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Mighty Acorns from Fallen Oaks Grow

31st Jan 2020

Following on from our recent stories of an increase in Manchester restaurant closures, there appears to be some notable financial movements at a number of other local favourites, which has at least helped save jobs within the industry; if not necessarily the millions of pounds of owed taxes, which contribute towards recruiting much needed teachers, nurses, police officers and international trade negotiators.


Local Neapolitan wood-fired pizzeria chain Tre Ciccio's Altrincham and Ramsbottom restaurants have been bought out of administration, saving 60 jobs.


Translated as "three chubby friends", Tre Ciccio was originally started in Altrincham in 2018 by James Gingell, Alan Ritchie and Francesco Scafuri, expanding to Bramhall and Ramsbottom in 2019, with plans for a Chester branch in 2020. 



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Acorn 20, is an unrelated company, led by serial investor Ian Templeton, together with Bob Amato, of Manchester's Italian Food Wholesaler, Amato Food Products. Interestingly, the duo are also behind the recently registered restaurant companies, Acorn 21, and Acorn 22.


New owner, Bob Amato has also recently registered Basta Pasta 2020 with Imtiaz Deshmukh, with whom he also runs the Good Food Lovers company.


It is thought the two new investors will join the original three owners - "Cinque Ciccio" anyone? - with a number of Tre Ciccio Holding Companies still operating, including the recently established Tre Ciccio Five.


Whilst Tre Ciccio Altrincham, Bramhall and Ramsbottom all currently remain in administration, depending on negotiations with creditors, it is expected that both the profitable Altrincham (Acorn 20?) and Ramsbottom (Acorn 21?) restaurants will remain open, whilst losses sustained in Bramhall have led to the closure of that branch.


Administrators say that an offer from an unnamed bidder has also been received for the closed Bramhall site (from Acorn 22 or Basta Pasta perhaps?).



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Meanwhile, another local Italian restaurant chain has also hit cash flow problems due to rapid expansion.


Salvi's Deli & Mozzarella Bar at the Corn Exchange and Salvi's Cucina, on John Dalton Street, were placed into administration on New Year's Eve, shortly after the opening of their new Salvi's Northern Quarter restaurant. The move was blamed on financial difficulties as a result of six months of significant cash flow problems and pressure from creditors, following a period of rapid expansion.


Opened by Claire Wheeler in 2011, the tiny Corn Exchange deli and seven seater cafe, which specialises in authentic Italian produce, was managed by her husband, popular Naples born chef Maurizio Cecco.



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In 2014, Claire expanded the operation, opening the Salvi's Cucina restaurant on John Dalton Street, and, in 2015, she spent a further £300,000 expanding the original unit; adding 18 tables, which helped them to a healthy operating profit and allowed them to add a further bar in the middle of the Corn Exchange.


By 2019 however, the family-ran company was suffering cash flow problems due to investing this income into expanding the business further, coupled with increased rents, rates and service charges.


Despite this, a new related company, Salvi's NQ Ltd. started work on a Northern Quarter opening. 


Unfortunately, Claire was diagnosed with a severe illness during this period and Maurizio was subsequently appointed as a director in May 2019 (of both Salvi's Ltd and Salvi's Cuccina), with the two also starting a further company together (Salvi's Social Group Ltd), which was behind the brilliant Festa Italiana summer food festival.



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Despite cutting back on staff, they were unsuccessful in trying to get a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with their creditors and landlords in October and, as a result, Salvi's Ltd. (the deli) was placed into administration in November. It was sold "pre-packed" to Salvi's CE Ltd. - a brand new company owned solely by Maurizio Cecco - for £25,255 (to be paid in six monthly instalments), which helped save 20 full time staff positions and keep the restaurant open.


Salvi's Cuccina Ltd. was also placed into administration and sold to another new company set up by Maurizio Cecco, (Salvis JD Ltd.), for £20,000 (paid over five months).


In both cases, Maurizio has made personal guarantees to debtors whilst Claire has stepped down as a director. She will continue to manage the business and remains a director of Salvi's NQ and Salvi's Social Group.



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Elsewhere in the Northern Quarter, another popular venue was entered into liquidation in October 2019, with debts of over £670,000 (£270,000 of which was owed to HMRC).


The venue is still open, having been bought by a company registered in the name of the operator's brother, with the original owner still employed as a manager.


We are not sure on the circumstances behind this financial move, and it is possible (if seemingly unlikely) that all previous debtors and the tax man have been paid.


More news when we get it.




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