Founder of the award-winning Seafood Pub Company Joycelyn Neve has said she is "heartbroken" to have appointed administrators to the 10-site group after failing to secure a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL).
Neve, who won the Pub and Bar Award at the 2016 Cateys, founded Seafood Pub Company when she was 25 years old with the 2010 opening of the Oyster & Otter in Blackburn, growing the business across the north west.
The seafood-led concept was born out of her family's history in the fishing industry, which dates back to the 18th century, with her father Chris most recently co-founding Fleetwood fish firm C&G Neve.
In a statement Neve said: "Seafood Pub Company has filed notice of intention to appoint administrators. Unable to access government support from a CBIL, an internal fundraise followed with the bank and investors.
"Whilst both were supportive, the investor fundraise failed, as did a subsequent management buyout attempt. Without funding, and no income since the forced closure, the business will go into administration.
"It goes without saying I am truly heartbroken to have lost the business, but even more so for my team and seafood family. We fought as hard as possible, every step of the way and I am just so sorry that we weren't able to save the business. I can't thank the team, guests, suppliers, and everyone who has been part of Seafood Pub Company enough, for their support and friendship the past nine years and especially for the kindness and well wishes at this incredibly difficult time."
One-off expenses such as system improvements, restructuring and the exit of one non-core site, the Roaming Roosters farm shop and café in Higham near Burnley, had pushed the company to a £1.2m loss in 2018. However, in a strategic report for the company Neve said she did not expect the costs to repeat in future years with turnover having continued to rise and gross profits for the same year at just under £2.5m.
Neve is also a non-executive director of the British Institute of Innkeeping and is a vocal campaigner for promoting careers in hospitality.