The company that once ran Gary Rhodes's only remaining UK restaurant, Rhodes @ the Dome in Plymouth, has entered liquidation, although the restaurant continues to trade.
RTD1 Ltd, which changed its name from Rhodes @ The Dome Ltd in January this year, entered voluntary liquidation earlier this month.
The company was run by local restaurateur and former professional rugby player Ed Steven, who used it to help set up the 150-cover restaurant in what used to be a museum building on Plymouth Hoe, overlooking Plymouth Sound, when it opened 13 months ago.
However the running of the restaurant has now been taken over by a new operating company called The Dome (Plymouth) Ltd, of which Steven is also a director.
A statement of affairs for RTD1 revealed that the company owes over £400,000 to creditors, including £240,000 to the Royal Bank of Scotland and nearly £120,000 in VAT and PAYE to the taxman.
Speaking to Caterer and Hotelkeeper
He also stressed that the relationship with Rhodes, who has a contractual agreement to appear at the restaurant for around a week once every quarter, remained unchanged and would continue.
Steven explained that the decision to put RTD1 Ltd into liquidation was as a result of the fact that it no longer served a purpose, having been used to set the restaurant business up, and that its winding up was would allow Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax relief funding to be released to continue the restaurant's expansion.
He explained: "RTD1 was the company used to set the restaurant up, and that did all the build side of things. It doesn't have a purpose and it doesn't operate the restaurant - and that is why it is being wound up."
He added that the £400,000 that RTD1 owed to creditors was guaranteed through debentures by the new company, The Dome (Plymouth) Ltd. A third company, Rhodes @ The Dome Trading Ltd also remains active but Steven said it would most likely also be wound up soon as it was not being used as a trading vehicle.
Although the business has had its "peaks and troughs" since opening, having suffered a kitchen fire, a theft of a safe, and most recently flooding due to the poor winter weather, Steven also said that recent trading has been positive.
"Because we are right on the Hoe, the last two months weather-wise has been pretty extreme but we are lucky because we are on a hill so customers actually quite like it because you get quite an impressive view," he said. "January and February have actually been very good considering what has happened with the weather. That is because we employed a new manager and we have got a new structure to our menus and that has worked really well and seems to be very popular."
The plan for the business now is to open a new ground floor venue with a 165-cover banquet room with its own dancefloors and bars and toilets, as well as a ceremony room that will allow Rhodes @ The Dome to host weddings and other events separately from the restaurant. The work, which will cost between £200,000 and £250,000 is expected to be completed within the next three months.
RTD1's liquidator Neville & Co declined to comment. Gary Rhodes was unavailable for comment.
Rhodes @ The Dome is one of a number of restaurants and pubs that Ed Steven is involved with - he also helps to run the Glassblowing House in Plymouth, Cray Quay House in Brixham, and the Pickwick Inn in Bigbury, Devon.
Ed Steven's father John Steven also has links to the hospitality industry, having owned and run pub firm Wykeham Inns, which ran six sites and also held a lease on the Dome, until the business entered administration during the recession in 2008. The company subsequently handed back the lease of the Dome to its owner.