Hospitality Business Magazine

Chocolate Brown placed into voluntary administration

Chocolate Brown is an award-winning artisan chocolatier and café business, employing 38 people. Trading for 30 years, originally starting out in the deep south, the cafe is a well-known destination in the Auckland region and the brand’s hand-crafted chocolates are sold in selected retail outlets nationwide.

BWA Insolvency founder Bryan Williams has been appointed Administrator to preserve the inherent value of Chocolate Brown and to see if it can be carried on, with a sale to a new owner.
In addition to the Warkworth café, the company operates Bayside Bistro, a beach-front restaurant in Snells Beach.
Bryan Williams, who specialises in voluntary administration, says Covid-19 restrictions have significantly impacted Chocolate Brown, with lockdowns reducing revenue through both the Chocolate Brown Café and Baysite Bistro. The company is burdened by secured creditor and supplier obligations.
“The consequences of Covid have caused a heavy toll for the company to bear, with the shareholders contributing their life’s savings to preserve the business and the making of its award-winning hand-crafted chocolates. Despite admirable efforts by the owners, they reached the point where they could no longer continue,” he says.
“The directors elected to engage in the Voluntary Administration process appointment to ensure that the inherent value of the business is preserved so that it can continue, and be sold, to new owners.”
The Administrator intends to immediately restructure the business so that it returns to viability. This will include stopping loss-making activity and which will unfortunately involve redundancies of about one third of the staff. Bayside Bistro’s last day of trading was yesterday (December 4) and some staff will be redeployed into Chocolate Brown Café.
It is expected that the business will be available for sale early in the new year.