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Riverside braces itself as key tenants face closure

PUBLISHED: 16:38 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:06 04 September 2019

Frankie and Benny's restaurant at the Riverside leisure quarter in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Frankie and Benny's restaurant at the Riverside leisure quarter in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Archant

Norwich's Riverside leisure quarter faces losing a string of eateries after The Restaurant Group announced it would be closing more than 100 of its locations.

Chiquito restaurant at the Riverside leisure quarter in Norwich. Picture: ArchantChiquito restaurant at the Riverside leisure quarter in Norwich. Picture: Archant

The Riverside retail hub stands to lose three of its key tenants, with Frankie and Benny's, Chiquito and Coast to Coast all in the firing line.

Frankie and Benny's restaurants will be the worst hit with 76 closing. Another 42 restaurants will also shut down.

MORE: Cafe Rouge in Chapelfield set to close

And further into the city centre intu Chapelfield could lose a second tenant in its dining terrace.

The Restaurant Group also owns Wagamama and is considering shutting some locations of the Japanese chain.

Coast to Coast at the Riverside leisure quarter in Norwich. Picture: ArchantCoast to Coast at the Riverside leisure quarter in Norwich. Picture: Archant

Chapelfield has already been dealt a blow this week with Café Rouge announcing it would be closing its doors next week.

However, Stefan Gurney, chief executive of the Norwich BID, said that these closures could present an opportunity.

"In every challenge there is opportunity," said Mr Gurney. "This move by The Restaurant Group and by the Casual Dining Group which owns Café Rouge, highlights that consumers are moving away from chains.

"Instead they are choosing to shop and eat at smaller independents which offer something a bit more authentic."

Mr Gurney said he did not believe Riverside would be left derelict.

"The group will still want a presence here to make the rest of their business viable," he said. "Of the 100 sites I doubt all three will fall in Norwich. At worst it may be two.

"I'm sure that Riverside will be looking at its offering and seeing how it can realign itself with what the consumers want. It already has a great offering with the trampoline park, Odeon and the Wetherspoons, so it has plenty of footfall to remain a success."

The closures of Restaurant Group sites will not be immediate but will largely involve allowing leases to run out at "unattractive" current locations, the group said.

Mr Gurney continued: "We've recently seen Fatso's move into Riverside and that's a more local brand which is really thriving there.

"Riverside used to be more of a late night leisure quarter and it's now shifted to dining, I think it will realign itself again with some more unique offerings."

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