Latest Breaking News & Hot Updates Around USA OR All Over World

BrewDog CEO James Watt slams ‘clueless’ government as he announces closure of six bars

0 152

The boss of beer chain BrewDog has unleashed a scathing social media attack on the government – branding them ‘clueless’ – while announcing the closure of six of his company’s pubs.

In an astonishing no-holds-barred post, James Watt, warned the UK’s hospitality sector faced ‘sheer rabbit in the headlights paralysis’ from what he dubbed ‘this zombie government’.

The entrepreneur warned half of the UK’s bars, pubs and restaurants could be forced to close ‘due to soaring energy prices and huge cost price increases’.

He also announced that his own brand, currently the UK’s largest craft brewer, would be closing six of its bars – three in London and three in Scotland.

It comes just two weeks after Aberdeen-based chain opened what it claims is the UK’s ‘biggest bar’, at London’s Waterloo station.

The new site is kitted out with ping pong tables, a duckpin bowling alley and a 10ft spiralling slide, alongside other lavish amenities, including an old school icecream van. 

Mr Watt, founder and chief executive of the company, said it was ‘heartbreaking’ to make the decision to close the six sites.

But he said he believed it would ‘be simply impossible to get these bars even close to financial viability’ in the foreseeable future.

Mr Watt, 38, said: ‘Last night we confirmed we were to close six bars around the UK and it is heartbreaking to lose these locations.

The boss of beer chain BrewDog (pictured: James Watt) has unleashed a scathing social media attack on the Government – branding them ‘clueless’ – while announcing the closure of six of his company’s pubs

It comes just two weeks after Aberdeen-based chain opened what it claims is the UK's 'biggest bar', at London's Waterloo station (pictured: The inside of the new bar)

It comes just two weeks after Aberdeen-based chain opened what it claims is the UK’s ‘biggest bar’, at London’s Waterloo station (pictured: The inside of the new bar)

In an astonishing no-holds-barred Linkedin post, James Watt, warned the UK's hospitality sector faced 'sheer rabbit in the headlights paralysis' from what he dubbed 'this zombie government'

In an astonishing no-holds-barred Linkedin post, James Watt, warned the UK’s hospitality sector faced ‘sheer rabbit in the headlights paralysis’ from what he dubbed ‘this zombie government’

‘Reality in the hospitality space is starting to bite and bite hard. And the Government needs to get a grip, now.

Brewdog chief’s astonishing Linkedin rant in full  

Waterloo was amazing, but reality is biting – Liz/Rishi please stop the charade.

2 weeks ago we celebrated the opening of our biggest ever bar – BrewDog Waterloo. From a personal perspective, it was an incredible week, and getting to share the opening night with nearly a thousand Equity Punks was a real privilege.

It’s also the first brand new bar we’ve opened since the first Blueprint bonus was paid, meaning all the bar’s 200 brilliant, hardworking staff will receive 50% of the profits that the location generates.

We knew we would get some attention, and the usual cynics have written it off before we’d even opened (and the number of Twitterati hoping it would close and our fabulous 200 people would all lose their jobs was depressingly high), but sorry to disappoint them – Waterloo has vastly exceeded even our ambitious expectations with over 20,000 visitors in the first 2 weeks alone.

The Waterloo bar in many epitomises where we want to evolve our bar estate. Of course not all our bars can have the scale of Waterloo, but we are looking to do something different with our bars – to provide incredible experiences for our wonderful, fun, loyal customers who want to drink a beautifully brewed beer, in a great environment, served by knowledgeable, passionate people with the option of the food we all love. And we have lots of new openings planned with over 20 locations in construction and planning.

But it’s important the success of Waterloo doesn’t blind us all to the reality we as a sector are facing, nor to the sheer ‘rabbit in the headlights’ paralysis of this zombie government, still intent on this bizarre leadership farce, instead of getting to grips with the kind of challenges that will result in more business causalities than the pandemic did.

Industry experts estimate that up to a staggering 70% of the UK’s bars, pubs and restaurants could be forced to close due to soaring energy prices and huge cost price increases and unfortunately, we are not exempt from these headwinds.

