Hix - who currently runs five restaurants in London including Hix Soho, Tramshed and Pharmacy 2 as well as a venue in Lyme Regis, Dorset - says that the capital’s restaurant market has become saturated with food businesses of all types and that traditional restaurants are struggling to compete with smaller players that generally have lower costs.
“There’s an awful lot of choice,” Hix told BigHospitality's sister website Food Spark “In Soho, I counted 30 street food stalls in Berwick Street. They don’t have to go through the vigorous health and safety procedures we do, they just set up and open.
“Soho landlords have almost doubled our rent and business rates. It’s becoming more and more difficult to operate and turn a profit,” continues Hix, who believes that landlords have shot themselves in the foot with unsustainable rents.
“Restaurants are just going to move out. You always challenge [the rents], but it is what it is. You get the rent down a little bit, but you still end up paying a hell of a lot. If it’s £200,000 extra rent on business rates, it means you have to earn an extra million quid, which is impossible.
“I am not going to personally do any more restaurants in London. Open the papers and somewhere like Terence Conran has gone tits up, and Jamie Oliver’s closing restaurants. A lot of people are closing rather than opening. Now is a time for everyone to knuckle down and think about stuff.”