Speaking to the BBC, Wolstencroft said the two national lockdowns and ever-increasing tier restrictions of last year forced him to borrow £4m to secure the future of the 17-strong bar group.
With the onset of the latest six-week lockdown, which will end in the middle of February at the earliest but which is expected to be extended due to the current rising rates of infection, Wolstencroft was forced to go back to his bank and ask for a further £1m.
Arc Inspirations is having to pay rent of up to £16,000 a month on some of its bars even though they remain closed. The accrued debt is expected to take up to six years to pay back, Wolstencroft predicted.
“The money that we are borrowing is really just to stand still,” he told the BBC.
“We’ll be coming out of this in a far worse position with far greater debt and it totally reduces our ability to grow our business for the future.”
“And all of this has been brought about through no fault of our own.”