Last night we confirmed we were to close 6 bars around the UK and it is heart-breaking to lose these locations. I warned a few weeks ago, costs are rising to such a degree, with no prospect of any help from a clueless government, that these very difficult decisions have to be made. It was going to be simply impossible to get these bars even close to financial viability in the foreseeable future. We had no choice but to close them. I am so, so happy that due to the strength in other parts of our bar estate, every single person has been offered a role in a separate bar nearby, so there will be no job losses. But I pray this is not a sign of things to come.

Reality in the hospitality space is starting to bite and bite hard. And the government needs to get a grip, now.

If nothing happens the UK looks set to lose half of its pubs and bars and all the millions of jobs these locations provide, as well as the vital role they play in local communities.

 

‘If nothing happens, the UK looks set to lose half of its pubs and bars and all the millions of jobs these locations provide, as well as the vital role they play in local communities.’

Taking aim at the Government, he said: ‘It’s important the success of Waterloo doesn’t blind us all to the reality we as a sector are facing, nor to the sheer ‘rabbit in the headlights’ paralysis of this zombie government, still intent on this bizarre leadership farce, instead of getting to grips with the kind of challenges that will result in more business casualties than the pandemic did.

‘Industry experts estimate that up to a staggering 70 per cent of the UK’s bars, pubs and restaurants could be forced to close due to soaring energy prices and huge cost price increases and unfortunately, we are not exempt from these headwinds.’

It comes a day after industry bosses warned that thousands of pubs and restaurants could go bust in the coming months.

Trade group UKHospitality called on the Government for urgent support through a package of measures lasting until March next year, including VAT cuts, to avoid ‘tens of thousands of job losses’. 

Last month, Britain’s independent brewers urged ministers to step in to save the sector. 

The independent brewers wrote to chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, last week, warning the industry faced ‘grave uncertainty’ and calling for for immediate government intervention.

They said the impact of surging energy bills was being compounded by a fall in sales as households seek to save money.

The letter also warned of shortages of equipment such as kegs, cans and CO2 gas, and a poor hop harvest pushing up prices.

In the letter, also signed by the chair of the Campaign for Real Ales, the brewers said: ‘We have entered one of the most challenging times for the brewing sector.

‘Small brewers are reporting that their energy bills are doubling or trebling, putting their future ability to brew at risk’. 

Meanwhile, research by trade publication, The Morning Advertiser, warned up to 70 per cent of pubs do not expect to survive the winter due to the increase in energy costs.

BrewDog’s closure plans comes just two weeks after it opened its largest bar in Waterloo station.

The 26,500sq ft-drinking hole has opened just a short walk from Waterloo and is kitted out with ping pong tables, a duckpin bowling alley and a 10ft spiralling slide. 

It also comes after Mr Watt earlier this year admitted to being ‘too intense and demanding’ amid a workplace culture row where he was accused of inappropriate behaviour and abusing his power. 

The 38-year-old has been at the centre of a string of misconduct accusations in recent years after being accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women and abuse of power in the workplace. 

But the CEO – whose company has been accused of having a ‘rotten culture’ – said that his actions were done with ‘100% good intentions.’

Speaking with Steven Bartlett on the Diary of a CEO podcast in July, father-of-two Mr Watt revealed: ‘It’s completely fair to say at times in the journey I have been too intense.

‘I have been too demanding, that I have set standards for the team which I would set for myself, and for a lot of the team members that is unattainable.

‘I just pushed for such high standards, unrealistic deadlines, it’s because I was so focused on ‘let’s build the thing, let’s create more jobs, let’s deliver more value for our customers.’

‘The intention was 100% good and because I was so bought in and so focused on that, I did push people too far.’

