TT Catering Solutions has revealed that a severe downturn in spend from its major clients led to it taking the difficult decision to close the business last week.
The Staffordshire-based kitchen house had fought hard to keep the business alive over the past three months, but after accepting that its order book was not strong enough to sustain its costs the company decided to cease trading before the situation got worse.
TT’s management felt it would be better to close the business and ensure that creditors could be paid in full, rather than risk being unable to meet its debts further down the line.
The company had been operating profitably for 11 years, but relied predominately on project work from brewery chains Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), Stonegate Pubs and The Bramwell Pub Company.
M&B was its largest customer, but last summer the pub chain altered its procurement strategy to focus on suppliers capable of providing an end-to-end service, including full maintenance.
Although TT didn’t have a maintenance department, it was retained as a supplier, but only for Scotland and the East Midlands.
It is understood that TT was told by M&B that a fewer number of kitchen refurbishments were planned for this year, while work that TT was expecting to do for Stonegate at the start of this year also failed to materialise.
Belinda Taylor, director of TT Catering Solutions, said the company had tried desperately hard to find a way of continuing, but said it simply could not see any signs that things would improve.
She said of the situation: “We’ve got no orders from our three contracts basically and they have all pulled the plug on their programmes, which leaves us looking at a very bleak year ahead. And with the high costs of running the business we had to make the decision to close it while we were on top, rather than get into a position where we were in a negative cash position. Our commitment to manufacturers is such that they would all be paid. We would never have traded the company insolvently.”
TT had 16 full-time staff on its books, while engineers were employed on a sub-contract basis only.
Taylor confirmed that TT has employed the services of a local accounting firm to wind the company up and said a creditors’ meeting would take place on February 14.