After a quiet January, not helped by the freezing temperatures that swept London and kept customers indoors, the partners gathered for their weekly meeting. The decision was made to close Bad Sports.
“We successively had to come round to the idea that we weren’t going to make it, which is quite a difficult thing to do.”
Indeed, commercial property values have risen across the UK, with transactions doubling in London in the last three years. In its research on restaurants in the capital, Cedar Dean Group found that restaurateurs are spending an average of 21 percent of their turnover on rent, up from 16 percent last year, and far beyond the recommended 12 percent that enables a business to make a profit.Prosser also sees rent as an issue for restaurant owners, but thinks that local authorities should do more to help, such as by stopping property developers from hiking the rents of small business owners who add value to an area. This has been particularly bad in Soho, with rents rising as much as 50 percent in recent years and forcing many historic bars and restaurants to close. Earlier this month, Scandinavian-influenced restaurant Rök abandoned plans to open a Soho location, citing “rising rents and operational costs.”
“To lose money month after month after month, or to get to the end of every week and say, ‘Ah, we almost made money, maybe next week.’ It’s exhausting.”