Administrators and liquidators of high street restaurants and leisure operators have instructed CAPA to audit sites around the country, as extended Covid-19 restrictions continue to impact casual dining and leisure chains.

Despite the economy re-opening in various sectors in recent months, a number of restaurant chains, cafés, beauty salons and ice cream parlours have not been able to survive an extended period of low or zero trade, leaving administrators to appoint CAPA to maximise returns for creditors.

One of CAPA’s recent instructions was a rates audit on the La Casita: Little House of Tapas chain, now in liquidation, which operated Spanish tapas franchises across Yorkshire.

After the ongoing effects of closures during the pandemic, coupled with growing debts, Julian Pitts and Louise Longley of Begbies Traynor Group, the corporate insolvency and restructuring company, were appointed liquidators of the chain on 20 May.

They have instructed CAPA to conduct the rates audits on five restaurants the company operated, meaning CAPA’s Audit team will now use bespoke software for a forensic analysis of business rates costs paid across the sites.

The auditors will interrogate the data to uncover any anomalies or errors, before recovering any overpaid sums for La Casita’s creditors.

CAPA has recently been appointed on other casual dining operations, including Banh Mi City, the Vietnamese cuisine specialist that was initially expanding up until the pandemic took hold.

With locations in the city of London where footfall remained historically low, even after Covid restrictions were eased, Banh Mi City’s financial problems continued throughout the lockdown and beyond. In the end Alan Simon of AABRS, the insolvency specialist, was appointed liquidator on 25 May, and he has now appointed CAPA to conduct another rates audit.

CAPA will again inspect the data to identify overpayments and recover them for the creditors.

Among CAPA’s other recent appointments include an instruction on Scoop Fine Italian Gelato Ltd, which operated ice cream parlours around London.

The liquidators Jonathan Bass and Freddy Khalastchi of Menzies, the business advisory company, have asked CAPA to launch a rates audit on various prime sites the parlours traded from. CAPA’s forensic analysis of business rates will look to spot errors in overpayments and recover them for the business’s creditors.

In all the appointments, CAPA’s auditors will recover overpaid sums on a no-win, no-fee basis.