job and sorted everyone through furlough so if it does end I can walk away and say I've done my best.

"I'm hoping it doesn't though, I really am."

Jason started in the kitchen at Faodail, on Excise Street, and worked his way up to front-of-house and then supervisor, helped by taking a number of courses via Babcock.

Unfortunately, the co-owner's ill health led to the business closing and the sous chef took over in early 2020, changing the name to the Tartan Rooster and coming up with a new menu, before getting a new job.

He explained: "He said to me, 'You've got two choices: quit and find your own job or I'll sign it over to you and keep everyone's job'.

"I spoke to my mum and thought: 'I've got nothing to lose'."

He took over on March 5 and, 10 days later, lockdown arrived, with the restaurant closed for most of the year.

"When we re-opened in May I honestly thought we'd be a lot busier," Jason admitted.

"It's all good, homemade food and we've got such a wee gem here.

"I'm a local lad and everyone in the village tells me how good it is and yet we don't have the numbers in the restaurant to show for it."

The Facebook post has attracted attention and Jason added: "The phone's not stopped so bookings are good but is it just going to be for this weekend and then everyone will go back to their takeaways and sitting in?

"This needs to be a start, not a one-off."