Founders buy Randall & Aubin Manchester out of administration

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

Founders buy Randall & Aubin Manchester out of administration
Randall & Aubin founders Ed Baines and Jamie Poulton have bought the Manchester franchise of their restaurant brand out of administration to operate it themselves.

The second branch of the premium seafood specialist opened in Manchester in April 2016​ under a franchise operated by James Storey, but administrators were appointed earlier this month, BigHospitality's​ sister site MCA​ reports.

The business had accumulated losses of £669,000 despite turning over £1.44m, according to a listing with insolvency practitioners CFS Restructuring.

Baines, who has operated the original Soho restaurant with Poulton for more than 20 years, said the decision was taken to take over the business after it ran into financial difficulties.

Chef Baines told MCA​ the immediate focus was on making the Manchester site profitable, while there were two feasible sites in Edinburgh and London which could be opened under the brand in the medium term.

He said: “The Manchester site has traded fantastically well - it’s had great footfall and great reviews - but unfortunately the guy was not that great at running a business.

“Though there was bums on seats, when it came to financial management he didn’t have enough experience to run a large a la carte seafood restaurant.

“From a public perspective it was very successful, but from a business perspective there was a lot of loose holes.

“We decided with our investors to take over the company, and in order to do that we had to put it into administration to fold the company and take over the new company.”

Baines said the experience did not necessarily put him off the idea of franchising Randall & Aubin in future.

He said: “Franchising is a great idea, but you’ve got to make sure your business model is very manageable. It hasn’t deterred us, but there’s certain ingredients you need and one of those is experience operating a seafood business. It’s a unique business, as tough as it gets in restaurants.

“Randall & Aubin is something we will endeavour to grow further, but for the moment we have to focus on ensuring Manchester becomes profitable.

“We have our eye on something in Edinburgh and something else in London, and they’re both very feasible, but in the short term all our energy and focus is on London and Manchester."

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