Hospitality & Tourism

Published: April 8, 2020 | Updated: April 14, 2020

Shock and sadness as coronavirus crisis leads to Beales Gourmet going into administration

Tony Beales, of Beales Gourmet, pictured by Dorset Biz News last month at the launch of the ‘To Go’ service.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Dorset’s best-known gourmet catering and events company has become the first high-profile business victim of the coronavirus crisis.

Beales Gourmet Limited was placed in administration on March 30.

The decision came just a week after Tony Beales, who owned the business with his wife, Molly, told Dorset Biz News: “This is a very scary time but we’re determined not to give up without a fight.”

David Meany and Andrew Watling, of Quantuma LLP, were appointed Joint Administrators.

Along with the two directors and owners, the firm, founded in 2005, employed 14 permanent staff, together with six regular casual staff.

The Poole-based business provided the catering for every type of event – from corporate receptions, lunches and dinners to award ceremonies and house parties.

It also operated the lease for The Italian Villa at Poole’s Compton Acres, a favourite location for weddings.

A total of 220 weddings were hosted at The Italian Villa last year.

The first wave of anti-coronavirus measures led to the immediate postponement of 15 weddings, swiftly followed by a further 40.

As a result, £200,000 worth of expected business in the coming months was pushed back.

In an attempt to claw back some of the potential losses, Beales Gourmet launched a delivery service of home cooked family meals called ‘To Go’ last month.

But at the time, Tony Beales, 47, admitted: “We’re no quitters. Hopefully this is not our last stand but it certainly feels that way.

“In truth, we need 160 orders just to cover the cost of a postponed wedding but we’re doing everything possible to secure our future, and that of our staff.”

Although Beales Gourmet’s website is still live the company’s Facebook account has been deleted.

Telephone callers to the office are advised in a message dated March 27 that the business is closed for two weeks for ‘deep cleaning and re-decoration.’

News of Beales Gourmet going into administration has shocked the business community.

Sam Savage, Director of South Coast Events & South Coast Weddings, said: “I’m so saddened to hear this news.

“The current pandemic is wreaking havoc on everyone but the wedding and events industry has been hit hard.

“Beales Gourmet have always operated in a professional manner with the highest standards.

“I know that Tony has put everything into the business and my heart goes out to him.

“I hope that the business can be saved, for everyone’s benefit.”

  • “We’re no quitters” – read our March 23 interview with Tony Beales here.