Thursday July 8th 5:51 pm: This story was updated with a comment from Market Halls.
The huge London food hall group Market Halls is set to reopen its complexes in Fulham, Victoria and the West End this summer after negotiating to protect its long-term future from “real risk”. A date has been set for the Victoria Food Hall to reopen on July 29th, while the other two locations are slated to reopen later.
The three food halls have been closed since March 2020, and proposals for voluntary corporate agreements (CVAs) were made in June 2021 to prevent their collapse. These proposals are familiar to all diners who have a passing interest in almost every chain restaurant in the UK’s casual restaurant market, from Jamie Oliver to Pizza Express – a company that pays off its debts, mostly by not paying it in full.
In the case of the market halls, the landlords of each food hall (probably the largest creditors owed) have made separate agreements, so they are not part of the proposals. This is an example of a situation that countless restaurants find themselves in: with rental debts accumulated and no government intervention in repayment, the future of a place and its workers can often depend on whether or not the landlord is in a generous mood. A Market Halls spokesperson told Eater, “Complex and difficult decisions have certainly been made, and closing CVAs was certainly one of them. The future of the market halls would have been at risk without the CVAs. Although it was a forced and unwanted action caused by the pandemic, it has certainly helped us overcome the other side and give us a way to keep our halls alive. “
Market Halls in particular Victoria was once London’s hippest food hall – a miniature version of one of the city’s best udon bars, Koya; a bun kiosk from the excellent pub The Marksman; and Gopal’s Corner, a spin-off of Euston favorite Roti King, due to open in 2018. By summer 2019, both Bunshop and Koya had left the building. His third and largest hall in the West End was trying to replicate Victoria’s success rather than repeating his trick of getting big signings: Gopal’s Corner doubled in size and held up like Super Tacos (a spin-off from Breddos Tacos), steak chef Tom Griffiths’ Flank, dumpling steamer BaoziInn and the vegan bowl specialist Cook Daily joined them.
While Victoria plans to reopen and Fulham rests, West End Food Hall has started the run-up to open a pop-up bar to showcase Euro 2020 in partnership with BrewDog. The partnership comes within weeks after the brewery was widely accused of fostering a “culture of fear” among its employees, and when asked about the nature of such a partnership, the spokesman said:
We hired Brewdog as a beer supplier for indoor markets before this news got out. We know the press that has reached the brand lately and we’ve watched it with keen eyes and asked a lot of questions ourselves.
We encourage companies of all shapes and sizes to make healthy changes and ensure their team culture is the best possible. It’s something we specifically worked on during lockdown hibernation and an area of the company that we’re committed to doing better. We make sure that everyone who comes into contact with Markthallen is convinced of our integrity and our commitment that what we do is fun.
We applaud those at BrewDog who felt the need to speak out for it, and we believe the end result will be positive change for the better. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and closely monitor the brand’s response to the situation to ensure accountability.
Market Halls also announced plans to open a complex in Canary Wharf in 2019, which its spokesman said will open in 2022. More coming soon on Market Hall Fulham and West End reopening.
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