The owner of the award-winning Sun Dancer restaurant has employed his primary school friend to take over the day-to-day running of the establishment.

Lee Jack who opened the restaurant in 2016 has appointed Ed Carlton as general manager of the beach front restaurant which will re-open its doors to the public next Tuesday with a new outdoor area.

Lee said: “I am delighted to be working with Ed who has a wealth of experience in hospitality. He will bring a breath of fresh air to the Sun Dancer and has worked tirelessly with the team to get our new outdoor area and menu ready for opening next week.

Expansion

“I have always wanted to expand the Sun Dancer offering to the outside and with Covid and some of the restrictions we still face there is not a better time to push forward with these plans.”

Lee added: “I am still very much part of the Sun Dancer, but with the outdoor area and that having its own menu, the café and of course the restaurant, we needed to expand the management team. I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with the customers but also working with the marketing team and meeting directly with our local suppliers to ensure that the Sun Dancer is always using the best locally sourced products and ensuring that we are always ahead of the game when it comes to new food and drink trends. These are the areas I have missed when managing the whole restaurant and having Ed on board will free up some time.”

Ed and Lee attended Rosebank Primary School together and now at the age of 32, have remained firm friends.

Firm friends

With a love of travelling, Ed’s hospitality experience has centered around working for the Pizza Hut and then the Pizza Express chains where he worked his way through the ranks to junior area manager, having been responsible for the biggest Pizza Express restaurant in the company.

Ed had planned to embark on an 18-month travelling trip last March, but the restrictions associated with Covid instead brought him home to Nairn.

“It has been a happy accident,” said Ed, “I never really appreciated Nairn when I was younger but being back, I realise just how fantastic it is.”

Ed who studied physics at university added: “Lee and I have been mates since primary school and we just got chatting one night when I returned to Nairn. We always end up talking about business and Lee was talking about his plans for the restaurant. We came to the conclusion that to move the Sun Dancer is the direction which Lee and his team want, he would need more management support.

“He has a great team and I am enjoying working with them all. Ryan who is possibly one of the most well-known members of staff has been here from the start so working with him directly is going to be key to the success of the restaurant and how I can help and be involved. He has a wealth of knowledge, not only about the Sun Dancer, but also the town and its people.”

Ed added: “I am really excited to be helping Lee bring the Sun Dancer to the next level. He has loads of great ideas and I hope that he will now be able to put some of them into action. Creating more capacity outside means more management. The menu is in keeping with the Sun Dancer but is different to what will be offered in the restaurant when we re-open indoors. All hospitality businesses have taken a huge hit over the last year, but the Sun Dancer has great foundations and I am pleased to be joining the team at a really exciting time.”

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