At the NTI newsroom we love Wahaca. No, really, it is very, very good. We like the way that flamboyant waiters scribble your order on the paper menu in front of you. We like that they say that, haphazardly and deliciously, your food will arrive with you at various times during the next 20 minutes, in whatever order it escapes from the kitchen you can see from your seat, and it DOES. Wonderful things appear before you in seconds, instant gratuity being speedily sated, as Pork Pibil, Buttermilk Chicken and Sonora Salads appear like manifestations in front of you. We like the taste. We like the sense of 'now'. And we like being in and out in seven minutes feeling very good about the time spent there. (We're also quite chipper about the prices.)
In many respects we are pleased that having previously said it would permanently shut 10 of its roughly 30 sites in an attempt to return to profitability, Wahaca is making a fist of it and proposing a CVA to its shareholders and lenders requesting they inject £5 million of new money into the business to put it on a more sustainable footing.
Lenders led by the taxpayer-backed NatWest Group will also see roughly 60 per cent of their exposure, or £13 million, written off, while shareholders are writing off the entirety of the £12 million they are owed by the company. That is rubbish for them, but have they not heard of the 'paper menu' and 'haphazard delivery of wonderful food' thing? It also gives Wahaca a genuine opportunity to survive a terrible summer.
PwC have their names all over the paper menu on this one, and sent the latest details to Wahaca's creditors earlier this week ahead of a vote on the CVA. This time the pain is being shared around and it is not the landlords at the sharp end of the deal, but the creditors.
We will let you know how it goes.