Tom Aikens collapse leaves wine merchants angry

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  • Thursday 23 October 2008

Wine suppliers to top UK chef Tom Aikens could face significant losses after the cook’s company went into administration last week.

Although Aiken’s two London restaurants, Tom Aikens and Tom’s Kitchen, were swiftly acquired by a private investment group after the business collapse was announced, the two establishments are under no obligation to pay the collapsed company’s creditors.

‘We were owed a fairly significant amount of money and I don’t think there’s any chance of us getting it back,’ said one leading UK wine supplier, who declined to be named.

‘There’s a long line of creditors,’ he added. ‘There’s unfortunately a massive loophole in our business law. A business can effectively close itself one night and then reopen, and continue trading, in the same place. Effectively, the outstanding creditors are stuffed.’

However, Pol Roger, supplier of Tom Aikens’ house Champagne, said it was ‘still proud’ to be associated with the chef, and had received prompt payment for a recent order.

Other sources suggested that many wine suppliers were reluctant to continue working with the restaurant after incurring losses, while others were demanding cash on delivery.

A spokeswoman for Tom Aikens said entering administration had been the result of a ‘domino effect’ brought about by ‘extraordinary’ losses incurred by the ill-fated Tom’s Place fish and chip shop venture, which closed in August after angry objections from local residents.

The spokesperson said Aikens would speak personally to each of his 160 suppliers in an effort to continue their working relationship.

‘It’s a small town, London, and one doesn’t want to make enemies,’ she added.

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