According to Alimentum staff, owners Gary Randall and Paul Gumbley closed the restaurant with immediate effect after deciding not to put any money into the maintenance and refurbishment needed to keep business profitable.
As a result of the closure, it is alleged that all employees were made redundant immediately, and the owners have not, and are not likely to pay any of the restaurant’s employees and suppliers the money they are owed.
“Myself, Samira and all the team gave it our all,” says general manager John Moss.
“The owners secured a three month rent free period and told us we had a chance to make it work, which we did. They took all the money that we made for them, cashed it in and then closed the business, leaving all staff and suppliers unpaid.”
According to Randall and Gumbley the loss of the star and longstanding head chef Mark Poynton caused an immediate decline in the restaurant's fortunes.
“We lost the star last year and it had an effect that was more drastic than I’d anticipating,” says Randall.
“We had Samira Effa take over from Mark Poynton, and John Moss who was the general manager suggested that they run the restaurant. We let them have a go at running the restaurant for three months, and we injected a significant amount of money into it, but we looked at the numbers and there was no way the restaurant could make any money.”
According to Randall, the staff’s allegations about not being paid are untrue, and any misunderstandings surrounding pay will be related to the time it takes to organise payments following an insolvency.
“All the staff are paid monthly on the last day of the month. They were paid on the 27th of September and they always have been since I’ve been involved with the business,” says Randall.
“We appoint insolvency specialists, so they may have to wait a while for the pay because it goes through the relevant government office, but they will get paid.”
When asked about Alimentum’s suppliers that have not been paid from and those that were never paid when Randall and Gumbley’s other restaurant, The White Horse, went into liquidation in July, the owners said that it is “just the nature of a business going into insolvency”.
“Our suppliers are generally paid at the end of the following month, and there are always going to be suppliers that won’t get paid everything that they’re owed,” says Randall.