PREMIER quayside restaurant Fishy Fishy in Poole has gone into administration with the loss of 13 jobs.
Staff were called to a meeting this morning where they found out they were out of work with immediate effect.
Managing director James Ginzler told the Echo that a lack of footfall and insufficient repeat custom had sounded the death-knell for the 130-seat restaurant fronting the quay.
“We’ve been working hard to make this work, but the footfall unfortunately isn’t there,” he said.
“When we took the place on two years ago there were all these exciting ideas about what was going to happen here with the shops and so on, but nothing came to fruition. Then the summer was not the best in the world.”
He added: “It came to the stage where we had to look at the long term for the business and whether Poole was the location for us.”
He said the staff, lead by general manager John Daniels, were “an excellent team” who had “worked so hard to make it work”. He said the business would be working with them on references to help them move on.
“We’ve done as much as we can. The customers loved it. Trip Adviser loved it. Everything was great – but you just need that critical mass of people and unfortunately it just hasn’t got it,” he added.
“Poole is a great place in the summer but you’ve got to look at it all year round. We didn’t have the repeat customers coming back in the quantities we needed.”
The restaurant was opened in late 2010 by television’s X-Factor host Dermot O’Leary with business partners James Ginzler and Paul Shovlin.
It followed the success of the Fishy Fishy Brighton restaurant, a separate entity which remains in business.
A spokesperson for Fishy Fishy said: "The Poole restaurant site was rented, within a building which had gone into administration, creating financial issues outside our control. We regrettably have found it impossible to continue to trade in that environment, and have taken the decision to cease trading at our Poole restaurant. The Fishy Fishy restaurant in Brighton is unaffected by this decision."
Poole tourism manager Graham Richardson said: “We’re hugely disappointed to see Fishy Fishy go in to administration. It’s been a great asset to Poole Quay and because of the association with Dermot O’Leary it’s generated quite a bit of interest as well. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a replacement operator in there as soon as possible.
“Our thoughts are with the employees who hopefully will be able to find alternative employment very soon.”
- THE lack of footfall on Poole Quay and the lower end of the High Street has been an issue for several years.
Toby Chapman, owner of Deli on the Quay next door to Fishy Fishy, said: “It’s tough. Last year we had pretty terrible weather and that keeps people away particularly in the evening.”
He said he was shocked by the news and felt for the team at Fishy Fishy.
“It doesn’t look good in terms of bringing people to the area,” he added.
“We are not seeing any growth in terms of our business, although we are popular.”
Josh Irons, a bosun at Poole Quay Boat Haven opposite the restaurant, said that berth holders had been given a 20 per cent discount there, but the place never seemed busy.
“I’m a bit surprised, but it was never that busy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone being turned away from there.”
Ian Kitching, a computer programmer from Hamworhty, said: “We’ve lived here 12 years and when we first came it was quite a vibrant place but it’s gone down over the last four or five years.”
He added: “It’s the same on the old High Street –there’re some lovely restaurants, but they just don’t seem to pull the trade in.”