Company closure Bread and Wine restaurant: Our bill does not make business sense

The owner, who only gave the name Nicholas, told Pulse.com.gh the main reason behind the company's planned closure was its high electricity bills.

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The owner of Bread and Wine restaurant is waiting to have his electricity bill audited. The outcome will determine whether he closes his business or not.

The owner, who only gave the name Nicholas, and grew up on the Ivory Coast, told Pulse.com.gh the main reason behind the company's planned closure is its high electricity bills.

Last week the Italian restaurant posted on Facebook that it was being forced to close due to high electricity bills.

In an interview at the company's Osu premise on Wednesday, Nicholas said "the only reason this company said it is going to close is “because at the end of the day no restaurant can work with GHC33,000 as electricity bill."

"How much do I make to pay GHC33,000 bill of electricity, to pay water, and pay your employees", he said.

"If tomorrow they come and tell me my bill has reduced by 50 percent because it was a mistake, I stay open. If not, I pack and leave,” he added.

He said he had invested $1.8 million USD.

“Would I throw 1.8 million just because?”

Allegations

A former employee of the company blamed the planned closure of the restaurant on "bad financial planning."

In an interview with Pulse.com.gh, the former employee, who did not want to be identified, said the state of business affairs at the company was “very appalling" and that the claims of high electricity bills were only being used as an excuse by a completely "bogus business."

According to the former employee, workers of the company would be paid late  while some got paid half wages for the entire month.

He said the "irony lies in the fact that the food being sold at Bread and Wine was so expensive that people could buy and drink to the tune of possibly wages of 7 to 10 people in one night.

“I have seen people spend 7, 000 (cedi) at a siting and that was even more than the seven people’s wages for the whole month. And that wage was coming in late for about three weeks."

"ECG has not kicked him out of the country, he has kick himself," he stressed.

However, the company refuted the allegations.

“If the company were in danger as the former employee was saying, I will owe money to my suppliers , which is not the case. I will not be able to pay my employees which is not the case,” Nicholas said.

He believed the former employee spoke out of bitterness.

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Government assurance

The deputy power minister John Jinapor directed Electricity Company of Ghana to audit the electricity bills of the restaurant after visiting the company to address their concerns.

Asked what the status of that audit was,  Nicholas said: "We just raised the point of [the] electricity bill. I told him we cannot work  with a bill at GHC33,000. Business wise, it doesn't make sense. We cannot afford it. And he told me he is going to look into it.”

The audit began this week, it is expected to last a month.

If the audit proves his bill is correct, he said he will  close his company and leave Ghana.

"Then it means my business model is not working for Ghana. Then I will go."

Background

Bread and Wine restaurant announced plans to close the company by March ending, citing exorbitant electricity bill.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the company said: "Dear friends and clients, after receiving couple of electricity ECG bills, 30,000 Ghc/month (7,000 Euros/month), we are sorry to announce that Bread&Wine will close its doors at the end of March 2016.

"We tried to explain to ECG that we are only using our ACs during lunch and diner time, therefore that consumption of electricity is impossible. Their answer was "if you are not happy, go back to your country".

"So it is with a great sadness but a lot of fantastic memories that we took the decision to close down our venue.

“We would like to thanks all of you for being part of our adventure and we hope to see you coming before the final closing."

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