The Casa Group laid off staff on Friday as it negotiated with the Hoi Pong Square landlord in an attempt to get out of the lease, managing partner James Bradshaw said. “A few staff ” were let go “to cut costs”, he said by email. Rumours have been circulating that the whole group is up for sale, but James said this is wrong. His brother, Philip, the largest shareholder, wants to sell as do some other partners.
James said “the trouble is with” the Casa restaurant and negotiations with its landlord are continuing. The group’s popular Cena restaurant in Man Yee square will carry on.
For a few months James and his partners experimented with new management. A chef consultant was brought in, plus a marketing executive. The chef was a loud character who did not want his name revealed because of other employment. He vastly improved the food, which you can still see today. We remember at Cena being served a Caesar salad piled high with bacon, egg and cheesy sauce. It was huge and we said to the waitress, “You wouldn’t get better than this at Mandarin Oriental.” The new management also raised prices in line with those of most restaurants in Man Yee square. The Casa Group’s reputation for lowest prices at a quality western restaurant went out the window (although drinks remain well priced).
James said they have now parted company with the short-lived management and the value for money model will be reinstated. “We are bringing back tea sets, breakfast specials. Bacon sandwiches and coffee for $40, coffee and a croissant for $30. We used to have the best breakfast business in the square.”