Gonzo’s Tea Room blames 10pm curfew as it goes into liquidation

The bar adapted for coronavirus restrictions when it reopened after the first lockdown, but the 10pm

The bar adapted for coronavirus restrictions when it reopened after the first lockdown, but the 10pm curfew was "fatal" for Gonzo's, its liquidator said. Photo: Archant - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The company behind Norwich bar and restaurant Gonzo’s Tea Room has appointed a liquidator after profits collapsed during the pandemic.

Gonzo's Tea Room, London Street. Photo: Archant

Gonzo's Tea Room, London Street. Photo: Archant - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Gonzo’s Team Room Ltd, which changed its name last month to DARBEKIM2020 Limited, was placed into a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) on November 10, liquidator Richard Cacho said.

A CVL means a majority of the creditors and shareholders voted for the liquidation.

Owners and company directors, Bradley and Michael Baxter, said the main reason for the company’s failure was the pandemic, Mr Cacho said.

He said Gonzo’s had used the furlough scheme during the first lockdown and then invested heavily to follow government regulations when bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen over the summer.

Brad Baxter, owner of Gonzo's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Brad Baxter, owner of Gonzo's. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020


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“Trading under these conditions was possible but profitability was marginal,” he said.

However in September, the government announced a 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector which Mr Cacho said was “fatal” to the business, leading to its income halving.

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“Its cost base had necessarily increased but turnover immediately declined by over 50pc,” he said.

“The directors had no alternative, in these circumstances, but to close the business.”

Gonzo's Tea Rooms saw its income collapse when the 10pm curfew was introduced. Picture: Brittany Woo

Gonzo's Tea Rooms saw its income collapse when the 10pm curfew was introduced. Picture: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Its most recent accounts, dated March 2019, show it owed creditors £49,000 and had current assets of £17,860.

Mr Cacho said the company had changed its name shortly before the liquidation because the name “Gonzo’s” was owned by a third party and licensed for use by other companies.

It is unclear what will happen to the venue on London Street when the current lockdown lifts.

Gonzo’s had been offering takeaways, but a message on Facebook says it is currently closed “for a few days” because three staff had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

A month before the liquidation, Michael Baxter set up a new company registered in Norwich called Rufftop Gardens Ltd which lists its business on Companies House as “public houses and bars”. This has no link to the Rooftop Gardens at the Union Building.

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