A CATERING company which supplied food on board trains to the capital is facing liquidation with the loss of 11 jobs just 18 months after starting up.
Hastings Rail Catering Services Ltd (HRCS) ran Grub on the Go from its base at Hastings train station. Cash flow problems are being blamed as the main factor.
The business started on April 2, 2012 and ran four trollies on trains to and from Charing Cross run by Southeastern.
It was the first time passengers were able to buy food on board trains since Rail Gourmet stopped the service in October 2010. Four staff who used to work for Rail Gourmet were given new jobs.
Staff served tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks including cider from a local producer in Robertsbridge.
There were also pastries and croissants available.
Hastings Fruit and Veg Co. based in the Britannia Enterprise Centre in Waterworks Road provided fresh produce for the daily service.
The directors of Hastings Rail Catering Services Ltd have taken advice from business recovery and insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor in Brighton.
Begbies Traynor partner Jon Beard said: “The directors of Hastings Rail Catering Services have instructed us to assist them in placing the company into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation as they have concluded that it is unable to pay its debts.”
Mr Beard cited cash flow problems as the main reason for the business failure.
The company traded as Grub on the Go and stated from the outset it would be run on a shared ownership basis with staff taking equal shares and profits.
Ray Chapman, a director of HRCS, said he and his colleagues were ‘extremely sad and disappointed’ the business could not continue.
He said: “We would like to thank the teams at Southeastern in Hastings and Hastings Rail Catering Services Ltd. Both have worked extremely hard towards making a success of the business. Revenues, when not affected by matters beyond the company’s control, demonstrated that there is a viable business to be operated.
“We understand discussions are under way between Southeastern and former employees of the company regarding recommencing catering services on their routes.”
Mr Chapman added: “We really do hope that this can come to fruition to deliver and continue to improve the customer experience through a partnership with Southeastern on the Hastings line supporting local jobs and the local economy.
“We would like to thank the customers on the route for supporting the business for the last 18 months.”