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Restaurant chain in administration 4 July 2012

The company behind a chain of restaurants has called in administrators after a menu relaunch failed to entice customers.

Town Centre Restaurants (TCL) operates three different styles of outlets across the country.

Founded in 1992 TCR has grown from one Cafe Giardino in Bromley south east London into what its website describes as one of “England’s leading restaurant groups”.

Its most high profile business is French themed Auberge in London’s Waterloo but it also runs four Italian styled bar and kitchen outlets called Azzurro and has 16 cafes around the south of England called Café Giardino.

A re-branding of the menus across the three businesses was carried out in April and May, but it doesn’t appear to have been enough to stave of the administration, which was brought on when a buyer for the chain could not be found.

Trading from the Dencoram Business Centre in Middlesex the business called in administrators Zolfo Cooper on 26 June.

Zolfo Cooper had already been working with the chain since November last year to review its strategic options including a sale of the business, but after a “lengthy process no acceptable buyers were found” and the business was deemed to be “unviable”

This led to the sale of 22 cafés and restaurants and the head office to a new company, which was set up and funded by the existing management with the full support of its lender. This has saved about 240 jobs in the new company.

However, a number of outlets were not included in the sale and will have to close with the loss of 90 jobs. Commenting on the sale Fraser Gray joint administrator and partner at Zolfo Cooper said: “It is regrettable that in order to safeguard the business and enable it to be well placed for the future it has been necessary to close a number of cafés and restaurants.

“However, we are pleased to have effected the sale of 22 sites and the head office preserving approximately 240 jobs in this very difficult economic climate. We wish everyone involved in the new company every success for the future.”

TCL, which has also traded as Giardino Group Limited, Gardino Group PLC and Cafe Giardino Limited, saw its highest figures yet for online sales with more than 2190 covers booked in December last year – excluding large Christmas bookings – but failed to build on that in 2012.



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