Employees at Leeds restaurant chain The Cat's Pyjamas have been made redundant after the business entered administration for a second time.
Insolvency practitioners Gareth Lewis Business Recovery are currently looking for a buyer for the chain, which operated sites in Leeds city centre, Headingley, York and Harrogate.
Former owner Alison White, who has since been declared bankrupt, initially told the Yorkshire Evening Post that she had sold the business, which she set up in 2015, to an investor named Aftab Ali. She claimed that the restaurants would re-open within a month with no job losses.
However, Gareth Lewis later refuted this claim and reiterated that a buyer for the assets was still being sought. The administrators sent a letter to staff informing them that their employment had been terminated last week as a result of the brand's collapse.
Gareth Lewis from Lewis Business Recovery said:-
"The company was placed into administration on Monday 25 March 2019 following a period of unsustainable cashflow difficulties. Since being appointed, I have been and am continuing to market the business and assets for sale in accordance with my duties to creditors. Despite suggestions that the business had been rescued already, I can confirm that this is not the case and I would therefore encourage any interested parties to make contact as soon as possible.
"If any party wishes to express an interest in the business/assets, I would request that they contact my colleague Daniel Overend on 0113 2459444 or at email@example.com, or alternatively Richard Temple at Eddisons on 0113 2091052 or firstname.lastname@example.org."
Alison White did not respond to a request for further comment. The Cat's Pyjamas social media accounts have now all been taken offline.
The Cat's Pyjamas - a timeline
2015 - The first Cat’s Pyjamas opens on Otley Road in Headingley.
December 2016 - A city centre site on Eastgate opens
June 2017 - The Guardian restaurant critic Jay Rayner reviews the Eastgate restaurant
April 2018 - The York restaurant opens in the old Silvano's premises on Cumberland Street
August 2018 - The Harrogate site opens in a former Prezzo unit on Albert Street
September 2018 - A Sheffield restaurant opens on the trendy Ecclesall Road
October 2018 - The chain’s first administration is announced. All of the sites are immediately purchased in a pre-pack deal by members of Alison’s family and remain open with no job losses. Plans for openings in Wakefield and Chester are shelved.
December 2018 - A fire breaks out at the Harrogate site on Christmas Eve but the restaurant continues to trade.
January 2019 - The Sheffield restaurant closes. Alison cites difficulties in travelling from Leeds to Sheffield as a reason for its closure.
February 2019 - A new takeaway outlet opens on Briggate in Leeds. Alison announces that the chain has become the first in Leeds to go cashless after a staff member was allegedly robbed of the business’s takings in Headingley. The Headingley site also receives a two-star food hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency.
March 2019 - The chain’s second administration is confirmed and Alison is declared bankrupt. Administrators are appointed to find a buyer. The Harrogate site is permanently closed. The remaining sites are locked by bailiffs. Staff are made redundant.