It seems like every week we hear about another restaurant chain either closing or having to scale back its operation; we’ve seen Jamie's Italian, Byron and Strada all ‘bite the dust’ (excuse the pun). The next casual dining chain on the list could be high street brasserie Côte.
It’s said that Côte’s smaller brands Jackson & Rye and Limeyard restaurants are having to “scale back” their entire operation in response to the challenging conditions it’s currently seeing.
A spokesperson said “this will not affect the core Côte brand despite having to close a few sites to support the ones doing well. It actually posted 15.8% sales growth between 2015 - 2017 which shows testament to the brand.”
It seems that our appetite for casual dining has now slowed down and a lot of places around the capital are feeling the crunch.
We sat down with Benn to get his thoughts on the matter
“I think a huge factor has been Brexit, since that happened it has really shaken everyone up. Exchange rates have been poor and recruitment has become extremely hard, not nearly as many people are looking to the UK for work. Also, when you’re trying to operate 100’s of sites your margins are extremely tight and with the rise of food costs, as well as staff costs then throw in the fierce competition, something eventually has to give. It is incredibly sad to see but I really am not surprised, you need to be offering something totally new and exciting to stay ahead of the field.”
“Also, I do strongly think the issue lies when these companies get sold to these investment houses. They put in place such aggressive growth targets so they feel the need expand without taking much care over operation costs. When you’re looking to get setup as quickly as possible, you end up paying over and above what you actually should which just means you’re constantly fighting a rising tide”
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