North west-based chef-restaurateur Paul Heathcote has been forced to close a second restaurant in as many days, with his Leeds Olive Press the latest victim of the tough eating-out market.
The Olive Press restaurant in Leeds closed last Wednesday (25 August), with 17 redundancies.
Heathcote was unavailable for comment, but a spokeswoman for the nine-strong restaurant group said the site had simply suffered from a fall in footfall post recession, and the “tough decision” had been taken to close it.
Staff at the restaurant were offered roles within the group, she said, but as the next restaurant was some 50 miles away none had accepted. Despite this, Heathcote is in talks with local restaurateurs in Leeds to see if Olive Press staff can find alternative roles elsewhere.
The news comes days after it was revealed that the chef’s flagship Liverpool restaurant, Simply Heathcotes, had closed after 10 years.
Heathcote blamed the closure of the restaurant on the demolition of a nearby bridge link, which significantly reduced footfall to the area.
“The location changed and the demolition of the bridge made a significant difference. Before we had between 1,500 and 2,000 people walk past the restaurant every day – now we’ve become a destination restaurant,” Heathcote told Caterersearch.
“You can blame the recession or the increased competition but I don’t think this had much to do with it.”
By Chris Druce
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