The sites set to close are Hop and Anchor in Aberdeen, Smithfield Market Arms in London, Hop Hub in Motherwell and its BrewDog bars in Dalston, east London; Old Street (pictured), east London; and Peterhead

The sites set to close are Hop and Anchor in Aberdeen, Smithfield Market Arms in London, Hop Hub in Motherwell and its BrewDog bars in Dalston, east London; Old Street (pictured), east London; and Peterhead

Last night the company stressed that no jobs would be lost as a result of the six closures. Pictured: Brewdog's site in Dalston

Last night the company stressed that no jobs would be lost as a result of the six closures. Pictured: Brewdog’s site in Dalston 

BrewDog's closure plans comes just two weeks after it opened its largest bar in Waterloo station. Pictured: Inside Brewdog's new bar

BrewDog’s closure plans comes just two weeks after it opened its largest bar in Waterloo station. Pictured: Inside Brewdog’s new bar

The 26,500sq ft-drinking hole has opened just a short walk from Waterloo and is kitted out with ping pong tables, a duckpin bowling alley and a 10ft spiralling slide. Pictured: Inside Brewdog's new site

The 26,500sq ft-drinking hole has opened just a short walk from Waterloo and is kitted out with ping pong tables, a duckpin bowling alley and a 10ft spiralling slide. Pictured: Inside Brewdog’s new site

BrewDog's newest bar at London Waterloo (pictured), set over two expansive floors with a slide between the two, podcast studio, co-working area and 'Zoom rooms', duckpin bowling alley, not-for-profit florist and secret cocktail hideaway

BrewDog’s newest bar at London Waterloo (pictured), set over two expansive floors with a slide between the two, podcast studio, co-working area and ‘Zoom rooms’, duckpin bowling alley, not-for-profit florist and secret cocktail hideaway

Last night the company stressed that no jobs would be lost as a result of the six closures.

The sites set to close are Hop and Anchor in Aberdeen, Smithfield Market Arms in London, Hop Hub in Motherwell and its BrewDog bars in Dalston, east London; Old Street, east London; and Peterhead.

A BrewDog spokesman added: ‘All staff have accepted roles in other BrewDog locations. There will be no job losses.

‘This is part of the regular review of our portfolio.

‘With rapidly increasing costs including spiralling energy bills, these bars were a substantial distance from being viable to operate.’

It comes as another brewery boss yesterday warned how soaring energy bills will force pubs to close. Landlords say electric and gas prices have risen 300 per cent.

Small businesses are facing a crisis with soaring energy bills driving up operating costs and making it impossible for some owners to remain viable.

In an open letter today, bosses of six of the UK’s biggest pub and brewing companies called on the Government to act now to avoid ‘real and serious irreversible’ damage to the sector.

This could include introducing an energy price cap for businesses – similar to the cap set for households. 

Andrew Turner, chief operating officer of St Austell Brewery, said he had heard from one tenant who has seen their energy bills soar by more than 400 per cent in the last week.

Andrew Turner, chief operating officer of St Austell Brewery said he had heard from one tenant who has seen their energy bills soar by more than 400 per cent in the last week

Andrew Turner, chief operating officer of St Austell Brewery said he had heard from one tenant who has seen their energy bills soar by more than 400 per cent in the last week

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, also joined calls for financial support to give pubs 'essential headroom'

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, also joined calls for financial support to give pubs ‘essential headroom’

He told Sky News: ‘Unlike consumers, there is no energy price cap for small businesses therefore we are seeing spiralling costs for our tenants, pubs, and breweries.

‘It is totally wiping out the profits they are making, which questions why on earth they would want to open their doors going forward.’

Sasha Lord, night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, also warned today that seven in ten pubs will not make it to winter if there is no intervention to assist with soaring bills.

He told LBC: ‘We are just desperate. It should have been a relaxing bank holiday weekend, but there is fear, the anxiety, the stress that is running across the whole of the UK. We are the fifth biggest industry. 

‘We are in a far worse position now than we were during the pandemic. At least there was some support then. We are just freewheeling into a cliff edge.

‘We will reach a moment where it is too late. Seven out of ten pubs will not make the winter if nothing is done.’

Without any small business alternative to the consumer price cap, operators could face runaway energy costs as the price of gas continues to surge.

Mr Turner has called on the Government to provide greater leadership to avoid the potentially ‘catastrophic’ situation.

He continued: ‘At the moment, it feels like we are sat in the ether, with no significant leader at the top to make decisions.

‘We need the Government to step forward to make decisions, to support our sector, and make sure such a cornerstone of UK business can get through this tough time.’

