Russell Norman and Richard Beatty’s pioneering restaurant group, Polpo, has agreed a restructuring plan that includes selling two of its restaurants. Polpo, which owed £550,000 to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in unpaid tax and had struggled with management overspending in recent months, passed its Company Voluntary Arrangement with a 98 percent approval from creditors.
The arrangement includes the eventual sale of two restaurants: Polpetto, in Soho, which is on the market for £95,000 per year in rent months after a major relaunch with Anthea Stephenson as head chef, and the Polpo restaurant in Notting Hill. Stephenson left her position as head chef just two months into her tenure, as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the restaurant group.
Norman and Beatty said in a statement:
Polpo Ltd faced an uncertain future in 2018 after a combination of over-investment in head office infrastructure and a focus on expensive but ultimately ineffective marketing initiatives. Since taking the reins of the business back in October last year, Beatty has slashed over £1m from top-end costs and invested in talent in the restaurants’ kitchens and front of house.
We now have an opportunity to go back to basics, return to the core values that distinguished us when we first opened on Beak Street in 2009, and reconnect with our large fan-base.
A letter sent to creditors proposing the CVA said that “the key management team were not as engaged in the day-to-day promotion and management of the business.” This team, hired by Norman and Beatty, has now exited the business, with the founders apparently wishing to return to the restaurant group’s roots.