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City food fest closes Barn’s doors

Business levy and more competition behind closure

Ian Mather, owner of The Quex restaurant in Burgate, Canterbury, has closed his business saying there are not enough customers to go round in the city
Ian Mather, owner of The Quex restaurant in Burgate, Canterbury, has closed his business saying there are not enough customers to go round in the city

A restaurant boss has closed his business in Canterbury claiming there are now too many places to eat. Ian Mather had high hopes for Quex Barn in Burgate, which was based on his award-winning farm produce market and restaurant in Birchington. But less than two years after opening and spending thousands of pounds improving and refitting the building, he has decided to close it. Despite the 120-seater restaurant being well received by customers, Mr Mather admits it “wasn’t a rip-roaring success” and says there is too much competition in the city. He said:

“There are just too many places to eat in Canterbury now. Even here in Burgate there is a new burger restaurant opening. There are just not enough customers to go around. And it’s much harder for the independents when you are faced with the doubling of your business rates and now the new ‘business improvement levy’, which I voted against. It’s not a case of us going bust or anything like that. but I found splitting my time between Canterbury and Birchington too much. To be honest, it’s a weight off my shoulders. Perhaps if I was just dedicating my time to Canterbury I could have made it work, but Burgate doesn’t get the promotion like other parts of the city and there are already five empty shops.”

Mr Mather says he has had to let some staff go while others have been re-employed at his Birchington business. He is also in discussions with the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral about his lease and says he hopes the building will be reoccupied within two or three months.

Herne Bay Gazette, March 12th 2015

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