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, also joined calls for financial support to give pubs ‘essential headroom’.

She said: ‘We are desperately calling for action from the government to give us an energy cap for small businesses and to do a long-term plan with hospitality so we can save pubs and brewers at the heart of our communities by making sure they are taking action to give them essential headroom like cutting VAT, business rates and keeping beer duty low.’

‘We risk losing the British pub forever’: Venues choose between closing down or ‘charging £14 a PINT’ to stay afloat with some now shutting for two days a week and cutting menu items amid £80,000 spikes in energy bills

By Elena Salvoni and Brittany Chain for MailOnline

British pubs are reducing their hours and closing down as energy bills skyrocket by tens of thousands of pounds, with landlords describing it as ‘an even bigger crisis than Covid’.

Pub and brewery bosses have warned of gas and electricity prices rising by as much as 300%, wiping out profits and forcing many to close. 

Six of the UK’s biggest pub and brewing company leaders called for urgent intervention by the Government in an open letter published yesterday.

Many are now having to put prices up to try to cover increasingly steep costs, but one landlord said it would be impossible ‘unless you charge £10-14 a pint’.

Business owners are calling for immediate intervention from the incoming Prime Minister, amid warnings that spiraling costs could spell the death of the British pub.

Here, MailOnline examines the tough choices landlords, café owners and restaurateurs are having to make amid soaring energy prices… 

Ye Olde Fleece Inn in Kendal, which dates back to 1654, has seen a huge increase of £80,000 to it’s annual electricity bill

Ye Olde Fleece, Highgate, Kendal: Increase of £80,000 to annual electricity bill

Ye Olde Fleece Inn in Kendal, which dates back to 1654, has seen a huge increase of £80,000 to it’s annual electricity bill.

The beloved historic pub currently pays £44,000 for its annual electricity bill, but was last week quoted £124,000 for the 12 months from Christmas. 

‘It is absolutely horrendous,’ Chris Moss, a director of Westmorland Hospitality, which runs the Fleece, told MailOnline.

‘The government needs to get a grip on this or we risk losing the British pub forever.’ 

‘We have to make that decision. Are they going to intervene? or are we just going to move forward and say the pub is going to be no more?’

He said while they had expected their bill to rise they were so shocked by how much it had gone up they had to check it with their broker, adding it has ‘probably increased again since then.’ 

The company said it is going to look at its energy consumption to try and keep its bills down by reducing hours and the food offering.

‘We are changing the way we cook because we simply can’t afford it,’ Mr Moss said, adding that they are looking at reducing the use of high energy grills to keep costs down.

Westmorland Hospitality has 80 staff across the three pubs it owns, with Mr Moss saying that many are ‘stressed’ by the increasingly tight margins.

He added that without support for the sector, hospitality workers across the UK could lose their jobs, plunging many into poverty. 

The Fontmell, Shaftesbury: Michelin Guide gastropub closed ‘with immediate effect’ as bills rocket by £58,000

Upmarket Dorset pub, The Fontmell, which featured in the 2022 Michelin Guide, announced it would close its doors 'with immediate effect' yesterday - as its bills are going up by £58,000

Upmarket Dorset pub, The Fontmell, which featured in the 2022 Michelin Guide, announced it would close its doors ‘with immediate effect’ yesterday – as its bills are going up by £58,000

Upmarket Dorset gastropub The Fontmell, which featured in the 2022 Michelin Guide, announced it would close its doors ‘with immediate effect’ yesterday – as its bills are going up by an astonishing £58,000.

The closure of the B&B and pub in Shaftesbury, Dorset, has shocked the local community with punters saying it is in a ‘prosperous’ area.

The Fontmell’s Director John Crompton posted on Facebook that the pub no longer felt happy to pass the huge cost of energy bills onto their guests.

‘The reality is unless you charge £10-14 a pint, and £40 for a main course, then you’ve got no chance of survival, and I’m not going to pay that, and you’re not going to pay that. It’s an impossible ask,’ he told the i

The Fontmell's Director John Crompton posted on Facebook that the pub no longer felt happy to pass the huge cost of energy bills onto their guests.

