An award-winning mum and son’s family-owned business is facing permanent closure after receiving more than 200 Christmas booking cancellations.
Dad-of-two Daniel Jobsz, 43, from Lewisham, thought his dream had came true when he opened Epic Pies in the City of London with his mum Roshnara back in November 2019 – after three years of catering markets, pop-ups and events
After countless struggles during the pandemic, the latest stay at home suggestion from the Government could be the final nail in the coffin for the city centre establishment.
READ MORE: Croydon pub landlord blasts Boris Johnson after 258 bookings cancelled in one day
As a result of lost trade over the festive period, the much-loved pie shop is closed until further notice, and is at risk of closing down completely.
It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this week offered little reprieve to struggling pubs, bars and restaurants, with £1bn of funding – which boils down to £6,000 per business, no matter the size.
Speaking to MyLondon, owner Daniel Jobsz says that the money “won’t even touch the sides” in lost Christmas revenues, salaries and rent which he is due to pay on Christmas Day.
The 43-year-old said: “It’s been brutal – there’s no more words to describe it. People are simply out of cash. We stood strong through the first two years with furlough and tax breaks.
“But we emptied and restocked as with restrictions constantly changing. It cost us thousands of pounds.”
Epic Pies, which is famous for its full English breakfast tart, shut its doors last Friday, December 17 – and the owners are unable to say if and when they will reopen.
Daniel has even had to dig into his own pockets several times throughout the pandemic just to pay his own staff.
He added: “It’s something that you do when you believe in your business, and we want to keep hold of the staff we’ve got.
“My mum and I are back on service because we’ve lost so many staff due to Brexit. There’s a huge shortage across the industry as a whole.
“If we knew that restrictions were gonna last as long as this when we started out, then I don’t think we would have continued.
“I have a wife and two children to provide for so obviously that’s a huge worry as well.
“The one silver lining in closing over Christmas is that I’ve been able to take some paternity leave and spend time with my wife and kids – but that’s the only good thing.”
Daniel and Roshnara have struggled to keep up PAYE and pension contributes over the past two years.
During the pandemic, directors of hospitality firms have borrowed from banks, friends and family to make ends meet – and Daniel has had to pay his staff from personal savings more than once.
The City of London has been hit particularly hard, Daniel says, with many big employers telling their staff to work from home.
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He added: “It takes so much passion, energy and sacrifice to run a venue, and I just feel like people are starting to lose faith in hospitality.
“It’s the small, independent businesses that are at the highest risk of closing due to ongoing restrictions, and I fear we could be left with a soulless city landscape full of big chains.
“We cannot withstand the latest stay-at-home order which triggered over 200 Christmas event cancellations in a week.”
During times when they have had to spend thousands of pounds getting rid of stock and due to restrictions changing, sometimes on a daily basis, Daniel and Roshnara did their bit for the community – donating hundreds of pies to the homeless shelter opposite the restaurant. They also donated to NHS staff at near St Barts Hospital.
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