Belfast restaurants secure support package from Santander
Bustling Belfast restaurants, Chubby Cherub and AMPM, have secured £150k and £190k respectively through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) package from Santander UK. The funding will be used to help manage ongoing cashflow issues, which were compounded due to lost revenues during Covid-induced closures.
AMPM Belfast is an established restaurant, cabaret club and roof garden bar that has traded from Belfast city centre for the last 18 years, owned and operated by Eamon McCusker. Chubby Cherub Ristorante, also owned by Eamon McCusker in Belfast city centre, has traded for the last ten years, however last year it moved into new premises and underwent a massive expansion and refurbishment, supported by Santander.
The restaurants, which combined employ around 100 people, were forced to close from 20 March to 3 July due to coronavirus. Prior to closure, AMPM experienced its most profitable February trading month since the opening of the restaurant in 2002, with sales up £34k on the same month the previous year.
Despite strong trading in February, the business saw a decline in footfall as coronavirus hit and then the government’s forced closure of all bars and restaurants in March. The management’s priority was the health and safety of colleagues and customers and they felt that it would be prudent to close until receiving further government advice.
Eamon McCusker, owner and operator, AMPM and Chubby Cherub, commented: “During the past 18 years, we have learnt to expect the unexpected and over that time to plan and adapt and would consider ourselves pretty resilient. Covid-19 has tested that resilience to its core. The uncertainty and concerns we have experienced have been tempered by the support and professionalism of Santander and specifically our relationship director Jamie Foulkes. Thanks to Santander, we feel supported and hope that we will be stronger and actually thrive as a family business after this experience.”
Jamie Foulkes, relationship director, Santander UK, commented: “AMPM has been one of Belfast city centre’s leading restaurants for almost two decades, with the more recent addition of Chubby Cherub attracting diners from across the city. The team were quick to focus efforts on its safe reopening and we have been delighted to see customers return to the restaurants.”