June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Mark Shields
Thursday, June 7, 2012
The owner of a popular Norwich brasserie says he will look back with pride at his award-winning business despite its closure.
Simon Turner took the decision to close the Elm Hill Brasserie at the end of last month after seven years in the city’s historic centre.
The brasserie was a winner of an EDP Food Award in 2009, but had felt the pinch along with other businesses in the sector.
“When you put so much of your life into a business like that you never think that you’re going to close it,” said Mr Turner, 34.
“But I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. I enjoyed every minute, even the hard times, and I hope we’ve had a positive impact on the people we’ve worked with.
“We are not walking away with our tails between our legs.”
Five people lost their jobs as a result of the closure, but all those seeking employment have been found new posts by Mr Turner.
“I don’t feel we have been singled out: it is difficult for everyone out there,” he said.
“Some people have deeper pockets and can invest more, but we opened on a shoestring as a family business.”
Mr Turner opened the businessas a joint venture with his parents, serving French cuisine using Norfolk produce.
It won an EDP Food Award for Best Norfolk Menu.
Mr Turner added: “It would be naive to suggest the double-dip recession and the state of the markets haven’t had an effect on the business.
“If the city was packed and people were eating out more then it would be a lot easier.”
When he was offered a role at Caistor Hall Hotel, Mr Turner felt the “sensible option” would be move on and take a new challenge.
“I was there almost every shift since we opened, so it would have been a very difficult business to sell on,” he said.
He is now focused on turning Caister Hall Hotel into one of the top hotel-restaurants in the county, but warned that Elm Hill Brasserie would not be the last victim of the recession.
“Until people begin to feel more secure in their jobs and start to go out more again, it is going to be difficult,” he said.
“There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the national press, and no one seems to have the confidence.
“People eating out once a week now eat out every other week and then it becomes once a month and it has an effect.
“No matter how you fight to get your costs down, it’s across the board and we have all got tough times ahead before things get better. There’s no magic solution.”