Restaurant chain Balans that has been welcoming LGBT+ customers for 23 years is selling all its London units.
The brand was born as a sandwich shop in 1987 on Old Compton Street, the heart of London’s LGBT+ scene.
Since then it has expanded across the UK capital and even to Miami. It currently has seven London sites. These include two on Old Compton Street and units in Ealing, Victoria, Kensington, as well as in the Westfield London and Westfield Stratford shopping malls.
But the LGBT+ inclusive ‘casual dining’ company, Balans Soho Society has placed all its sites up for sale.
Trade title The Grocer reports that CDG is marketing the properties. And they are selling the whole chain lock, stock and kitchen sink. The sale includes the leases, licenses, fixtures and fittings.
However, the Balans name and brand is not part of the sale.
‘Pre-COVID these sites would have gone for serious money’
The news comes as all UK restaurants, bars and other venues are closed due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Moreover, the government’s decision to start to ease lockdown restrictions in England is forcing many businesses to decide on their long term future.
Many fear that LGBT+ venues will have to close permanently. Already Legends, a venue in Brighton on the south coast of England, popular for its drag nights, has gone into insolvency.
Morris Greenberg, managing director of CDG Leisure, told The Caterer that he hadn’t had any bids for the sites as of Tuesday (26 May).
But he said there has been ‘a lot of interest’. And added: ‘As for the amount, I’ve got no idea. Pre-COVID these sites would have gone for serious money.’
Interested parties will have to move swiftly. CDG is asking for ‘best bids’ by the end of tomorrow (29 May).
GSN has approached Balans for comment.