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Wed 1st Apr 2020 - Benito’s Hat placed into administration
Benito’s Hat placed into administration: Pico’s, the parent company of Benito’s Hat, the Mexican restaurant brand that underwent a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last summer, has been placed into administration. Irvin Cohen and Gary Paul Shankland, of Begbies Traynor, have been appointed joint administrators of the eight-strong business. Propel revealed at the start of last month the business had undergone a restructure that had seen more than half of its eight-strong estate close. The brand’s sites in Oxford Circus, Farringdon and Oxford Westgate had remained open and trading until the government recently told all restaurants and pubs to close due to the coronavirus outbreak. The business had been working with Begbies Traynor on its options, which included seeking further investment or a sale of the business. It is thought expressions of interest were sought by 6 February, with offers sought by 13 February. Propel understood the business, which generates full-year revenue of circa £4.5m, was being offered on an “accelerated sales basis”, which raised the possibility if no buyer or new investment came forward the business would have to be placed into administration. Propel understands up to ten expressions of interest were shown in parts or all of the business. One of these was thought to have been from the company’s chief executive Mike Pearson. Propel understands despite the CVA process, trading at a number of the brand’s sites has remained challenging, including more recent openings in St Albans and at The O2. However, it is thought the business was forecast to return to positive Ebitda this year. Ben Fordham and Felipe Fuentes Cruz founded Benito’s Hat in London in 2008. Fordham stepped back from the business at the end of 2017.

David Roberts to explore how EIS and SEIS could ride to sector’s rescue in latest Premium column: David Roberts, who is head of leisure at leading global law firm CMS and co-founder of skinny chops concept Blacklock, will explore how Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS) could ride to the sector’s rescue in the latest Propel Premium column, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (3 April) at 5pm. Meanwhile, Premium Diary will rummage through the rumour mill looking for nuggets of hope and inspiration. Subscribers will also receive an updated version of the database of multi-site companies next week. Another 100 businesses have been added to the list, taking the total to 1,600. The database features information such as number of sites, type of operation and key people at the business. Subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email

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