Lu Ban, a popular Chinese restaurant in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle, has permanently closed after gaining a strong reputation and winning awards.
The restaurant, which first opened its doors in 2019 under the leadership of celebrity chef Dave Critchley, was known for its speciality dishes from China's Tianjin region and its unique chef's table experience. Lu Ban received a Gold Award at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2022 and was named Restaurant of the Year at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards.
Unfortunately, the owners of Lu Ban have cited the cost of living crisis and increasing financial pressures as the reason for the restaurant's closure. In a social media post, a spokesperson for the restaurant expressed regret and explained that the ongoing cost of living crisis had reduced footfall, making the business unsustainable. They also apologized to customers who had made plans to visit and assured them that any deposits paid would be returned.
Tough times for the restaurant industry
The closure of Lu Ban comes during a challenging period for the restaurant industry as a whole. Frankie and Benny's recently closed its Doncaster location, with 40 other branches shutting down over the past year due to the impact of lockdowns and inflation. Similarly, Byron Burger closed its Oxford restaurant, following the collapse of the chain earlier this year, which left many employees without jobs. The hospitality sector has been struggling to recover from the pandemic and is now facing additional challenges such as soaring energy bills and inflation.
Several well-known retailers and restaurant chains have also been forced to shut down branches or cease operations altogether. Italian dining chain Prezzo announced the closure of 46 restaurants in April due to rising energy and food costs, putting 810 jobs at risk. TRG, the parent company of Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito, and Wagamama, revealed plans to shut down approximately 40 sites by April 2024. Additionally, a family favorite restaurant chain has postponed its plans to open new locations following the closure of two existing restaurants.
The closure of Lu Ban and the challenges faced by the restaurant industry highlight the difficulties businesses are currently experiencing in the wake of the pandemic and the ongoing economic crisis.
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