RESTAURANT owners have blamed Brexit for the failure of their business.

Bus Stop, a Barbadian restaurant in North Road, Brighton, has closed its doors and called in the liquidators after suffering months of uncertainty as the country prepares to leave the EU.

Owners Danny O’Shea and Dominique Osoria said customers became wary of spending money on nights out with the looming split fuelling ongoing questions over the country’s financial stability.

Danny said: “Brexit definitely has been a big part of the problem.”

And Dominique said: “Brexit was one of the major factors.

“We opened up six months after the vote to leave. It created so much uncertainty. Because of that uncertainty people weren’t going out as often and when they were going out they were spending less.

“As a restaurant you need to look at your spend per head and it’s crucial you are making enough to cover that and the margins were just getting slimmer and slimmer.

“Brexit is not just affecting restaurants, it’s a rolling ball across every business.

“If we had opened up a year earlier and already developed a clientele, we may have been able to weather the uncertainty.

“But the problem is we can’t just look at the last time we left the EU and how that panned out and plan accordingly.

“We just don’t know what is going to happen so we’ve had to pull the plug. Nobody seems to have thought about the impact Brexit will have on the high street.

“If restaurants close, they could struggle to be re-let and new businesses will struggle to pay rates.”

Dominique and Danny ran restaurants in Barbados for more than 20 years before starting Bus Stop in Brighton.

They said Brighton and Hove businesses faced a number of challenges including high rents and rates, combined with high parking and train prices deterring customers from making the journey into the city.

“The city council is always talking about how great it is to have all these independent businesses but when you work in the Lanes and North Laine and see how many are regularly changing hands it shows just how hard it is.

“The council wants these businesses but they need to do more to help them.

“Deliveroo is also having a big impact. They are great for the big chains, but for small businesses it makes it almost impossible to compete.

“We invested a lot into the business and have ended up having to go into liquidation.

“There wasn’t an easy way out.”