Chef and restaurateur David Mooney is to "completely re-evaluate" his Manchester-based restaurant, Beef & Pudding, following a series of closures of sites that used to form part of the New Moon Pub Company.
Beef & Pudding on Booth Street will continue to operate until Christmas but will then review operations in January according to Mooney, whose new company Carrwood Catering bought several sites from the in-administration New Moon Pub Company.
Mooney and business partner Paul Newman (pictured) launched the New Moon Pub Company in 2011 but Newman left in September 2016 at around the time it entered administration.
Four companies associated with the group are now in liquidation and a total of some £4m is owed to unsecured creditors across the four businesses. They include New Moon Pub Company trading as the Old Sessions House, Casa Matta, the Montgomery, Mockingbird Taprooms and the Bronx; New Moon Pub Company (Kelsall) trading as the Lord Binning in Kelsall, Cheshire; NMPC; and New Moon Pub Company (Manchester) trading as Beef & Pudding.
Debts owed across the four businesses include over £70,000 to R Noone & Son, a Manchester-based fruit and vegetable supplier; almost £60,000 to Hogans Butchers in Liverpool; over £51,000 to Westport Foods, a fish and seafood supplier in Staffordshire; and £500,000 to Natwest bank.
Mooney said he hoped to with work with out-of-pocket suppliers to help them to regain what they were owed over the next six to eight years.
Casa Matta near Northwich, the Mockingbird Taproom in Chester and the Bronx bar in Knutsford have all closed in recent months.
Mooney said that one of the major pitfalls of the business was the rate at which they opened their restaurants. He said: "We opened sites far too quickly. Opening a site, even a small simple Italian is going to cost you a reasonable amount of money. All profits we made went back in to the company. Our former financial director told us things that were wrong and we just pushed on thinking everything was hunky dory. I am a simple chef - it was just a whirlwind and just got to a stage where we were just firefighting all the time."
Beef & Pudding along with the Lord Binning, the Old Blind School in Liverpool, the Old Sessions House in Knutsford, and the Montgomery pub and kitchen in Eastham Village on the Wirral all continue to trade under Carrwood Catering.
Mooney is feeling more positive about the future with Carrwood. He said: "My wife is now working with me which is a great help going forward, she's had considerable years' experience and we are a very strong team. It's a challenge but it's one that the team are really taking to. We are a leaner, more efficient ship than we were at New Moon which I am pleased about. We are working really hard to keep the 160 people in jobs, which is the paramount thing."
Mooney and Newman opened their first site, the Lord Binning, a 100-cover gastropub, in August 2011.
"It's a very testing market at the moment." Mooney said, "The catering industry has grown faster than I have ever known in my 30 years of working. The margins are miniscule for most operators at the minute and who knows where it's going. It's a very hard trading environment at the moment and I think there will be more casualties."