Forburys restaurant in Reading has fallen into administration after 15 years of operation, the latest victim of the high street downturn.
Adrian Graham of Graywoods was appointed liquidator on 15 May after the French-influenced restaurant was closed and its 12 members of staff were made redundant last month.
A spokesman for Graywoods told The Caterer that the general downturn on the high street had affected the restaurant and that the owners also felt that Brexit uncertainty had also impacted on the business.
Director Michael Standerline described the restaurant as badly in need of refurbishment in the administrator’s report. It stated that the business was hit by “lack of footfall” and consumer confidence. Businesses stopped entertaining clients and the previously profitable lunch trade “decreased significantly”, it explained.
Salary costs and increases in overheads made difficult trading conditions even more challenging, and attempts to renegotiate a reduced rent were unsuccessful. A café was opened in 2015 in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to diversify.
Lack of investment in the restaurant, which became the only tenant of the building in the last year, made it “very difficult” to attract new and retain existing customers and the decision was taken to place it up for sale last summer.
A buyer was found in November 2018 but attempts to contact the landlord were unsuccessful. Paying liabilities to creditors and HMRC became increasingly difficult and directors Standerline and Xavier Le Bellego ultimately closed the doors on 8 April.
Accounts for the company’s financial year to 31 July 2017 report turnover of £747,341. The administrator’s report shows that the restaurant went into administration with liabilities to creditors of £243,233.
Le Bellego previously worked as a restaurant manager at John Burton-Race’s two-Michelin-starred L’Ortolan in Shinfield, Berkshire; and once co-owned the Red House in Newbury, also Berkshire, and Gilby’s in Cardiff with Standerline.