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Bars and Restaurants Business Liquidation Advice

The hospitality industry, specifically bars and restaurants, has faced numerous challenges in recent years, from economic downturns to global pandemics.

Navigating these obstacles can be demanding, especially when financial troubles arise. How can bar and restaurant owners make informed decisions about liquidation? What options are available to them?

In this blog post, we delve into the world of bar and restaurant business liquidation advice, exploring various options such as Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) and Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

We also discuss the role of licensed insolvency practitioners, financial warning signs, and strategies to rescue your business. By the end, you will be equipped with valuable knowledge to help you make the right choices for your bar or restaurant.

Short Summary

  • Understanding and seeking professional advice on liquidation options is essential for bars & restaurants facing financial difficulties.
  • Licensed insolvency practitioners provide guidance to businesses undergoing liquidation, protecting creditors’ interests.
  • Directors must fulfil legal obligations during the process or risk serious consequences like disqualification or personal liability.

Understanding Liquidation Options for Bars and Restaurants

The financial landscape for bars and restaurants can be unforgiving, with rising costs and fluctuating market conditions.

When faced with financial difficulties, it is crucial to understand the liquidation options available, such as Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) and Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Seeking professional advice can greatly assist in navigating these options and adhering to strict insolvency laws.

Both CVL and CVA have their advantages, depending on the specific circumstances of your business. A CVL allows for a voluntary liquidation process, while a CVA offers more control and can assist in restructuring the business’s debts.

It is essential to carefully consider each option to determine the most suitable course of action for your pub and bar sector or restaurant.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) is a formal insolvency procedure that enables directors to close an insolvent company voluntarily, liquidating its assets and distributing the proceeds to creditors.

This option is particularly beneficial for pub owners of pubs who wish to close their company, as it significantly reduces creditor losses and enables company directors to comply with their legal responsibilities.

The advantages of a CVL extend to both creditors and directors. For creditors, this process minimises their losses by liquidating the company’s assets and distributing the proceeds.

Simultaneously, it allows company directors to fulfill their legal obligations, ensuring that all creditors are paid in full.

Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

A Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) is a legally binding agreement between a company and its creditors, designed to enable a pub to continue trading by paying a more manageable amount each month towards clearing arrears.

This provides an element of long-term security to creditors and is generally utilised when a company is experiencing financial hardship yet is still deemed to be feasible in the long run.

However, a CVA comes with certain risks. If the company fails to meet its payment requirements, the CVA may be terminated, potentially leading to insolvency.

Therefore, it is essential to carefully assess the viability of the business before entering into a CVA and to communicate with licensed insolvency practitioners to guide you through the process.

The Role of Licensed Insolvency Practitioners in Business Liquidation

Licensed insolvency practitioners play a crucial role in assisting with the liquidation process, from selecting the appropriate insolvency practitioner to negotiating with creditors.

They offer guidance on the most suitable course of action for businesses in the pub and bar sector, ensuring adherence to insolvency laws and safeguarding creditors.

Enlisting the services of a specialist insolvency practitioner when dealing with pub or bar insolvency can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the intricate and often challenging process.

This expert guidance can help you consider the individual circumstances of each case and make informed decisions on the optimal course of action.

Recently, our licenced insolvency practitioners have helped bar and restaurant owners in the following areas:

Choosing the Right Insolvency Practitioner

Selecting the right insolvency practitioner is a crucial step in addressing your business’s financial troubles.

When evaluating potential practitioners, consider their credentials, expertise, and standing. It’s important to confirm that they have successfully passed the Joint Insolvency Examination Board (JIEB) exams, possess relevant experience, and are duly licensed and authorised to act in relation to an insolvent individual, partnership, or company.

The JIEB exams are a requisite set of examinations required to become a certified insolvency practitioner. Ensuring that your chosen practitioner is licensed and authorised guarantees their legal entitlement to act on behalf of your insolvent business.

This assurance is crucial in navigating the complex world of business liquidation and ultimately protecting your interests.

Financial Warning Signs for Bars and Restaurants

It is vital for bar and restaurant owners to be aware of potential financial warning signs that could indicate trouble ahead. Some of these warning signs include cash flow issues, elevated debt levels, and diminished profitability.

Recognising these early indicators allows business owners to promptly address the issues and seek assistance from professionals.

The financial issues faced by pub and bar owners have been exacerbated by external factors, such as the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.

In such challenging times, it is more important than ever for businesses to remain vigilant and proactive in addressing potential financial problems.

Assessing Your Business’s Solvency

The ability to assess your business’s solvency can provide valuable insight into its financial stability. Key solvency ratios include the debt-to-assets ratio, the interest coverage ratio, the equity ratio, and the debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio.

Evaluating these ratios can help you with investment capital and determine whether your bar or other restaurant business is capable of using investment capital, fulfilling its short-term liabilities and maintaining a profitable business.

