Villandry closes amid reports of £1.5m losses

Villandry is the latest casualty of London’s increasingly challenging restaurant sector, having fallen into administration amid reported losses of £1.5 million.

Villandry has closed both its Fitzrovia and St Jame’s sites, posting a statement on its website which read: “Martha Thompson and Sarah Rayment of BDO LLP were appointed joint administrators of Villandry Restaurant Foodstore Limited (‘the Company’) on 9 August 2018.

“The affairs, business and property of the Company are now being managed by the joint administrators.”

The group’s third restaurant, in Bicester, seemed to be doing well, that site closed had already closed in 2017.

In its end-of-year results for the year ending 31 March 2017, the group reported a 16% rent hike at its St Jame’s site, while the rent at its Great Portland Street site was reported to have doubled this year.

Reporting losses of just under £1.5m, the document blamed 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” for its difficulties, adding that the “prospect of Brexit” had exacerbated a labour shortage.

Villandry opened in 1998 in Fitzrovia, and 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.

The Sunday Times reported on 5 August that accountancy firm BDO was said to be looking for a new investor for the group, but called in administrators this week after failing to find a buyer.

It’s not the only restaurant to have faced difficulties in London. Gaucho went into administration last month, and is currently looking for a buyer. Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s and Byron Burgers have all been forced to close multiple sites and longstanding Soho haunt The Gay Hussar has also closed.

Most recently 28°-50° Fetter Lane, the wine-focused restaurant founded by chef Agnar Sverrisson and Xavier Rousset, was sold to Cliffords Restaurant Limited.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the number of restaurants in the UK had fallen for the first time in eight years, according to new figures.

Around two restaurants per week have closed over the past year to March, according to CGA’s market report, which predicts the number of sites across the UK will continue to fall throughout 2018.

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