Chimichanga has gone – now what?

Chimichanga sat at the junction of the High Street and Stour Street

Canterbury’s Chimichanga restaurant has closed.

An estate agent’s board is advertising the property at the junction of the High Street and Stour Street as available to rent.

Private equity firm TPG Capital owns both the Tex-Mex chain and the Italian eatery Prezzo, which sits next to it in the High Street.

In March, it decided to dispense with Chimichanga. It is now one of a number city businesses in chains which are at risk of closure in the future.

These include Carluccio’s, Mothercare, New Look and Poundworld.

For the time being, however, another prominent Canterbury city centre shop unit will lie idle.


  1. So, another one bites the dust. Another multi-outlet chain restaurant has found, or rather its bean-counters have reported, that the cash cow no longer wants to moo and/or deliver double digit, year-on-year, growth. Shame: I quite liked Chimichanga, so I’m sad to see it go and of course, I’m sorry that the entire team is now looking for other means of earning a living.
    One of the reasons commonly cited for High Street business closures is the rent charged by heartless, avaricious and venal landlords, who simply rake in as much dosh as they can and who appear not to care about the consequences. Periodically, this type of landlord is castigated in the media, with politicians of all colours rightly leading the charge. Even the City Council and previous Archbishops have been known to weigh into the argument, using such invective as corporate greed, faceless capitalism and reckless social irresponsibility. Fine words, which I’ll come back to.
    It’s no coincidence though, that members of the very society affected and saddened by High Street decline are now found to be the actual lighters of the blue touch paper. I must add very quickly that this does not make them bad people. Far from it in fact, they’re just normal folk, who find it easier to shop online, prefer to drive to a retail park/mall and who like the idea of Deliveroo, or JustEat bringing food to them, to be washed down with drinks at supermarket, rather than restaurant, prices. All of this is, of course, is made soooo very easy by dint of our phones. The times they are indeed a’changing and no amount of hand-wringing is going to stop the drift away from the High Street. Vox poluli rules through the medium of mobile telephony!
    Perhaps forestalling the usual suspects berating rent barons, landlords and other property owners, it might be a good idea to ask who owns/charges zillions for the various Canterbury High Street sites which have recently been vacated, or soon will be. Well, the City Council is a major player, doubly so, as they also set/collect Business Rates, the sharp increase in which has seen off a number of traders, both large and small. Nice one. Up the price, then get nothing when the businesses fold, or depart. In Canterbury, the other premiership player in landowning/renting is the Church of England. By way of sweet irony, it’s not that long since Archbishop Rowan Williams attacked venality and greed etc only to find out (the egg on his face nicely matching his vestments!) that his own Dean and Chapter was among the worst offenders! Dr Williams is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, itself certainly no stranger to land owning and rent charging.
    The move away from traditional High Street trading may now be viewed as irresistible, is led by phone-wielding consumers and doubtless will eventually become a stampede. The challenge is to find a way of refreshing the High Street brand, making it relevant to the 21st century and modern consumer trends. I’m afraid that this probably means that property owning landlords, for example, CCC and the CoE are going to have to take a hit, or sell up and let UKC and Christ Church University’s Accommodation Offices loose on the High Street.


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