Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Restaurant closes as company collapses

A STEAK restaurant in Henley closed unexpectedly after its parent company went into administration.

CAU, in Hart Street, was shut on Thursday last week with a note on the door informing customers that it had “ceased trading indefinitely”.

The store, which is part of the Gaucho restaurant group, opened in January 2015 and was one of 22 across the country to be shut with the loss of up to 540 jobs.

Matthew Smith and Robert Harding, of Deloitte UK, have been appointed joint administrators to oversee the closures and sales of the premises.

Mr Smith said: “Unfortunately the Cau brand has struggled in the oversupplied casual dining sector with rapid overexpansion, poor site selection, onerous lease arrangements and a fundamentally poor guest proposition.

“As such, the decision has been made to close this loss-making part of the group with immediate effect.”

Administrators have said Gaucho’s 16 other sites will remain open while a buyer is sought for that part of the business.

Town manager Helen Barnett said: “It’s a shame when anybody goes but it does give us an opportunity to get in somebody new. A couple of people have been talking to the landlord.

“It’s always nice to have some new blood in the town as well and it would be good to have some more independent restaurants.”

She added: “It is a big unit but it has been re-fitted quite recently. One imagines that it will stay a restaurant, although who knows? It’s right in the heart of the town and in a fabulous location.”

CAU took over the premises from Spanish tapas restaurant La Bodega, which closed suddenly after more than 10 years in the town.

A £1 million refurbishment of the premises was carried out in the months before it reopened.

In July 2016 a fire, believed to have started in some bins and which spread to a timber storeroom, broke out at the restaurant.

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