Hell's kitchen for Ramsay's restaurants

CELEBRITY chef Gordon Ramsay has found himself in hot water after his UK restaurants suffered a near 90 per cent drop in profits, forcing the foul-mouthed chef to pump his own money into the business.<br /><br />Gordon Ramsay Holdings filed accounts showing that the TV chef and Chris Hutcheson, his father-in-law and business partner, were forced to inject &pound;5m to keep the business running.<br /><br />Ramsay&rsquo;s business problems are blamed on ambitious expansion as well as the closure of key London restaurants like the Savoy as pre-tax profits tumbled 87 per cent from &pound;3.05m in 2007 to &pound;383,325.<br /><br />Ramsay has rampantly expanded his business, almost doubling the number of restaurants to 10 during for the 12 months to 31 August and made a foray into cooking schools, with a 51 per cent stake in Tante Marie in Surrey.<br /><br />The company&rsquo;s debts soared from &pound;4.01m to &pound;9.48m during the period, which doubled interest payments from &pound;279,485 to &pound;545,563. At the same time, an unpaid backlog of VAT, corporation tax and PAYE reached almost &pound;8m and is only now being repaid this month.<br /><br />And the business breached covenants on loans with Royal Bank of Scotland because it did not generate enough revenue.<br /><br />The Savoy Grill was shut because of refurbishment at its host hotel, while its Connaught lease expired. The two restaurants alone accounted for a &pound;9.5m reduction in revenues.<br /><br />A statement from the firm said that, after a restructuring of operations, it was confident it had &ldquo;successfully undergone change for the better&rdquo; and was now &ldquo;well-placed to grow&rdquo;.