'Turbulent' year for Gordon Ramsay as profits dive 90%

Profits at Gordon Ramsay's UK restaurants plunged nearly 90% in a "turbulent" year in which the celebrity chef was forced to pump his own money into the business.











Ramsay's latest company accounts show that the restaurant empire came close to the brink as revenues collapsed while debt and tax bills mounted up.



The precarious situation caused the TV chef and his father-in-law and business partner Chris Hutcheson to inject the business with £5 million.



Ramsay's business problems were blamed on ambitious expansion as well as the closure of key London restaurants like the Savoy as pre-tax profits tumbled from £3.05 million in 2007 to £383,325.



The Savoy Grill was shut because of refurbishment at its host hotel, while the Connaught lease expired. The two restaurants alone accounted for a £9.5 million reduction in revenues.



A statement from the firm today said that, after a restructuring of operations, it was confident the group had "successfully undergone change for the better" and was now "well-placed to grow its operation with a more stable capital base and a more manageable overall structure".









Ramsay's restaurant empire expanded "significantly" in 2007 and 2008, leaving the business vulnerable to the economic headwinds.

In the year to August 2008, turnover dropped to £35 million from £41.6 million the previous year.



Meanwhile, net debt soared from £4.06 million to £9.48 million.



A full review of operations was instigated in December as part of a refinancing deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland and to help the business get through the troubled economic times.



The cash injection from Ramsay and Mr Hutcheson came after the firm accrued a bill from VAT, corporation tax and PAYE of around £8 million. This has now mostly been repaid and will be completely settled by the end of this month.



Ramsay has told how he had to sell his Ferrari to help put the restaurant empire back on track, blaming its problems on his own ambitions.



Mr Hutcheson said: "2008 brought its own challenges, not just for our group, but for the industry as a whole and the broader economy.



"Whilst the restructuring has benefited the group, the significant contribution and commitment of all 750 staff to the business has been integral to moving us to a position of strength."



The firm said 25 staff were axed as part of the restructuring efforts.



Of Ramsay's 11 London restaurants, Boxwood, Royal Hospital Road and Claridges emerged as the star performers.



Connaught was closed after its lease expired, but two further restaurants were opened: Murano in September 2008 and York and Albany in October.



The Narrow has had extra seating installed, Petrus is due to move to Knightsbridge later this year after closing last September, Maze has been fully refurbished and Savoy Grill is set to reopen with the hotel in early 2010.



But La Noisette ceased trading in January this year and was described as a "consistently underperforming site".



News of troubles in the Ramsay restaurant empire comes amid a torrid time for the TV chef.



Knives were out for the 42-year-old Hell's Kitchen star after he reportedly called Australian television star Tracy Grimshaw a lesbian and compared her to a pig in front of a 3,000-strong audience at a live cooking show in Melbourne last month.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin