The boss of Venetian-inspired restaurant chain Polpo has announced plans to sell a third site, despite a record-breaking final quarter of 2017.
Managing director Scott Macdonald revealed that the brand’s Exeter branch had been placed on the market in the same week that it closed restaurants in Bristol and central London.
He explained that the Exeter and Bristol sites had struggled, while an offer that “could not be refused” was made for Ape & Brew in the capital’s Shaftesbury Avenue.
Macdonald said: “It is never much fun closing a restaurant. It’s much more fun opening them.
“We have closed two in the last week after months of negotiations. Neither decision has been sudden, nor have they been easy, but they were both positive in their own ways.”
The Ape & Bird, which made a profit for the four years it operated as Polpo, has been sold to craft brewery BrewDog for a “very generous premium” and will reopen before the end of February as BrewDog Seven Dials.
All of Ape & Bird’s staff were redeployed to other restaurants within the group.
Macdonald added: “In the case of Bristol we realised Polpo wasn’t right for Whiteladies Road. Although business was strong Thursday through to Sunday, we struggled at lunch and early weekdays. We have sold the lease to a local operator and we have offered our staff opportunities within the estate or advice and support where we have not been able to relocate them.
“We have been actively marketing Polpo Exeter for the same reasons and have positive expectations for the site there.”
The managing director said it would be “tempting and convenient” to blame negative market forces for the sales but insisted that the company enjoyed a record-breaking final quarter of 2017 and had plans for the expansion of the Polpo and Spuntino brands in 2018.
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