The co-founder of London-based casual dining group Balans Soho Society has taken the estate off the market in favour of a restructure that has saved 120 jobs, with five of their original seven sites to reopen on Thursday.
Speaking to The Caterer, co-founder David Taylor said that following negotiations with landlords and a cash injection from investor friends, he had restructured and saved the business, having originally put the estate on the market at the end of May.
Five of Balans' seven sites, including the cafe-bar and restaurant outlets in Soho, will reopen on Thursday. Balans Ealing and Balans Victoria will not reopen due to rent costs and lack of footfall.
Taylor said that negotiations with landlords had been "mixed", with all except one having agreed new terms but that the overall outcome had been sufficient to continue operating.
"It was quite a scary couple of weeks to go through but it's all been very successful and we're now organised."
Taylor said he planned to shift towards a more continental café-style operation and that he and his team would be focusing more on marketing the brand to a wider audience.
"We've always been a little bit shy – we're very well known by the people who know us but there are a lot of people who aren't aware of us."
Taylor also anticipated that consumers would increasingly be looking for a more local neighbourhood feel, rather than a corporate one, with chefs in the kitchen using fresh, quality ingredients, even if it cost the operator more.
As part of the reopening, Balans will be participating in the Eat Out to Help Out voucher scheme and launch a new cocktail dedicated to chancellor Rishi Sunak – a porn star martini with extra shot of vodka.
Balans Soho Society began as a sandwich shop on Old Compton Street in 1987 and went on to operate seven sites in Clapham, Seven Dials , Kensington, Soho, Westfield Shepherd's Bush and Westfield Stratford City (pictured).
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