Mexican restaurant chain Benito's Hat has filed for administration after the impact of the coronavirus on the restaurant industry left the company "no option" but to cease trading.
In a statement Begbies Traynor, who have also been appointed as administrators, confirmed it had been engaged in late January to assist with marketing Pico's, trading as Benito's Hat, for sale.
While the company's four restaurants at London's O2, King's Cross, Bromley and St Albans are now closed for good, Begbies Traynor confirmed that a sale of the business and assets at four of the restaurants – Covent Garden, Farringdon, Oxford Circus and Oxford Westgate – had been reached with DGMP UK, and it was anticipated that they would "recommence trading from the four sites, as Benito's" once restaurants are allowed to reopen to the public.
The Caterer understands that Michael Pearson, former managing director of Benito's Hat, is part of the newly formed limited company acquiring the business.
In September 2019 it was reported that Benito's Hat entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to renegotiate terms with its landlords, citing "short term" and cashflow challenges.
Benito's Hat, inspired by Mexican street food and vibrant flavours, was founded in 2008 by Ben Fordham and Felipe Fuentes Cruz with the first outlet on Goodge Street in London, followed by sites in Covent Garden, Oxford Circus and King's Cross station.
The company was named after former Mexican president and national hero Benito Juarez and the extravagant hat-and-feather combination that he once wore.