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TTFN Restaurant MCR

8th Jan 2020

Following the news of the quiet closure of Thai restaurant Chaophraya over Christmas, another top venue, Restaurant MCR, has also confirmed its widely expected closure today.


The one time jewel of Living Ventures crown - when it was known as Manchester House - originally closed down in 2018 after five years of trading, but was saved when its original chef, Aiden Byrne, returned two months after leaving to join 20 Stories, re-opening the multi-million pound Spinningfields office block venue with Michelin Star hopes.


The Liverpudlian celebrity chef blamed the threat of a two month rolling lease from the landlord, which he says prevented much needed investment; although some questionable marketing decisions, a loss of top staff and the closure of the 12th floor lounge bar can't have helped matters. He goes on to add "it's sad, but we had to cut our losses."



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Claiming to have paid all his staff and suppliers in full, the affable and talented chef says they are now looking at another venue within the city - an exciting project which has apparently been on the cards for some time - and he will relocate some staff to his popular Church Green gastropub in Lymm ahead of its launch in "a couple of months."


Watch this space.


Whilst we are on the subject, we are also getting news of some other big name closures  within the city, whilst a number of Manchester restaurants (currently still trading) have already entered into administration in January, traditionally the graveyard season for UK businesses.



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2020 is expected to be an incredibly tough time for many in the hospitality trade in the UK - not helped by the potential unknown cliff edge of a hard Brexit (particularly with staffing issues).


Profit warnings have been made by a lot of the larger chains, who are already running at huge losses (the UK’s top 100 restaurants made an £82m loss in the last year alone).


For some time, many restaurateurs have claimed that the city centre Manchester market has been oversaturated, and, coupled with the improvement of offerings in the suburbs, many family ran independent establishments have also found it tough going, particualrly with venues having to discount meals so heavily to attract customers.



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From the evidence we have seen, it is true that at least four venues may have been placed into administration to either - let's give them the benefit of the doubt - get out of "restrictive lease arrangements," or, more likely, to follow the legal but arguably morally reprehensible route of what can only be described as "creative accounting," (or, as one local restauranteur once described it: "Doing a Gordo"); loading one company with huge debts, bumping it and then starting afresh almost the same day under a new name (sometimes, many times) - often leaving staff, suppliers, landlords, investors and the taxman unpaid. It's a pity the Government don't prevent such people from using the NHS and local council services.


Existing hoteliers in Manchester are also nervously awaiting 2020; a hard Brexit is likely to hit the industry very hard - over 75% of staff in Manchester are from other EU countries - and a huge influx of new hotels are due to open in the next two years - over 1,000 new rooms are planned for one Piccadilly backstreet alone.


It's not all bad news however; there are still more new restaurants opening in Manchester, than closing; a few notable venues broke all previous income records; some venues are booked up for months in advance; and, let's not forget, "challenging times" for operators normally translates into lots of fantastic dining deals to be found for customers.




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