Berardo's Noosa closes

Author: Fiona Donnelly

Noosa is still reeling from the shock closure of Berardo's Restaurant & Bar, one of Queensland's best fine diners.

The 16-year-old venue pulled down the shutters for the final time on Hasting St on Friday, just 11 days after the conclusion of the annual Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.

Noosa Food & Wine Events Pty Ltd, the parent company trading as Berardo's Restaurant & Bar and the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, has been placed in voluntary administration.

Restaurateur Jim Berardo said the move was swift and unexpected but necessary to prevent the business from trading while insolvent.

"We're just gutted we had to do things the way we did, but we had no choice.

"We were not going to renew the lease [for Berardo's Restaurant & Bar] in September when the lease expired, but the Food and Wine Festival caught us by surprise on a couple of fronts - prices were going up in leaps and bounds for everything but you can't charge any more. It's just like restaurants; prices can't go up."

Ticket sales for festival special events were up on last year but bad weather on the weekend severely affected local attendance and both gate ticket sales and spending were down, he said.

"People spend less on food and wine when it rains because they're ducking for cover. It was a double whammy, with costs being higher than expected. It costs $2.5 million to stage an event like NIFW."

Despite the setbacks, he says he's confident that with the assistance of key partners and local and state government a restructured Noosa International Food and Wine Festival will continue next year.

"We will have to work really hard to make the festival happen in 2016 but I've heard from all the sponsors and they are very supportive. We received more than 800 messages and phone calls over the weekend."

Berardo says he's working through paperwork with the administrators to deal with creditors, but the numbers are still being processed.

"You're dealing with a personal loss as well as the consequences for other people - you just want to crawl into a hole, but you can't. And I'm not going to," he says. "I've never not paid anyone - perhaps I've been a slow payer sometimes - but never not paying and I'd never walk away. I've got to see it through."

Berardo's on the Beach is unaffected and continues to trade as normal.

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