The Fontmell’s Director John Crompton posted on Facebook that the pub no longer felt happy to pass the huge cost of energy bills onto their guests.

Management at The Fontmell, Shaftesbury, posted on Facebook about its closure, a decision they said 'has not been made lightly'

Management at The Fontmell, Shaftesbury, posted on Facebook about its closure, a decision they said ‘has not been made lightly’

Mr Crompton posted on Facebook: ‘It is with a heavy heart and great regret to say that The Fontmell will close with immediate effect other than to honour the bed and breakfast bookings that we already have.

‘This is not a decision that has been made lightly and we would like to thank all our guests for their support and help over the last 6 and a half years.’

Laura Barton, who had a table booked at the Fontmell for Sunday lunch, told the Bournemouth Echo the closure of the pub in a ‘prosperous’ area is ‘concerning’, as businesses and consumers face an ‘iceberg’ of mounting costs.

A popular Buckinghamshire gastropub has seen its bills almost treble from £25,000 to £70,000 for the year for our gas and electricity

A popular Buckinghamshire gastropub has seen its bills almost treble from £25,000 to £70,000 for the year for our gas and electricity

Landlord Henry Cripps told MailOnline that to save the ailing hospitality industry 'some serious intervention is needed by whoever takes the hot seat at Number 10'

Landlord Henry Cripps told MailOnline that to save the ailing hospitality industry ‘some serious intervention is needed by whoever takes the hot seat at Number 10’

The Three Oaks, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire: Bills up from £25,000 to £70,000-a-year

A popular Buckinghamshire gastropub has seen its bills almost treble from £25,000 to £70,000 for the year for our gas and electricity.

Landlord Henry Cripps told MailOnline that to save the ailing hospitality industry ‘some serious intervention is needed by whoever takes the hot seat at Number 10.’

 ‘At a time when many suppliers are refusing to supply hospitality businesses or asking for bonds equivalent to six months to a years use age it is an incredibly worrying time to be in hospitality, which can be so rewarding and enjoyable.

‘We will try and do everything we can to mitigate these extraordinary increases whilst protecting our team and our fabulous patrons.

He added that ‘so many of our friends in the industry struggle due to costs increasing across the board’ and that concern is increasing as they go into winter. 

John Wilkins, 55, who has been the landlord at The Royal Oak in Burford for eight years, told the MailOnline his electricity bill has doubled since this time last year, increasing by ¿thousands¿

John Wilkins, 55, who has been the landlord at The Royal Oak in Burford for eight years, told the MailOnline his electricity bill has doubled since this time last year, increasing by ‘thousands’

The Royal Oak, Burford: Electricity bill has ‘doubled’ 

John Wilkins, 55, who has been the landlord at The Royal Oak in Burford for eight years, told the MailOnline his electricity bill has doubled since this time last year, increasing by ‘thousands’.

He said while they have been ‘fairly lucky’ that they are still experiencing footfall from the tourist season, ‘winter is going to be pretty tough’.

When asked if the pub could reduce it’s hours or shutdown completely, Mr Wilkins said ‘You can’t rule anything out… we are a little bit worried, there’s no doubt about that.’

‘We’re in the same boat as all pubs right now.’

He added that the energy ‘crisis’ is ‘100 per cent worse than Covid’.

Landlords at The Park in East Lancashire, expressed their heartbreak at its closure, which they described as 'unavoidable' as they expect things will only get worse

Landlords at The Park in East Lancashire, expressed their heartbreak at its closure, which they described as ‘unavoidable’ as they expect things will only get worse

The Park, East Lancashire: Closing down is ‘unavoidable’

 Another popular pub and restaurant, located in East Lancashire, also announced it is closing it’s doors, with costs no longer adding up. 

Darina and Craig Currie, landlords at The Park in Great Harwood, took to Facebook to express their heartbreak at its closure, which they described as ‘unavoidable’ as they expect things will only get worse.

After weathering the storm of Covid, which they described as ‘an incredibly difficult 12-18 months’,  the couple said that things were ‘finally looking up’.  

But they said, they are now ‘facing an even bigger crisis’.

They pointed to the ‘constant rising cost of beer, food and most importantly the utilities,’ adding: ‘We simply can’t afford to keep the pub open based on the current situation. 

