The latest distress call from the UK restaurant sector is from London pair of restaurants Villandry, with reports that it is looking for a new investor.
The group has faced a number of setbacks recently, not least a doubling of the rent of its Great Portland Street site. Reported in its end-of-year accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017 was also a rent increase of 16% at the St James’ site, and while the group’s third restaurant, in Bicester, seemed to be doing well, that site closed later that year.
Reporting losses of just under £1.5m, the document mentions a ‘decline in spending in mid-market restaurants’, ‘rising food and drink costs caused by the fall in sterling’ and ‘rising labour costs due to the shortage of experienced staff’, adding that the ‘prospect of Brexit exacerbates the labour shortage’.
The Sunday Times reported on 5 August that accountancy firm BDO was said to be looking for a new investor for the group. Villandry was previously acquired by Jamie Barber in 2006, and then sold in 2011 to Philippe le Roux, who was responsible for bringing Le Pain Quotidien to the UK.
Villandry is just the latest in a spate of restaurants to be felled by the ‘perfect storm’ of trading conditions. In the last couple of months, Gaucho has fallen into administration and Texture is selling off its 28-50 restaurant venues.