Criterion restaurant blames rent hike for administration
The Criterion restaurant in London's Piccadilly has blamed a 60% hike in its rent for its collapse into administration yesterday.
A recent review by the restaurant's landlord resulted in the increase in rent as well as a demand for £517,000 in arrears, which in turn led its owners to decide that administration was the most "viable option".
The restaurant, once owned by Marco Pierre White, was built in 1874 and was once known as either the Long Bar or Marble Hall. It is part of the 120,000 sq ft Criterion Theatre block, which is owned by the Crown Estate.
The Grade II-listed venue is famed for its neo-Byzantine golden mosaic ceiling.
Current owner Vox Restaurant, operated by Georgian entrepreneurs Vasily, Irakly and Nino Sopromadze, took the restaurant over from White in 2009, promising a "gentle and sympathetic" restoration of the business. However it reopened to mixed reviews.
A statement on the restaurant's website confirmed that Peter Kubik and Andrew Andronikou of UHY Hacker Young are acting as administrators of Vox Restaurant Limited, trading as the Criterion restaurant.
The Criterion statement said: "Following a recent rent assessment the rent for the property has increased by 60%.
"Due to a demand being made by the landlord for rent arrears created by the assessment in the sum of £517,000 the directors sought financial advice from Peter Kubik of UHY, London office. It was decided that administration was the most viable option as it allows the business to continue to trade as normal whilst the administrators market the business for sale.
"The Criterion restaurant is open for business as usual and has been performing very successfully in recent times, being open for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, as well as in hosting many award dinners, fashion shows, filmings, corporate and private events, and also being featured more than once in hit series like Downton Abbey. The Criterion has also been a popular wedding destination and praised by such publications as Elle and Conde Nast's BRIDES Magazine."
The restaurant has changed hands several times over the past 20 years, and before White bought it in 2001 it was part of Forte, when it was managed by My Kinda Town.