Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell of Begbies Traynor in Leeds were appointed joint administrators of City District Limited, which trades as the Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill alongside sister brand Picanha by Fazenda, yesterday.
A substantial part of the business and assets of City District was acquired immediately by Southern Wind Group Limited, saving 243 jobs.
Founded in 2010, the Huddersfield-based company operated six South American gaucho-style grilling and Rodizio dining restaurants under the Fazenda and Picanha brands which are known for the concept of continuous tableside service of grilled meats.
In a statement, the administrators said the business had suffered from the impact of prolonged lockdowns and restrictions caused by COVID-19. This resulted in a significant build-up of landlord and HMRC arrears which could no longer be serviced without additional funding.
After a period of marketing undertaken by Begbies Traynor Group, a pre-packaged sale was agreed to Southern Wind Group.
The new company, headed up by City District former chief executive Terence Langley and managing director Tomás Maunier, will continue to trade as Fazenda and will retain the Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool Fazenda sites, saving 243 jobs.
However, Fazenda Birmingham and Picanha Chester are not included in the deal and 69 staff will be made redundant.
Mr Pitts said: “After more than 10 years of healthy trading, the Fazenda restaurant chain became yet another casualty of the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector.
With the UK undergoing multiple lockdowns, together with social distancing measures and increased working from home, the restaurant trade has faced one of its toughest periods ever.”
Mr Maunier, managing director of Southern Wind Group, added: “Unfortunately rent negotiations and significantly reduced cash flow has led to this difficult decision to close two of the restaurants. The hardest part is that we were unable to retain the whole team, though we are extremely proud to have secured over 200 jobs in the process.
“Despite the closures, we believe that the long-term future is looking bright for both the industry and the brand, and we are looking forward to resuming operations across our other sites in May.”
Addleshaw Goddard’s restructuring team in Leeds and Edinburgh advised the joint administrators throughout the sale process. Walker Morris in Leeds acted as advisers to Southern Wind Group.
The acquisition also includes the recently launched e-commerce arm of the business ‘Fazenda at Home’, joining many others in the ‘make-away’ market, where customers can continue to purchase quality meats and buy prepare-at-home meal kits.
Southern Wind Group will honour any gift vouchers previously issued by the Fazenda and Picanha restaurants, and further information will soon be available on the Fazenda website and via its social media pages.