The Park is a popular pub and restaurant, located in Great Harwood, East Lancashire

The Park is a popular pub and restaurant, located in Great Harwood, East Lancashire

The Park's landlords pointed to the 'constant rising cost of beer, food and most importantly the utilities'

The Park’s landlords pointed to the ‘constant rising cost of beer, food and most importantly the utilities’

The landlords thanked loyal staff and customers, adding 'we are very sad that your favourite watering hole will no longer be there'

The landlords thanked loyal staff and customers, adding ‘we are very sad that your favourite watering hole will no longer be there’

‘It is sad but unavoidable, the numbers don’t add up and things are going to get more difficult, that’s the truth.’

The pub will be closing its doors from Monday 5 September, as its owner Admiral Taverns is currently looking for a new tenant to take it over. 

It is listed on their website for £21,000.

The Curries said ‘the brewery can’t find anyone (for now) to run it for the exact reasons that we are leaving (overheads). Hopefully this won’t be forever but in this current climate we just don’t know.’

The couple thanked loyal staff and customers, adding ‘we are very sad that your favourite watering hole will no longer be there’.

The Gillygate, in York city centre. The pub's monthly bills have gone up a whopping £1,600, with payments rising from £900 a month to £2,500

The Gillygate, in York city centre. The pub’s monthly bills have gone up a whopping £1,600, with payments rising from £900 a month to £2,500

The Gillygate, York: 300-year-old pub closes as bills have ‘almost trebled’

A historic pub in York city centre, which dates back to 1811, has also closed after its monthly bill almost trebled. 

The Gillygate’s monthly bills have gone up a whopping £1,600, with payments rising from £900 a month to £2,500.

Brian Furey, who ran the pub for eight years, told the BBC, ‘It’s almost laughable, you get your bill and look at it and go ‘we can’t do that’.’

He said his team has tried to keep The Gillygate running and had considered whether Christmas might give it a welcome boost.

Mr Furey even said he contemplated taking out a loan to keep the beloved pub open, but said profits would not have covered the debt.

Brian Furey, who ran The Gillygate (pictured) for eight years, told the BBC , 'It's almost laughable, you get your bill and look at it and go "we can't do that".'

Brian Furey, who ran The Gillygate (pictured) for eight years, told the BBC , ‘It’s almost laughable, you get your bill and look at it and go ‘we can’t do that’.’

The Crown Inn, North Yorkshire: Reducing opening hours to cope with costs 

Another pub has decided to close its doors for two days a week in order to cope with spiralling costs. 

The Crown Inn, in Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire, made the decision to close on Mondays and Tuesdays after their energy bills soared.

The Crown Inn, in Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire, made the decision to close on Mondays and Tuesdays after their energy bills soared. Owner Paul Dixon (right), who runs the pub, said: 'It was a tough decision'

The Crown Inn, in Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire, made the decision to close on Mondays and Tuesdays after their energy bills soared. Owner Paul Dixon (right), who runs the pub, said: ‘It was a tough decision’

Owner Paul Dixon, who runs the pub, said: ‘It was a tough decision to take but we are a seasonal pub and it gets quiet in the winter.

‘When you have got the prices of fuel going up to turn all the equipment on it all adds up – it’s not viable.’

Five Fox Lane, Leicester: Bills to rise from £10,000 a year to £55,000 a year

A small family-owned café is facing a 450 per cent hike in electricity prices in yet another example of the spiraling cost of living crisis. 

Five Fox Lane in Leicester is at risk of permanently closing after owner Jan Gillbanks received notice her annual electricity bill was jumping from £10k to £55k.

A small family-owned café is facing a 450 per cent hike in electricity prices in yet another example of the spiraling cost of living crisis

A small family-owned café is facing a 450 per cent hike in electricity prices in yet another example of the spiraling cost of living crisis

Five Fox Lane in Leicester is at risk of permanently closing after owner Jan Gillbanks received notice her annual electricity bill was jumping from £10k to £55k

Five Fox Lane in Leicester is at risk of permanently closing after owner Jan Gillbanks received notice her annual electricity bill was jumping from £10k to £55k

Ms Gillbanks told MailOnline she had to have a tough conversation with her seven loyal staff to inform them that the exorbitant costs may force them out of a job.

