The changes are designed to reduce the demand for skilled kitchen staff by creating a more concise menu.
The independent group will focus its menu on its ‘Combo’ offering of balls with a sauce and side for £9.95.
It will also expand its range of craft beers and move away from formal sit-down dining to create a more ‘relaxed’ restaurant with bar seating and an outdoor beer terrace.
It comes ahead of a planned expansion for the father and son-run group, which raised £123,000 through a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to open a third restaurant in Leeds and an unconfirmed fourth location.
YMCo said the shift had been prompted by the increased competition from an influx of chain restaurants in to Yorkshire over the past two years.
The newcomers have brought with them a sharp increase in chef wages, making it more difficult for independent restaurants such as YMCo to compete.
Co-owner Gareth Atkinson said: “Whilst healthy competition is always welcome, the huge number of high street names coming to the local area cannot be ignored. It’s important that independent sites like ourselves are proactive in ensuring their concepts remain commercially viable, in what is an increasingly challenging employment environment.”
Dining gets informal
The new informal restaurant design has been prompted by the growing trend of diners seeking out a more casual alternative to ‘a traditional sit down meal’.
“We’re seeing increasing demand for a relaxed, sociable and personal atmosphere, where customers are just as likely to pop in for a craft beer and end up staying to enjoy some hearty, no-fuss food, as they are to visit us for a relaxed two or three course meal,” said Atkinson.
The company is also in final-stage talks to launch a range of premium-branded gourmet meatball products in supermarkets nationwide in late 2016.