Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 22nd January 2015
A series of English pubs that trade under a Marco Pierre White brand name have entered administration after their financial woes ran out of control.
A number of suppliers to the pubs are believed to have been left unpaid as the operations in south-east England failed to keep up with their financial obligations.
Celebrity chef and TV personality Marco Pierre White is listed as a director of Horatio Inns Ltd, which owns the four pubs, all of which are in Norfolk.
Three of the four pubs, namely the Chequers Inn, the Wayford Bridge Hotel and the Lifeboat Inn, all trade under Marco Pierre White’s Wheeler’s of St James’s brand name. The final pub of the four to enter administration this week is the Acle Bridge Inn, which isn’t part of the Wheeler’s of St James’s group but is part Mr White’s UK restaurants business.
It is understood that at least one of the remaining five pubs that are also branded under the Wheeler’s of St James’s banner is also facing up to some considerable financial difficulty.
Administrators explained that the four Norfolk businesses entered administration after “experiencing short term cash flow problems arising from the recent challenging economic environment”.
However, the pubs are expected to continue trading as buyers are sought and recovery plans are put in place.
“The venues are very popular and have a healthy number of existing bookings which the administrators fully intend to honour,” the administrators said in a statement.
The issues aren’t the first financial problems to beset Marco Pierre White, who is one of the best known chefs in the country thanks to his appearances on various television shows and his association with his one-time understudy Gordon Ramsay. He was also one of the youngest chefs ever to be awarded three Michelin stars.
White’s flagship Wheeler’s of St James’s pub in London was closed down last year.
A member of staff at the Lifeboat Inn, one of the pubs now in administration, told the Telegraph: “Marco had quite a big role in the business but I think he knew something was wrong, he began stripping a lot of the businesses last week. He has taken things from the lounge in the Lifeboat and parts of the other restaurants.”
“The bills have not been paid for ages, there are a lot of local suppliers who have been let down,” said the employee who asked not to be named.
Restaurants aren’t the only food-related businesses facing up to financial challenges in the UK at present. In fact, a recent report from Begbies Traynor revealed that there were more than twice as many food supply companies around the country in serious financial distress in Q4 2014 than was the case in the same three months of the year before.