Pictured: The cheapest quote Ms Gillbanks could find after shopping around

Pictured: The cheapest quote Ms Gillbanks could find after shopping around

‘That’s a last resort,’ she said. ‘We’re hoping the government will step in and put a cap on electricity prices.’

The business owner said she and her staff are all coping but it’s a ‘sad’ development in the uphill battle to stay afloat during and after Covid.

‘We’d only been open two months and then Covid happened and we had to close… We’ve just finished one full year of trading and now this. It feels like one long battle.’

Ms Gillbanks has felt the cost of living crisis at her hip pocket like most over recent months but ‘never expected’ such a sudden and astronomical jump in prices.

‘You hear it on the news all the time, but it doesn’t really sink in until it’s in paper form and you’re staring at it thinking of solutions,’ she said.

The businesswoman initially was hopeful she could ring around with competitors to get a better deal but quickly realised that wasn’t the case.

‘Nobody wants to do it,’ she said. ‘The best deal I can get is £55,000 for one year. But even then, they’re saying it could jump to £80,000 next year.

‘It’s unsustainable. No small business can pay that.’  

In spite of the huge shock, Ms Gillbanks is hopeful she’ll find a way to stay afloat for the time being. But she fears a further price hike after Christmas could be ‘the nail in the coffin’ – if it doesn’t come sooner.

The business owner (second from the left) said she and her staff (pictured together) are all coping but it's a 'sad' development in the uphill battle to stay afloat during and after Covid

The business owner (second from the left) said she and her staff (pictured together) are all coping but it’s a ‘sad’ development in the uphill battle to stay afloat during and after Covid

Ms Gillbanks and her son both shared the letter she received which explained the price hike (pictured)

Ms Gillbanks and her son both shared the letter she received which explained the price hike (pictured)

Ms Gillbanks is on the lookout for other ways to cut costs, including forking out on more energy efficient fridges and turning down the temperature on the water.

Even still, by her estimations these measures will only save about £5,000 a year – meaning she’s still out of pocket an extra £40,000 compared to last year.

The Firebrick Brasserie in Lauder, Berwickshire: Restaurateur closes family business as costs quadruple

A restaurant owner who has had to close his family business due to soaring energy prices said he hopes protections will be put in place to help others.

David Haetzman, 49, was forced to shut his restaurant, the Firebrick Brasserie in Lauder, near Edinburgh, earlier in August.

Mr Haetzman said he made the difficult decision after the restaurant’s energy bills near quadrupled, shooting up from £1,000 a month to nearly £4,000. 

David Haetzman, 49, was forced to shut his restaurant, the Firebrick Brasserie in Lauder, near Edinburgh, earlier in August

David Haetzman, 49, was forced to shut his restaurant, the Firebrick Brasserie in Lauder, near Edinburgh, earlier in August

The chef told the PA news agency: ‘We’re heartbroken and pretty distraught. Obviously we have put a lot into the business over the last seven years.

‘We’re very passionate about what we do and it’s pretty heartbreaking to have to close.

‘The cost-of-living crisis, and in particular the energy prices, is the thing that sent us over the edge.’

He said: ‘The last few years have been very difficult with Covid, which we managed to get through. The price in base ingredients increased and all of our prices went through the roof.

Mr Haetzman said he made the difficult decision after the restaurant's energy bills shot up from £1,000 a month to nearly £4,000

Mr Haetzman said he made the difficult decision after the restaurant’s energy bills shot up from £1,000 a month to nearly £4,000

‘It was impossible for us to make that sustainable. Customers were still coming through the door but they spent less, as their cost of living increased too.’

The closure of the restaurant inevitably led to redundancies.

Mr Haetzman said: ‘It’s really hard. We had a small team but a really good team for a long time, and it’s very difficult to let people go.’

His three children, Alex, 23, Charlie, 17, and Sophie, 15, were also working in the family business.

‘It’s a sad day for all of us. What we will miss the most is serving our customers. We are very passionate about producing good food,’ he said.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.