PAN-AFRICAN restaurant Zim Braai racked up debts of nearly £500,000 before it closed down earlier this year. 

The award-winning steakhouse and grill had restaurants in Poole Hill, Bournemouth town centre and in Ashley Cross, Poole that opened five years ago but have since closed.

Boss and Dorset-based hospitality businessman Andy Lennox said the closure came at an “awful time”, previously saying “Zim Braai will always hold a special place in my heart”. 

According to documents published on Companies House, 39 creditors are owed £460,435 – but Mr Lennox pointed out the "major creditors" are “me and my companies”. 

Bournemouth Echo: Zim Braai when it was openZim Braai when it was open

His other brands - Fired Up Collective and Nusara Thai - are both owed a combined £111k, a statement of affairs prepared by Bournemouth insolvency practitioner Even Keel Solutions. 

Mr Lennox added: “All staff were paid up to date. Local creditors were only owed around £25k.” 

Spanish bank Santander is owed nearly £120k, HMRC is owed more than £85k and energy supplier Pozitive Energy is listed as being owed £17k.

Read more: Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt banned from Dorset pub

Read more: Bournemouth town centre restaurant owed £300k when it closed

Meanwhile, Breeze Volkswagen in Tower Park is owed £12.5k, Springfields Catering Butchers, of Herbert Avenue, Poole, is owed £7.3k and Country Fare Food Service in Bournemouth is owed £1.7k. 

Mr Lennox previously said staff at Zim Braai were offered alternative positions across other brands or have been placed elsewhere within the wider hospitality community. 

Bournemouth Echo: Zim Braai boss Andy LennoxZim Braai boss Andy Lennox

He blamed the cost-of-living crisis and rise in taxes, alongside the decline of Bournemouth town centre, as some of the reasons for the restaurant closing down. 

"It has been well documented recently that the economic environment for hospitality is incredibly challenging, and restaurants are suffering a steep decline in trade, together with rising costs and increased taxes,” he said.  

"This has been further exacerbated by a decline in footfall in the town centre and an unexpectedly, incredibly poor Christmas period in Bournemouth." 

Mr Lennox also chairs the Wonky Table group, which ran a “well-orchestrated, good, solid campaign” calling on the Conservative government to cut hospitality VAT to 10 per cent following growth in wages, supply costs rising and utility costs “doubling”. 

In response to the spring budget which didn’t come with the cuts, Mr Lennox banned prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt from his businesses.