Locals to Bournemouth and Poole were shocked and disappointed recently at the sudden closure of Rajasthan, a family-owned and run Indian restaurant which had traded successfully for over 20 years from its site on Penn Hill.
High quality food and service had always been its trademark. We ran multiple promotions for the restaurant on our Elite Living platform over the years, which always sold well, which is a clear indication of its popularity.
The building in which it resides had been up for redevelopment, pending planning consent, and coincidentally, the current lease had reached the end of its term. As a new long term lease was not offered by the landlords, the tough decision was made by the original founder to vacate the premises.
After reading of Rajasthan’s demise, myself and Steve made contact with the management team, to see whether they would be willing to stay put if a deal could be negotiated with the landlord, even on a temporary basis. We worked on this deal behind the scenes for a while, and managed to strike a rolling agreement with both the landlord and the operations team, with the intention to secure a more permanent footing when the fate of the building is decided. At this point, we plan to commit to considerable investment at the premises.
The retention of Rajasthan’s management team and head chef was critical to us proceeding with this deal. They are clearly experts, and experts are exactly what is needed when delivering ethnic cuisine of this quality. Whilst the original Rajasthan founder has moved away, his brother Bobby, who has managed the restaurant for many years, has stayed, and continues to lead the operations.
There has been a slight name change, from ‘Rajasthan’ to ‘Fort Raj’, to help usher in a new era for Bobby and the team. We are delighted to have been able to get this deal done. The locals have their favourite Indian restaurant back, and the current workforce have retained their jobs.
A few people have asked us if we considered converting the premises to our 4th Chicken & Blues site, however, it was never on the cards as the location is within a 2 mile radius of our latest restaurant in Ashley Cross, which is developing into a very strong outlet for us. We have also just launched our event catering business with a branded C&B trailer. We’ve already been seen local festivals and on site at JP Morgan, with many more events, both private and public, confirmed.
This wasn’t initially what we had in mind when planning our 4th restaurant, but sometimes an unexpected opportunity presents itself.
I recommend you check out Fort Raj. A terribly decent Ruby…
All the best.