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Sat 22nd Sep 2018 - Alan Yau’s Babaji Pide closes
Alan Yau’s Babaji Pide closes: Babaji Pide, the Turkish restaurant in London’s Shaftesbury Avenue that was set up by Wagamama founder Alan Yau, has closed. The restaurant’s website reports it is “closed until further notice due to a technical issue”. However, a sign on the door of the restaurant states it had been “closed by the official receiver”. In its most recent accounts, the business owed £2.6m in loans to related parties and had accrued further interest on those loans of £424,000. The company was subject to a compulsory strike off in March this year but the action was discontinued. One source said: “Just proves you can’t make dough from Turkish pizza.” Babaji Pide was opened by Yau in December 2014. Turnover was £1,367,807 in the year to 26 March 2016 (2015: £426,923) and there was an operating loss of £1,038,055 (2015: £1,112,661). The total loss before tax was £1,190,401 (2015: £1,216, 530). Of the opening, Time Out stated: “Not many people saw Babaji coming. In a radical departure from noodle bars, dim sum, Thai and Italian (Princi), Yau has opened a Turkish pizza place near Piccadilly Circus. The Turkish connection was always there but has taken a while to come to fruition. Yau’s wife and oft-times business partner, Jale Eventok, happens to be Turkish, and the first non-UK branch of Hakkasan opened in Istanbul. But while some of Yau’s earlier projects – such as Sake No Hana – have been high in concept and oblivious to budget, Babaji is more in keeping with Yau the man – low-key and modest but delivering the goods with aplomb.” However, a number of brands set up by Yau seem to have struggled to make money. Duck & Rice, a venue in London’s Berwick Street touted as a Chinese gastro-pub when it opened in Soho, saw turnover of £3,480,633 in the 40 weeks to 30 December 2017 and made a loss before tax of £816,463 – it had an operating loss of £422,814 (about £10,000 a week). In the 52 weeks to 25 March 2017, it had a turnover of £4,390,793 but made an operating loss of £702,529. Yau’s Park Chinois had a turnover of £10,831,308 in the year to 25 March 2017 but made an operating loss of £3,069,586. The directors said the loss was “in line with the directors’ expectations given the size and complexity of the restaurant and its projected maturity curve”. However, the restaurant’s net liability position at the period end was £9,099,922. Yau also co-founded Milanese bakery Princi in Wardour Street. Its latest accounts showed it made an operating loss of £584,635 on turnover of £3,998,072 in the 11 months to September 2017 – and had retained losses of £5,2226,784. Yau resigned as a director in June 2016.

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