M Restaurants founder Martin Williams has made a second bid to purchase Gaucho following its fall into administration last week.
Williams said: “We tried to help, but as previously reported our bid wasn’t taken through to the last stages of the KPMG round.
“As that was unsuccessful we targeted some key sites in central London which we felt would benefit from our multi-faceted, award-winning M venues and have since re-entered the conversation with the administrators about the Gaucho Group as a whole.”
Williams, who served as managing director of Gaucho before departing to establish M Restaurants in 2014, put forward an earlier proposal to acquire the group in late 2017, but it was rejected by majority shareholder Equistone.
In February he hit out at “dated and rightly dying” chains as he reported 19% growth across his group. In the same month he made a bid to buy Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa restaurants as they fell into administration, but no deal was reached.
Williams had said: “I believe that all restaurants and brands must have their own character and personality, but above all offer a quality proposition and exceptional hospitality. With increasing financial pressures hitting the industry these key principles have been lost at times with chains in the past years, and we are now seeing the fallout.”
The Gaucho Group closed 22 Cau branches with immediate effect after falling into administration last week, but 16 Gaucho restaurants continue to trade while a buyer is sought.
Administrators Deloitte said the Cau brand was “significantly loss-making” having suffered negative like-for-like sales for three years. It’s collapse resulted in 540 redundancies.
Joint administrator Matt Smith said that in comparison the Gaucho brand “continues to trade well in its market segment, is profitable and has a strong underlying brand and guest loyalty”.