Sunday, 1 October 2017

River Cottage closes its Plymouth restaurant and now has only 3 units.


Hugh Fernley Whittingstall's River Cottage brand, raised £1m on Crowdcube by way of a mini bond in 2014. The money was to open new restaurants. 3 years later, they have fewer restaurants than they did then.


In the pitch for £1m, River Cottage made it quite clear that this £1m was to open new units over the next 5 years - taking then from 4 to 7. It already had 4 units (one was opening in conjunction with the raise).

In May of this year, this appeared in The Caterer - 

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen and Deli in Plymouth has closed suddenly, according to the Plymouth Herald.
After six years in business, “lorries were seen hauling away furniture and parts of the kitchen” from the restaurant at the Royal William Yard and the unit was “left deserted”, reports the paper.
A spokesperson for River Cottage told The Herald the site had “struggled” and the decision has been made to close the restaurant 

So this Plymouth unit had struggled? It opened in 2011, 3 years before they raised the CC bond. According to the pitch, Plymouth was a great success. It was RC's largest unit so closure will have had a major impact on revenues - see here for the piece we wrote on RC in Jan 17. The company as at March 2016, was already making large losses, with revenues stagnant at £4.4m. Plymouth accounted for at least £1.5m of the 2014 £4m t/o.  
285 Crowdcube punters must now wait another 18 months to see if their principle sum will be repaid. One thing is for sure; it wont be taken out of revenues from new restaurants. They raised another £396k in equity in 2016. Accounts for YE March 17 due out before Christmas. 

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I live in Plymouth, I've eaten at the Royal William Yard restaurant, and found it very, very busy. Royal William Yard is (for Plymouth) a high rent location (it's all Grade 1 listed), but I'd still expect that level of turnover to be making good profits.

    Food was good but not exceptional, and the tables were packed in too tightly for a supposedly-upmarket restaurant. Maybe I wasn't the only diner who felt no strong inclination to go more often?

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