Liberis funding solution keeps restaurant dream alive

When a newly opened French-English restaurant in Monmouth struggled for funding from its bank, it was a funding solution from Liberis Finance, and hard work from the owners, that saved the day. And now the future looks very bright indeed, with plans to increase the capacity, refurbish the dining room and invest in a new kitchen garden.

Owner Paul Smith had previously worked as a chef in kitchens all over the world. Over the years he became somewhat disillusioned with cooking as he noticed a number of restaurants that were resorting to using sous vide meals that could be microwaved instead of serving fresh cooked food.

Changing course, he set up his own building company and worked for Network Rail for 24 years. When his wife Shelley, a professional gardener, suggested embarking on a new business venture in South Wales six years ago, Paul jumped at the chance.

The couple renovated a dilapidated outbuilding and began selling imported plants from Holland and serving tea and cakes, calling their new business The Potting Shed. Soon the food side of the business took over and they were serving breakfasts and light lunches.

But then, four years ago, the landlord decided not to renew their lease. Paul and Shelley moved the business into a 19th century barn in nearby Whitchurch. The restaurant’s reputation continued to grow and it began serving Sunday lunches and evening meals such as locally-sourced sea bass with lemon and herb butter, and Tournedos Rossini.

As a new business, they struggled to find funding from their bank, just at the point that their cashflow was being squeezed with the quieter months ahead. That’s when their landlord suggested talking to Liberis. Through the Liberis Business Cash Advance, £5,000 in funding relieved the immediate cashflow pressure and also gave the couple a budget for some advertising. The advance is linked directly to the business’ customer card transactions; in this case, 15% of each card transaction is automatically taken until the advance amount has been paid. This means the payments are better matched to a company’s cashflow.

“With the Business Cash Advance solution from Liberis we have now part-funded the renovation and expansion of our business. It’s stress and hassle free, completely seamless and it means all our effort and energy can be invested in the restaurant.”

Paul and Shelley have big plans for the restaurant. Further funding from Liberis is now part-financing the construction of an Orangery. It will also help to pay for the creation of a kitchen garden where many of the vegetables such as tomatoes, edible flowers and herbs from the menu are grown.

“Considering where we started with the business just six years ago, the growth has been fantastic. Once the expansion is completed our turnover will be transformed which will allow us to cater for more people and events. With Liberis as a partner there are very exciting times ahead.”