The financial struggles of high street restaurants over the last year could allow independent retailers and wholesalers to access product ranges previously unavailable to them, RN has been told.

A combination of financial and tax issues has forced various restaurant chains to close branches or enter administration. Affected businesses include Gaucho, Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian and Byron Burger.

However, Shore Capital head of research, Clive Black, told RN the issues open gaps within convenience. “A number of organisations such as Gaucho over expanded and this will no doubt negatively impact the supply chain, but this leaves a gap in turnover for their suppliers who have to go and find new business," he said. 

“Not only have we had the overexpansion of these dining chains, but we’ve seen consolidation and collapse throughout the wholesale market. All of this is bound to have a ripple effect and one business’ challenges can provide opportunities for another. We saw it when Bestway picked up Conviviality’s wholesale business.”

Joe Williams, of Spar The Village Shop in Hook Norton, said the quality of his sandwich range improved when he was forced to find new products following the collapse of a previous supplier.

“Our shop used to be supplied by a sandwich company who closed down in July. We found a tea shop nearby, who has managed to pick up all the business from our old supplier. They’ve filled the gap we had and the quality of their products is much better,” he said. 

However, Select & Save managing director, Andrew King, said there are dangers with picking up too much new business.

“There’s an opportunity, but it’s about balance. You have to make sure you don’t overcomplicate your business by picking up too many suppliers. Otherwise, you’ll find you’ll have to manage more deliveries, more paperwork, more payment and more relationships,” he said. 

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