Other indicators of insolvency include significant experience continuing losses, liquidity ratios below 1, overdue taxes, and strained relationships with current creditors more customers. By regularly monitoring these factors and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can minimise the risk of your business facing financial distress.

Strategies for Rescuing Your Bar or Restaurant Business

If your bar or restaurant is struggling financially, there are various strategies available to help rescue your business, such as assessing its viability, restructuring existing debts, and accessing alternative financing.

These strategies can be tailored to the specific circumstances of your business and may help you navigate challenging financial situations.

Some alternative measures that could assist your business in remaining viable include company administration, HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme, and selling the business.

Each of these options offers a different approach to addressing financial difficulties, and it is essential to carefully consider which strategy is best suited to your unique situation.

Evaluating Your Business’s Viability

To determine whether your bar or restaurant can survive its financial problems, it is crucial to evaluate the business’s viability.

Key indicators of viability include management competence, cash flow levels, debt status, dividends, market demand for products or services, and the ability to sustain profits over time.

A careful consideration thorough assessment of these factors can provide insight into whether your business has the potential to overcome its current challenges.

If your business is deemed viable, debt restructuring may be a suitable option to lessen the financial burden and free up essential working capital for the long term.

However, it is essential to consult with licensed insolvency practitioners to ensure you make the most appropriate decisions for your business’s future.

Director Redundancy Pay and Financing Liquidation

In the event of a pub entering a formal insolvent liquidation process such as a CVL, directors who have worked for the business for a minimum of at least two years, and are paid a regular salary through PAYE for at least 16 hours per week may be eligible for redundancy pay.

This statutory redundancy pay can help cover professional fees and repay debts, providing some financial relief during the liquidation process.

In addition to redundancy pay, directors may also be eligible for other statutory entitlements, including arrears of wages, unpaid holidays, and notice pay. These entitlements can further assist in easing the financial burden during the liquidation process.

Claiming Redundancy Pay

To claim redundancy pay, a director must have been in the same position for a minimum of two years and must submit a written request to their employer within four weeks of their final non-working day.

The cut-off date for claiming redundancy pay is six months minus a day from the last day of employment.

The amount of redundancy pay is determined by the employee’s age and length of service, with a maximum amount available for up to 20 years of work.

This financial assistance can play a vital and practical role, in supporting directors during the challenging process of liquidation.

Legal Obligations and Responsibilities During Liquidation

During the liquidation process, it is essential for directors to fulfill their legal obligations and responsibilities.

These include paying the company’s debts, assisting the liquidator in winding up the company’s affairs, and maintaining communication with creditors more customers. Failure to comply with these obligations can result in serious consequences, such as director disqualification or personal liability.

It is crucial to seek professional advice and guidance throughout the liquidation process to ensure that all legal obligations are met and to minimise the risk of any negative repercussions.

Licensed insolvency practitioners can provide valuable assistance in navigating the complex legal landscape and ensuring that you fulfill your responsibilities as a director.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance during the liquidation process may result in fines, penalties, and in some cases, criminal charges.

Directors may also be held personally liable for the debts of their own company directors, depending on the specific circumstances.

Potential consequences for directors include disqualification and personal liability for company debt. In certain conditions, directors may also be subject to a custodial penalty.

To avoid these repercussions, it is crucial to adhere to all legal obligations and responsibilities during the liquidation process and seek professional advice when necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when a pub goes into liquidation?

When a pub goes into liquidation, it is a very serious event for pub business owners and all the stakeholders involved. An insolvency practitioner is appointed as a liquidator to realise company assets and distribute the proceeds among creditors, while closing down the pub owners’ business permanently.

As a result, the company name is also removed from the Companies House register.

What happens if I put my business into liquidation?

If you choose to put your business into liquidation, you will need to appoint a liquidator to take control of the company’s affairs. The assets of the company are sold and the proceeds used to pay off creditors, with any remaining money distributed to shareholders.

Ultimately, the company will be removed from the Companies House register.

What is the cheapest way to liquidate a company?

The most cost-effective way to liquidate a company is by using the self-funded process, which requires liquidators and creditors to have debts be paid off in order of priority. This allows for the formal process of dissolution to occur quickly and cheaply, allowing the former company’s debts to be closed down with minimal costs.

Who gets paid first in liquidation?

Secure debts and pay creditors – When a company enters liquidation, the first people to be paid are pay creditors, typically those with secure debts. After these creditors have been paid, preferential creditors and then unsecured creditors will receive payment.

Finally, shareholders may be compensated.


In conclusion, navigating the complex world of business liquidation can be challenging for bar and restaurant owners. Understanding the different liquidation options, such as Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) and Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), is crucial to making informed decisions.

Licensed insolvency practitioners can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, helping you comply with legal obligations and responsibilities.

Whether your business is experiencing financial warning signs or is already facing insolvency, the strategies and advice presented in this blog post can help you make the best decisions for your bar or restaurant’s future.

By seeking professional guidance, taking appropriate action, and remaining vigilant, your business can overcome financial challenges and strive towards a brighter future.

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