The pub downturn has now hit Ramsay. It looks as though the Devonshire was not living up to expectations. so they've bolted the lock. It's too bad. I've been to this pub and it was in a nice quiet area and had a good vibe...even if it was more restaurant than pub. The food was very good (I had a chicken pot pie).
Well, I best get my butt to London to visit his other pubs before they close.
Here's the news from the Telegraph.
At the height of his popularity last year Gordon Ramsay, the colossus of the culinary world, could seemingly do no wrong.
His business empire had expanded across four continents. He was the toast of American prime-time TV. His Midas image was burnished with predictions in the summer that his turnover would exceed £100 million this year, astonishing for a man who opened his first restaurant in 1998. He has a range of Royal Doulton china, is said to be worth £67 million, and has appeared in The Simpsons teaching Homer how to cook. Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White, eat your heart out.
First his image was threatened by allegations of a seven-year extramarital affair. Then he failed to file accounts on time to Companies House for the second year running.
The long-awaited accounts for trading in 2007 were finally submitted this week, eight months late. The headline figure showed profits had tripled to £3 million. Ramsay appears to have granted himself a pay rise, taking his salary from £845,630 to £1,117,819. The accounts also showed that Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) is in breach of its banking covenants – promises made to lenders to secure a loan – and owes its suppliers about £5 million. The sheer size of the unpaid bills is reminiscent of Tom Aikens, the Michelin-starred chef, after the companies that ran his restaurants went into administration. Some 160 suppliers, many of them small businesses, found themselves at the end of a queue of creditors.
But GRH suppliers aren't necessarily complaining. Gavin Quinney, a spokesman for Chateau Bauduc vineyard, one of GRH's suppliers, said: "I'd think he owes below £20,000. We've been trading for 20 years and the situation has never been any different in terms of owing us money. We are in constant contact and try to keep the payments within 90 days of the invoice. Every supplier likes to be paid quicker, but his name is exclusive to us and we maximise on that and so cut them some slack when they take a while to pay."
GRH, which owns 25 eateries worldwide, has also renegotiated a £10.5 million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Ramsay and his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, GRH's chief executive, have given personal guarantees of £1.6 million and £500,000 to secure bank loans.The truth is that the recession has taken its toll: the days when there were long waiting lists for a table at Ramsay's flagship restaurants, where dinner for two can easily cost £200, are gone.
The heavily hyped Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York, which opened two years ago, has stopped opening at lunchtimes. It now opens for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. It has only 14 tables. Ramsay's restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Wicklow, Ireland, stopped serving lunch last month. Verge in Dubai, his first restaurant outside Britain, no longer serves breakfasts or lunches. His Prague restaurant, Maze, has closed down. The Foxtrot Oscar restaurant in Chelsea is opening for lunch only three days a week.
Even the celebrated Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, where there could be a six-week wait for dinner, has lost some of lustre. An attempt by The Daily Telegraph to book a table early next week produced this response: "We have had a number of cancellations. We could fit you in on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday."
His touch even seems to have deserted him on his extraordinarily successful television shows. Three of the American restaurants "saved" by his advice on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares have closed.
The full extent of his fall from grace in the US was underlined by the waspish Steve Cuozzo, food critic on the New York Post. "Gordon was once a great chef. Then he became a great businessman. If globe-trotting 'rock star' chefs have become a joke, Ramsay is becoming the ultimate punchline … When one of the world's reigning culinary gods – a household name – can't fill a 14-table room for lunch a few days a week, look out."
But it's not just his restaurants that have come under attack. Even the family image has been under strain. Ramsay, who has been married to Tana for 13 years and has four children, was voted Celebrity Father of the Year in 2006, and the Ramsays were Celebrity Family of the Year in 2007. So his advisers feared the worst when Sarah Symonds unleashed her allegations last November of a seven-year affair. Miss Symonds, dubbed a professional mistress after she wrote a book about previous affairs, sold her story to the News of the World.
The public relations fixer Gary Farrow had been the guardian of the Ramsay image for the past five years as he powered ahead as the most popular celebrity chef on the planet. Farrow, whose clients include Sir Elton John, launched a damage limitation exercise. Ramsay and his wife said nothing and, after Farrow pulled in favours from a few friends in the tabloids, the story went away.
But, only a few weeks later, GRH dumped Farrow. The company could no longer afford his services. It was an expensive decision: a string of stories have followed that have dented Ramsay's image. Only last week it emerged the chef's claims in his autobiography Humble Pie about his early football career at Glasgow Rangers were inflated. Ramsay claimed to have "signed" for the Glasgow giants as a youngster and played three first team games. He has even singled out the Rangers coach Archie Knox for "dumping" him from the club.
No surprise then that Knox was more than obliging when asked about Ramsay. "He must be a very confused individual. I was the manager of Dundee at the time," he said. Ramsay was forced to issue a statement. "Any inaccuracies regarding the details of this period can be explained by the fact that all this occurred nearly 25 years ago." But the halo had slipped again.
In January the Daily Telegraph disclosed that Ramsay had been fined £1,500 for failing to file his accounts on time with Companies House. Questions were again asked when advertisements for his Chiswick gastropub, The Devonshire, and his private dining room, Sloane Street, appeared in the "for sale" section of the website Restaurant Property. They were removed hours later. GRH issued a statement denying it was closing them and saying that the adverts were an administrative error.
Even so, the expansion continues apace. A new restaurant is opening in South Africa in April, with talk of openings in Australia and Florida. The pursuit of celebrity status continues at an even faster rate. Ramsay has been filming in the US for most of the year. His celebrity status has been crucial to driving people to his restaurants. But these days the closest they are likely to get to him is on the television screen.
In fairness, other chefs have struggled too. Antony Worrall Thompson has closed four of his six restaurants and made 60 people redundant. Yet Ramsay is contemptuous of comparisons with Worrall Thompson, who he calls the "squashed Bee Gee".
A year ago he was master of all he surveyed but now the cracks are appearing in Ramsay's empire. Ramsay, who spends far more time in television studios than he does in the kitchens where he earned his 14 Michelin stars, has ignored the advice he gives on his TV shows: "When you start spreading yourself too thinly, you can fail to meet the same standards the second or third time round."