Vacherin pulls out of financially unsustainable contract at Whitechapel Gallery

07 January 2011 by
Vacherin pulls out of financially unsustainable contract at Whitechapel Gallery

Vacherin quit its contract at the Whitechapel Gallery early because it was "financially difficult to sustain", the company has said.

Smart Hospitality, with the assistance of 2009 Catey Chef Award winner Angela Hartnett, has taken over the contract, it was announced this week.

The boutique London caterer began a five-year contract with the East End art gallery in April 2008 and it was the company's first public restaurant project.

As well as operating a 40-cover dining room in a former library, Vacherin ran a café-bar on the mezzanine level of the Whitechapel Gallery.

However Phil Roker, owner and commercial director at the caterer, said the decision was to taken to terminate Vacherin's involvement at the end of 2010. He blamed the varying footfall patterns at the gallery for the business model's failure.

"The business suffers from peaks and troughs according to the popularity of the exhibitions and gallery closures between exhibitions," he explained. "This, coupled with the impact of its fringe location upon the events side of the business, made it financially difficult to sustain."

Roker described it as a unique situation that didn't impact any other aspect of Vacherin's business.

"We wish Robin and the team at Smart Hospitality every success," he added.

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By Janie Stamford

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