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New Ayrshire restaurant owner earns 'huge respect' after heartfelt apology
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The head of an Ayrshire restaurant has been praised for his candour after the opening of his new venue had a few teething problems.

The Urbanist opened in Kilmarnock on Monday along with other hospitality venues across the country.

But the London Road spot was opening for the first time since new owners took charge.

David Davidson, managing director of the YesToAll group, took to Facebook yesterday to apologise to customers who feel they've been "let down" by what the new bar and restaurant has produced since opening.

Mr Davidson admitted that he had "underestimated" the demand from punters and that he himself had "dropped the ball" and let customers down.

He wrote on the Urbanist Facebook page: "My name is David Davidson and I am the owner of The Urbanist. Firstly I would like to say how proud I am to be part of the Kilmarnock community. Myself and my team have been working hard to deliver a bar, restaurant and gardens for the local community. I really hope you like what we have done.

"More importantly I would like to say sorry to the many people who I know feel a bit let down by what we have delivered since we opened last week. The buck stops with me and I sincerely apologise. I feel that I have let some of you down and also let my team down.

"There are lots of reasons why things haven gone hugely less well than I would like but I am not going to make excuses. I underestimated the pent up demand from you guys and I hugely underestimated how long it was going to take for myself and my team to get up to speed after such a long period of closure.

"In short, I have dropped the ball and let you down. I have bitten off more than I can chew and I have asked too much of my team. I am sorry."

Mr Davidson's open and honest approach won respect from hundreds of diners who were universal in their understanding of the situation.

David Davidson

David Davidson (Image: Submitted/Kilmarnock Standard)

One customer wrote: "Was there last night and it was fantastic service, staff, and amazing atmosphere. There will always be teething problems first few days/weeks of new business but during these exceptional circumstances it is fantastic that a new business has opened. I will absolutely be back.

While another said: "I was in on Wednesday with two friends. It was busy and the wait was long. The tables opposite the door are cold and draughty. However the food was lovely and the service staff were very apologetic. I hope you get things ironed out and I’m happy to come back for another try. There was certainly more atmosphere than the previous owners. Fingers crossed for you."

And another punter summed up the mood: "It takes a special man to admit that there have been issues and apologise. Hats off to you and every best wish for you going forward. Your team have a great example to follow. I'm sure everything will come right for you with the attitude you have. Good luck."

Better known to some as Franklin and Sloane, the Dapper Squirrel or the Little Steakhouse, the hulking London Road property which is now home to The Urbanist has taken many different forms in the past six years; all ultimately ending prematurely.

In March this year, Mr Davidson spoke to Ayrshire Live about why he reckoned his business plan could be a success for the venue.

Mr Davidson continued: "Of course, as often happens in these situations, a couple of outside factors have contrived to make things a little worse. Our booking system has overbooked and our fancy new till system has decided to crash a few times. It's just the way it goes.

"This morning myself and my team will be contacting some of you who have booked over the next few days to chat about your reservation. We are going to have to move things around a little to make sure we can deliver a much better level of customer experience. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

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"I can't fix this overnight and I respectfully ask for your patience over this weekend. I guess I am asking for your help and understanding as we work towards ironing out the issues we have had.

"What I will promise you is that myself and my team will get it right and we won't rest until we do."

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