Food to go brand Abokado has appointed administrators after being unable to reopen its London-based estate.

As part of a pre-pack administration sale, in which Abokado co-founder and CEO Mark Lilley acquired the 19-strong operator, all staff have been redundant.

Benjamin Wiles and Geoffrey Bouchier of Duff & Phelps were appointed administrators last Tuesday (13 October), executing an accelerated pre-packaged administration sale to the recently incorporated Montway Holdings Ltd, which Lilley is the sole director and majority owner of, according to documents filed to Companies House.

Lilley said he had found new investment for the business, and hoped to “re-emerge at some point in the future”.

In a statement, he said an attempt was made to sell the company in June, but in light of the “continued uncertainty, the accumulating liabilities and the existing leasehold structures”, the group was unable to secure sufficient funds to reopen.

Lilley said: “The impact of covid-19 on the hospitality and leisure industry has been catastrophic and I feel for each and every business owner and employee within this sector. However, for a business such as Abokado, which is entirely dependent on London’s office community, the overnight shift to working from home and the emptying out of central London has been simply devastating. Our market, overnight, ceased to exist.

“It is shocking that our entire 19 stores remain closed”, he added. “It is a tragedy that our entire workforce, many of whom have families and children to support and some of whom have lived and breathed Abokado for more than a decade, have been made redundant.”

Lilley called for more government support, or many more businesses and livelihoods will be lost.