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Morecambe restaurant to close due to rising costs

Fusion restaurant and takeaway in Morecambe town centre

A Morecambe restaurant has become the latest local business to announce its closure due to spiralling costs.

Fusion, on Pedder Street in the town centre, will shut its doors on Sunday, although the owners hope it will return in future.

The popular restaurant and takeaway is known locally for its chicken dishes inspired by Portuguese cuisine and tagline 'The Peri Peri People'. 

Chris Donaldson, co-owner, spoke to Beyond Radio about the reasons for closing.

"The cost of everything is sky-high," he said.

"Stock on a weekly basis, we're probably paying about £2,000 more than we were, on a similar turnover.

"Gas and electric on a monthly basis, we're paying about £3,000 more than we were.

"Then there's packaging, You could go on forever. We've looked at every part of the business to try to save money, but it's just not sustainable.

"Overall the figures are still very good. Customers are still ordering. 

"But takeaway is going to become a treat. Some families won't be able to afford it. That's the situation we're in right now.

"You can only pass so many price increases on to the customers until in the end they just won't order because they can't afford it.

"The price of fuel doesn't help. The cost of tubs of mayonnaise has nearly doubled. Every product you look at, on average (costs) around 60-70 per cent (more) than it was before."

The around 20 Fusion staff members were told the news of the closure on Monday.

"It was a sad day, to tell the staff," said Mr Donaldson.

"They all work extremely hard. But they all understood. They can relate to it, because they're feeling (the rising costs) themselves."

Mr Donaldson said they'd looked at every possible way to save money and stay open; including changing the chefs' cooking times to save on energy costs.

He said the business clung on, hoping for support from those in power.

Last Thursday, new Prime Minister Liz Truss announced there would be help for businesses, with rising energy bills during the cost of living crisis.

She said there would be a price cap guarantee equivalent to that announced for households - fixed at £2,500 a year for a typical home - for six months from October 1.

The Prime Minister also said this would be reviewed in three months, and the government would work with businesses in the most vulnerable sectors over the coming months to see what further support might be required. This could include hospitality businesses.

But Mr Donaldson said this had come too late for Fusion to stay open.

"We've not been told what that cap looks like for a business," he said.

"It's open ended. What happens in six months?

"The footfall in the winter months in Morecambe, it just drops off the face of the earth.

"We should have shut six weeks ago. We've been holding on for this support package. We were hoping the Eden Project would be announced (in Morecambe).

"But there's no real answer. We can't just keep hanging on forever. You can't go on digging that hole. The situation we find ourselves in is nobody's fault, but the business doesn't work right now."

Chris said that he hoped the business would return in future.

"We're not saying this is forever, we're going to pause," he said.

"We have to look at the business model and what we do. If gas and electric prices are here to stay, fine, we have to deal with that and look at ways to overcome. You can't really do that when the business is trading and losing money.

"I'd like to think we'd be back open next year. But it all depends on how the prices are.

"We've put too much into it, just to hand the keys back. We'll be back bigger and better, there's no doubt about that."

Chris and Fusion co-owner Marcus Harrington, who set up the business in 2018, have been friends since childhood, both attending Heysham High School.

Fusion previously had two other takeaway outlets. The first of these, on Heysham Road in Heysham, opened in December 2018. This was followed by a takeaway on Church Street in Lancaster in 2019.

Early this year, Chris and Marcus decided to close the Heysham and Lancaster premises, and operate solely from the Morecambe outlet, which opened in the former Grove restaurant in May 2021.

"We've still got very good customers who support us and order regularly," said Mr Donaldson.

"It's unfortunate that the money isn't there for the business to be sustained.

"We need to support as many local businesses as we can, because once they are gone, some won't come back.

"We're not the first and we won't be the last."

In August, The Welcome Cafe on Victoria Street in Morecambe town centre closed due to rising costs.

INTERVIEW: Sadness as Morecambe town centre cafe closes down - Beyond Radio

The previous month, The Buttery on Anderton Street closed for a similar reason.

Rising prices lead to closure of popular Morecambe sandwich shop - Beyond Radio

 

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