South American restaurant Fazenda has closed its venue in Birmingham.
The company has been bought out of administration in a pre-packed deal by its former owners which has saved four of its restaurants but its operations in Birmingham, costing 44 roles, and a second site in Chester have closed.
The owners intimated that they would look again for an alternative venue to its previous home on the corner of Colmore Row and Church Street after launching there in autumn 2018.
Fazenda and sister brand Picanha by Fazenda specialise in the rodizio-style of service where cuts of meat are regularly brought to diners’ tables for a set price.
It was one of several such venues to open in Birmingham city centre in recent years but the administrators from Begbies Traynor said the business had been hit by the coronavirus lockdown, resulting in a “significant build-up of landlord and HMRC arrears”.
This could no longer be serviced without additional funding, Begbies said.
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Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell from the firm’s Leeds office were appointed joint administrators of Fazenda’s owner City District yesterday.
A substantial part of the business and assets of City District were acquired immediately following the administration appointment by Southern Wind Group, which has saved 243 jobs at restaurants in Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
The acquisition includes the recently launched e-commerce arm of the business Fazenda at Home where customers can buy ingredients to prepare meals themselves.
Southern Wind Group is led by City District’s former chief executive Terence Langley and managing director Tomás Maunier and will continue to trade as Fazenda.
Mr Langley said: “The pandemic has meant we have had to regroup and review to navigate the current climate as best we can and put the business in good stead in order to come back strong.
“We have high hopes that Fazenda will find the right place in Birmingham to operate in the near future and we can continue on the growth path planned pre-covid.”
Mr Pitts added: “After more than ten 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.
“It is good news for employees, customers and suppliers that most of the popular Fazenda eateries will re-open for business once the current restrictions are lifted.”
Analysis, by Midlands Business Editor Tamlyn Jones
It’s no secret that scores of restaurants, bars and cafés have struggled since the lockdown started last year.
When you are operating in a marketplace as crowded as Birmingham’s, then the battle is so much tougher.
When Fazenda threw open its doors on its swanky venue in late 2018, it seemed like it couldn’t fail as the offer felt sophisticated and high end yet great value for money.
Its venue sat right in the heart of Colmore Row where the business lunch and the after-work event scene was once thriving.
But as an illustration of how crowded Birmingham is, Fazenda’s most direct rival Gaucho was in the unit next door – a company itself which has undergone its own problems over the past few years.
Throw the covid pandemic into the boiling pot and it starts to become an unsustainable mix for many operators and I fear Fazenda’s story will not be the last we report on from this sector during 2021.
I’m sure there is a perfect venue in Birmingham waiting to welcome Fazenda back.
The owners now need to take stock and see what’s out there before having another crack at what is a lucrative and vibrant city centre community if you can get it right.