Brighton Pier Group receives £1.4m business interruption insurance payout:Brighton Pier Group, which owns and trades Brighton Palace Pier, as well as 12 bars and eight indoor mini-golf sites nationwide, has reported it has received a £1.4m business interruption insurance payout. The company stated: “As announced on 2 November 2020 (together with the company’s final results for the 52 weeks to 28 June 2020), the group has lodged claims with its insurers for business interruption losses arising from closures of the group’s venues. The High Court judgement on 15 September 2020 found the group’s ‘Marsh resilience’ insurance policies are capable of responding to covid-19 business interruption claims. Furthermore, the group’s advisers have indicated the Supreme Court ruling on 15 January 2021 does not change the fundamental principle these policies can respond to claims, subject to appropriate discussion and agreement over the quantum of the arising losses and any applicable policy caps. The group has to date received from its insurers interim payments totalling £1.4m in respect of these losses. While these payments do not satisfy the entirety of the group’s claims, they nevertheless support the group’s overall liquidity which continues to be strong. The company will provide further updates as appropriate. The group also gives notice it intends to publish its interim accounts on Monday, 29 March 2021.” Chief executive Anne Ackord said: “While business interruption insurance is welcome, and the rollout of the vaccination programme provides a route back to normality, we are keen for the government to announce a recovery roadmap for the tourism and hospitality sectors. If businesses in the night-time economy continue to be subject to restrictions after the end of lockdown, the government needs to recognise further ongoing financial support will be required.”
Grant Thornton ‘failed to check Patisserie Valerie cash levels’: Alleged mistakes by Grant Thornton in its auditing of the failed Patisserie Valerie chain have been laid bare in a £225m court claim. The Sunday Times reported papers lodged by FRP Advisory, the liquidator, said Grant Thornton’s negligence meant directors were unaware the cafe group had run out of cash. The case against Grant Thornton centres on allegations it failed to check Patisserie Valerie’s cash position adequately – meaning it did not spot undisclosed overdrafts and accounts. The papers said Grant Thornton failed to ask why the chain received little to no interest on positive bank balances. In 2017, Patisserie Valerie earned £44,000 interest on a recorded bank balance of £22.5m – equivalent to a rate of just 0.2%. FRP also claimed Grant Thornton did not ask why charges for credit card use had fallen from £502,525 in 2014 to £355,899 three years later in a business that was supposedly growing. Patisserie Valerie, listed on AIM in 2014, had 206 cafes. At one point it was valued at more than £450m. Part of the business was sold to Causeway Capital, an Irish private equity firm, in 2019. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the “business and accounting practices of individuals” associated with Patisserie Valerie. Six people have been arrested. The Financial Reporting Council is investigating the Grant Thornton audit. FRP is arguing the board – led by Luke Johnson – would not have paid dividends and would have halted expansion had it been aware of the cash position. Johnson has denied any knowledge of the alleged fraud. Grant Thornton said it would “rigorously defend” the claim and the case “involves sustained and collusive fraud, including widespread deception of the auditors”.
Dishoom confirms Trollip’s promotion to managing director: Indian restaurant group Dishoom has confirmed it has promoted long-term operations director to managing director of its eight-strong business. Trollip has been with the Shamil Thakrar and Kavi Thakrar-founded business for the past decade and been an integral part of the “company’s team of senior Babus”. The company said: “Brian will continue to support the founders and co-ordinate the work of the company’s senior team.” Shamil Thakrar said: “Brian has been part of the Dishoom family since 2011 and has overseen operations as we’ve grown over the past ten years. This past year has been especially challenging for all of us in the industry. Kavi and I are humbled to have had the support of such a strong and resilient team around us, and we look forward to seeing Brian carry even more weight on his very broad shoulders as we move through 2021.” Last month, Dishoom launched a delivery kitchen service in Cambridge – its second outside London.
Rarebreed Dining to launch hot food takeaway offer and at-home box delivery:Restaurant company Rarebreed Dining is launching a hot food takeaway offer along with delivery of its at-home “Dine Inn” boxes. The company created Dine Inn so customers could “enjoy the Rarebreed experience at home” on the back of having to cancel bookings for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, where more than 1,000 people had been booked in. The business put together a Christmas Box and sold almost 200, and had a similar uptake on its New Year’s Eve offer. It has since created a Valentine’s box and also did one for the Superbowl, both of which proved “extremely popular”. Now Rarebreed is adding to its “off-site” offer with hot food being made available via click and collect at three of its four sites – The Plough Inn in Cobham, The Waverley Inn in Weybridge and The Shurlock Inn near Binfield. Managing director Jordan Hallows told Propel: “Our ‘Dine Inn’ boxes have been giving us some fantastic engagement with our customer base. Now we are going to do hot food, including a Sunday roast as well. We’re also going to do our own delivery service for the boxes having put in the systems we need.” Hallows said about 100 of its 115 staff were currently on furlough and has so far not had to make any redundancies. Hallows also said the company was still keen to add a couple of sites to the portfolio this year – but would be taking a measured approach. He added: “We’ve got some catching up to do financially but we want to grow – it’s a long-term business plan we have here.”