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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 16th Aug 2019 - Jamie Barber buys back Cabana’s London estate through Hush vehicle
Jamie Barber buys back Cabana’s London estate through Hush vehicle: Jamie Barber has acquired the five-strong London estate of Cabana, the Brazilian barbecue group he founded with David Ponte, through his Hush vehicle. Cabana was placed on the market last month. Will Wright and Steve Absolom, of KPMG’s restructuring practice, were appointed joint administrators to Cabana Restaurants Limited (“Cabana”) on Friday (16 August). The premium casual dining brand takes inspiration from the street food of Brazil and operates seven sites in the UK, five of them in London, and employs 224 staff. Immediately following the appointment of the joint administrators, the five London sites and assets were sold to Hush. In total, 156 employees have been transferred with immediate effect. The two underperforming restaurants in Southampton and Manchester are not part of the sale and will close immediately. The London sites will continue to trade as Cabana and operate alongside the company’s Hache group of restaurants and the original Hush in Mayfair. Barber told Propel: “It’s very sad to see the closure of two restaurants in Southampton and Manchester. However, we have acquired all of Cabana’s restaurants in London and protected more than 150 jobs with a package of funding that allows investment into the estate. The trading environment continues to be challenging and despite significant progress Cabana made last year, it has become clear that its long-term future is best served as part of a larger group. The acquisition, which had the support of our shareholders, is an important strategic step for both brands.” Wright said: “Following a thorough marketing process we are pleased to have been able to conclude a sale of the business.” Absolom added: “While it is always pleasing to preserve a significant number of jobs, sadly a number of redundancies are to be made at the restaurants in Manchester and Southampton. Over the coming days our priority is to ensure all employees who have been affected by redundancy receive the information and guidance they need in order to claim monies owed from the Redundancy Payments Office.” Cabana closed three sites last year – in Islington, Brixton and Newcastle – and shuttered its site at the Trinity Centre in Leeds last month after deciding not to renew the lease. Propel understands the company spent last year doing a lot of “heavy lifting”, including speaking to landlords and rebalancing its offer to ensure the business was more robust. 
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