A KINCARDINE restaurant owner has expressed his frustration after his popular restaurant closed its doors.

Despite appealing for public help, the Tartan Rooster, owned by Jason Lawrence, stopped trading in October.

The restaurant struggled for staff and customers before "coming to a halt itself".

Jason took over the business unexpectedly in 2020, just weeks before the first lockdown.

After hitting hard times, he put out a plea on Facebook for people to come and eat.

He said: "We got a really good response for two to three weeks; we were still constantly putting out the pleading posts on Facebook and we got a lot of support.

"The week after, we decided to lay off the posts and see if people would still come back – we lost 75 per cent of our custom again."

When it looked like things were not going to get better, Jason's chef announced he was taking up a new job, as a truck driver, leaving only a few weeks before the festive period.

"A lot of places are looking for chefs, they are like gold dust, so hard to come by," Jason said.

"We had one applicant but they couldn't make a microwave macaroni and cheese, it wasn't a chef.

"I didn't want my standard to drop.

"We decided to announce the last week, it wasn't as busy as we thought for being our last week, we thought it would be fully-booked.

"The restaurant just closed, my chef got a new job, some of my KP's found new jobs.

"The only person is myself who still hasn't found anywhere.

"I was the owner and manager of the restaurant and before that, when it was the old restaurant, I was the supervisor as well.

"So, I've got about three-and-a-half, four years of running a restaurant.

"It's a new year so I'm back on my feet and, hopefully, going to find something."

To keep the restaurant going, Jason was not taking a wage for himself, and has been left struggling.

He said: "I would pay myself every couple of weeks. If we maybe had a good cash sale, I would take a fiver here, a tenner there.

"We were planning on moving out but I can't do that if I'm not earning.

"Even though the restaurant was a good challenge, it kind of just came to a halt itself, I didn't decide to shut it, it just came to a close.

"If we had a chef we would have battled and stayed open but the decision was made for me."

Despite the fact that Jason has been told that people are missing the restaurant, the building has not been taken over since.

He said: "The landlord told me someone might be taking over, I'm not sure what cuisine, they said it might be the same as mine, but I live about five minutes away from the restaurant and when I walk past it still looks derelict, there's nothing happening.

"I'm not sure if there were plans for it and now that Christmas has passed that the people might leave it, and take it on later.

"For restaurants, the quietest time is now up until Valentine's."