Ethical caterer Gold & Brown has been forced into administration after only a year of trading when a drop in sales over the summer meant the business was no longer sustainable.
Co-founder Andrea Walwyn told Caterer that Gold & Brown had become "a victim of the times".
"It's difficult because banks just aren't helping small businesses get through the recession," she said. "An overdraft was declined simply because of timing. It's like they just pulled the plug."
The number of Gold & Brown outlets was reduced from five to three in an effort to save the company from collapse, but sales volumes didn't meet the necessary targets to sustain the fixed overheads.
Walwyn and her business partner and co-founder Simon Elliot came close to securing the necessary investment to continue trading, however it fell through at the last minute.
They considered a pre-pack administration service but decided against that route as, according to Walwyn, "We felt it would go against the principles on which the company was built and would not be ethical to their creditors."
Of the three Gold & Brown outlets, two have returned in-house.
Walwyn's new catering venture AJ's, which launched 1 October, will take over the Harrogate site. It will now be called AJ's at the Academy.
She added: "There's definitely a market for a Gold & Brown type of company, but at the right time, in the right market and with a balance of commercial and business and industry."
Elliot was previously strategic sales and marketing manager at Duchy Catering, which fell into administration at the start of the year before being bought by Graysons Restaurants.
Gold & Brown was a 2008 Caterersearch Web Award winner for best Foodservice Website and it was recently ago it was short-listed for the Yorkshire Life Food & Wine 2009 Awards for Hospitality Innovation.
By Janie Stamford
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