The opening date of Corbin & King's long-anticipated Manzi's restaurant in London's Soho has been delayed until next year, according to Jeremy King.
"The situation is that while we retain full control over all policy and operational decisions regarding Corbin & King, the one area where I of course need to defer is capital investment – it is only proper that backers have the say," said King (pictured) of the restaurant which was expected to open last year.
"The problem there was a differing view between us during the pandemic of the best way forward and what the outlook for London would be – and that held us back because there remains a substantial cash outlay needed and we had to be prudent with our available cash. We therefore agreed to stall the development until greater certainty achieved. That seems to be swiftly coming over the horizon so we should be back on site in the New Year and then it won't take long to finish."
The development of new restaurants in Notting Hill and the City have also been on hold for the same reasons, but King said the projects would "crank up" in the New Year.
King once more confirmed that reports the Wolseley in Mayfair was facing eviction were "not a reality" and the group was "in more productive and cordial discussions with the landlord".
The group is also facing a court battle with Axa over the insurer's refusal to pay out to cover losses incurred due to the pandemic. King said the case is due to be in court at the end of January 2022.
Meanwhile, the restaurateur said that venues had been busy over the past four to five weeks with a return to 2019 levels. However, he lamented an "alarmingly rapid rise" in bad behaviour and aggression by guests towards staff and said staffing was "tricky". Soutine was forced to temporarily close earlier this year due to staff shortages, but he said that vacancies were "reducing steadily".
He added: "I think it is starting to ease thanks to a whole series of innovations and it is fair to say that many of our new staff have come from ostensibly respectable restaurants and groups but bringing tales of alarmingly disdainful treatment. There is no chance of this industry getting the respect and support it deserves unless employers realise that there has to be more than just paying enough to attract but then not showing an interest or care in their employees."
However, he said the supply chain was the bigger worry in terms of both availability and pricing, and "could be critical".
Corbin & King also operates the Delaunay, Fischer's, Soutine, Colbert and Brasserie Zédel.