Mazars sells coffee chain out of administration

13 July 2021 2 min. read
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Professionals from Mazars have been called in to oversee the administration of Friska. The café franchise had suffered heavily from a loss of business during the coronavirus lockdown.

Friska is a café chain in the West of England, with eight locations in Bristol, and four more in Manchester and Birmingham. The organisation operated from a blend of traditional cafés and quick service restaurants.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, food and drink retail was inevitably one of the biggest casualties of lockdown. As non-essential businesses, firms in the sector were unable to open during the worst months of the crisis, leading to a number of high profile collapses.

Mazars sells coffee chain out of administration

With a drastic reduction in footfall, Friska was no exception to this, even after many lockdown measures eased. Relying on commuting office workers for a portion of the brand’s income, the continued work-from-home rule means footfall in the city is still to return to normal – something which has seen Friska struggle for some time.

The company entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement in October 2020 with a view to exiting the Manchester and Birmingham markets, re-negotiating terms with landlords, and re-focussing future operations in Bristol. However, this was a measure which ultimately failed to prevent the firm’s collapse.

Mark Boughey and Tim Ball of Mazars were appointed as Joint Administrators in 2021. The pair oversaw a quickfire sale of Friska, and there is now hope that the company may yet continue in some form.

“As with many businesses in the hospitality and retail sector, the company has struggled in the last fifteen months due to the forced closures, as a result of Covid lockdowns, and the general reduction in footfall with office employees working from home,” a spokesperson from Mazars said. “The Joint Administrators are pleased to announce that a sale of the business and assets has now been completed, which has resulted in 35 employees transferring to the new owners.”

While Mazars has not confirmed the identity of the majority buyers, a third party is understood to have acquired the business, including ‘goodwill and trading names’, and five of the current eight sites across Bristol. Meanwhile, two of the remaining three Friskas in Bristol have been sold to the current management team – Griff Holland and Ed Brown – who founded Friska back in 2009. The pair plan to reopen at some point soon under a different brand, according to Mazars.