The Wolseley Hospitality Group 'forced to close' Café Wolseley at Bicester Village

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Wolseley Hospitality Group 'forced to close' Café Wolseley at Bicester Village

Related tags: The Wolseley Hospitality Group, Corbin and King, Minor International, Restaurant, The wolseley

The Wolseley Hospitality Group (TWHG) says it is being 'forced to close' its Café Wolseley restaurant at Bicester Village against its wishes after having its lease prematurely terminated.

In a statement, TWHG, which previously operated under the Corbin & King moniker and rebranded back in June​ after Minor International acquired full control of the group​ from co-founder Jeremy King, claims the owner of Bicester Village, Value Retail Group, has 'taken advantage of a technicality in the lease to force the closure of the restaurant'.

The group suggests that Minor's takeover of the business back in April following a prolonged and very public battle for ownership with King is behind Value Retail's move and that it has lobbied to have the decision changed, but to no effect.

"We asked Value Retail to justify its decision to prematurely terminate the lease, in order that we could explain it to our team and our stakeholders, however, no satisfactory commercial reason was given, with Value Retail instead relying on a lease technicality," says the statement.

"Again, TWHG highly regrets this decision, which will be a loss to Bicester Village, the Oxfordshire community, the valued patrons of Café Wolseley and last but not least the team members who have shown such commitment and dedication to build the business into what it is today."

BigHospitality​ has contacted Value Retail for comment.

TWHG says the decision was taken by Value Retail despite the Café Wolseley management team remaining entirely intact, and the Café Wolseley brand and concept remaining unchanged.

It continues that trading at Café Wolseley in 2022 has been exceptionally strong, with sales figures well in excess of 2019 and prior year results.

The group also claims that King, who was thought to have been ousted from the group following Minor's acquisition of it, remains an employee of the business and is 'on the payroll', but wouldn't specify his role when asked. 

At the time of writing, King continues to be listed as a director of the business on Companies House, as does fellow co-founder Chris Corbin.

Many of the Café Wolseley team relocated themselves and their families to Oxfordshire to open the restaurant, which launched in the summer of 2018, and TWHG adds that it is 'working closely with team members to offer solutions to mitigate the severe disruption to their personal lives'.

Café Wolseley at Bicester Village will close 'within the coming days' and no later than Wednesday 10 August.

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Restaurant

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