Harrogate restaurant owner puts record straight on saving her business

The owner of one of Harrogate's most popular recent additions to the town's restaurant has set the record straight about why the business has gone into administration and how she has saved it - and 130 jobs - with the help of her family.

Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 5:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2018, 9:26 am
"I want to set the record straight " - The Cats Pyjamas owner and proud recent new mother Alison White.

Talking to the Harrogate Advertiser, ambitious entrepreneur Alison White, who has seen independent Indian street food chain the Cat's Pyjamas on Albert Street become one of Harrogate's best-loved restaurants in a few short months since it opened in August, said: "I can confirm that The Cat’s Pyjamas Ltd has officially gone into administration."However I can also confirm the business is still fully up and running with no interruption to customer service and we have saved all 130 jobs.

"I want to set the record straight about what this really means, why this was a necessary business decision and what the future holds for the brand."There came a point over the last three months where we found ourselves in a difficult situation due to our recent high level investment into business growth and expansions, and our reliance on short term high interest crippling loans.

"We had a planned new site opening in Wakefield which would support our cash flow and bottom line."However, unforeseen circumstances with power problems meant the site couldn’t open fast enough.

"That coupled with building a strong head office team to support me to run the business whilst I had my first child some 12 weeks ago has resulted in a loss for the business of over £50,000 a month.

"I can hold my hands up to say that my ambitious plans were possibly a bit naive, not having the proper support around me and I got drawn into a financial situation that was not sustainable. "As a new growing business it’s very difficult to get long term sustained borrowing from any source - so short term high interest loans are the route many go down. "This is what we did and I felt confident I could maintain the pressure of the repayments however when things go wrong circumstances change.

"We have been working with accountants for the last four weeks, seeing if there was anyone out there who could help us, to first and foremost secure the 130 jobs of the amazing team members we have. "Due to the current climate in the restaurant sector no support was forthcoming.

"We have managed to save the business, and it comes down to family. I am so grateful to have such an amazing personal network around me, and I appreciate that not all entrepreneurs are in this situation.

"My fiancé, Paul, who is already successful in the trade with his own businesses is heading it up, thanks to financial contributions from many family members. We have saved all jobs and all sites are fully operational.

"In hindsight I can see that as an ambitious entrepreneur bringing something new to the restaurant market I had big dreams and ambitious plans but perhaps without the right support or advice."These have been the worst few months of my life when I should have been off on maternity spending time with my daughter, Elsie. The Cat’s Pyjamas is a strong brand that I have put my heart and soul into for the last three years.

"The business is fully functioning and continuing to provide the service people know and love."I’m just sorry that we’ve had to go through this and hugely disappointed in the financial systems that have led to this, but I know the new company with my support will continue stronger.”

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