Ponti’s Restaurant, which has been run by the same family for nearly 50 years, has not only survived the pandemic but has come through it stronger than ever.
The business, which has restaurants in Sheffield and London, negotiated a short-term working capital injection of £100k from Reward Finance Group to cover its costs when normal service was interrupted because of the various lockdowns.
The money was used to pay suppliers, rent, utilities and those staff who continued to work throughout the pandemic, so they would be up to date with everyone when they reopened.
From the moment they could serve customers outside in April, through to the restrictions being lifted completely on 19th July, trading has exceeded expectations in both restaurants, enabling them to fully repay the loan.
Son of the founder, Stefano Ispani, who now owns and runs the restaurants, is delighted to be trading properly again.
“They were extremely worrying times, and it is very sad that many within the hospitality trade have not survived,” he said.
“We have extremely loyal customers who we knew would support us once we could start trading normally again, so it was just a question of keeping our nerve until things started getting back to normal.
“Sadly, our confidence wasn’t shared by the banks, and we were extremely disappointed, but not altogether surprised that our own bankers, whom we have been with for 40 years, were so tied up in bureaucracy that any additional funding proved to be impossible to find.
“Fortunately, we were introduced to Alan Sanderson at Reward Finance Group by Adam Simpson of the Silkstone Consultants. Alan came to see us and was quick to understand our business and look at the success we had achieved over decades.
“He understood the position we found ourselves in was none of our doing and quickly provided us with the funds to see us through a very difficult period in our history. Their confidence has been rewarded, as we have now repaid the loan in full, and business is steadily getting back to flourishing again.”
Alan Sanderson, Senior Relationship Manager at Reward, added,
“Ponti’s has been trading for nearly half a century and has survived a number of recessions during that time. Drawing on that experience and with an excellent management team in place, they produced a well thought through business plan to plot their way through the pandemic.
“Although the banks were reluctant to lend to the hospitality sector during this time, we were impressed with the way they had looked at every eventuality and provided a solution for their short-term funding needs. Naturally, we are delighted our faith was well-founded and the money has now been paid back.”