Gordon Ramsay Holdings International made a loss of more than £4m in the year to August 2008 as the celebrity chef rapidly expanded his global restaurant business.
The group's latest accounts, filed at Companies House last week, reveal details of how close Gordon Ramsay's international restaurant empire came to collapse as its UK and European outlets amassed huge losses.
While turnover for the 12 months to 31 August 2008 was £8.37m Gordon Ramsay Holdings International made a pre-tax loss of £4.3m as it expanded too rapidly. In the UK the group incurred a loss of £2.1m on turnover of £2.8m, while at its two European restaurants losses amounted to £2.2m on turnover of £5.5m.
Ramsay and Gordon Ramsay Holdings International chief executive Chris Hutcheson were forced to sink £5m of their own money into the company to avoid its collapse into administration and pay off debt and most of a £7.2m tax bill.
The biggest loss was suffered by Ramsay's first French restaurant at the Trianon Palace hotel in Versailles, which opened in January 2008. The restaurant experienced "tough European trading" and combined with "extensive start-up costs" and "staff liabilities" produced a loss of £1.78m in just eight months of operating. As a result Gordon Ramsay Holdings International handed over control of the running of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant to the hotel last March.
Meanwhile Maze Prague, which opened at the Hilton Prague Old Town in November 2007, made a loss of £409,000 and has been shut down completely.
In the UK, Plane Food at Heathrow's Terminal Five made a loss of £780,767 following the "delays of the terminal becoming operational" which were "beyond the control of the restaurant". Plane Food faced winding-up petitions from the Inland Revenue & Customs at the end of last year over unpaid debts.
London outlets Foxtrot Oscar, which Gordon Ramsay Holdings International acquired in October 2007, and Chiswick gastropub the Devonshire, which launched in October 2007, also made a loss but are "hoped to report a profit" in the coming years.
One of the group's most high profile openings in 2008 was Angela Hartnett's Mayfair restaurant Murano, which only opened at the end of the financial year and made a "small loss" but is expected to report a profit for its first year of trading.
Hutcheson said 2008 was a tough year not just for Gordon Ramsay Holdings International but for the industry as a whole as well as the broader economy.
"The structural changes that we have made within the group leave us well positioned for a strong trading year ahead and further," he said.
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