Wahaca has said it is ‘working hard’ to resolve a number of financial claims made by customers who fell ill after eating at the chain.

The Mexican restaurant group closed nine of its 25 restaurants in October after around 160 diners and 200 staff became unwell with a suspected outbreak of norovirus.

According to lawyers representing those affected, Wahaca has admitted liability for the incident. They told the Evening Standard that they are hoping to secure payments ‘in excess of £15,000’ for those facing long-term complications.

Mark Selby, who co-founded Wahaca with MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers, said in a statement that the company was handling the claims ‘openly and honestly’.

“Since the outbreak of suspected norovirus in a number of our restaurants last year we have worked tirelessly and in full co-operation with various public bodies to ensure that our response to the situation as a whole, and especially to those who were affected, has been swift, personable and fair,” said Selby.

“Tommi [Miers] and I have personally written to almost all of those affected who contacted us directly, and spoken to a number of them.

“We continue to work hard to resolve a small number of claims on an individual basis, handling them openly and honestly.”

In an interview with MCA earlier this year, Selby said the company was initially unaware of the cause of the outbreak but later realised it had come from an external source and was passed on through members of staff.

“It was a really emotional time for us,” he said. “We were moments away from thinking we would have to close all our restaurants for four weeks, which would probably have killed the company.”

Selby said yesterday [24 May] that the well-being of customers and staff remained a ‘top priority’ for the chain.