One of the founders of EAT:kaizen has blamed a mixture of personal and business reasons for his decision to close the Stamford New Road restaurant.
The healthy eating restaurant announced its closure earlier today, saying it had made the decision “with heavy hearts”.
EAT:kaizen had originally opened in February 2017, the brainchild of business partners Rob Lee, Daniel Furness and Rob’s sister Emma.
Lee said one catalyst for the closure had been his own personal situation and his decision to “think about the things that really matter”, such as spending more time with his kids.
But he also admitted that the increased competition in the town centre had been a key factor.
“It’s such a saturated restaurant market in Altrincham at the moment,” he said. “I really do feel for new places opening – straight away I can tell, mainly because of their location, whether they are going to be a success or failure.
“There were days when I looked out of the window and it looked like Altrincham was dead, but I’d walk up to the market and it would be buzzing. Altrincham is a bubble now.”
He added: “The business rates are way too high, and we received no small business rate relief because of the size of the building. Stamford New Road also closed the day before we opened, and we got no relief from that, and not long after we opened the parking charges went up by a ridiculous amount.”
Lee said that running EAT:kaizen had been “all-encompassing” and that he had “very rarely” taken a wage out of the business.
“People go into it not knowing how much of a strain it is mentally and physically.”
The restaurant employed around six staff at the end and traded for the last time on Friday.
Despite the closure, Lee said he was proud of the high esteem EAT:kaizen was held in by locals.
“We had such a loyal customer base and I’ve made some fantastic friendships,” he said. “I’m sure there will be disappointed people out there.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has come through our door.”
Lee said he would be taking some time before deciding what he would do next.