More change for Simon Rigby’s empire as he hands over Vittorias Kirkham

Posted on - 27th February, 2019 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Food & Drink, Lea, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston
What was known as The Villa at Kirkham Pic: Google
What was known as The Villa at Kirkham Pic: Google

Simon Rigby is no longer operating Vittorias at Kirkham.


The Guild Hall owner has let the eatery to Ross Wallis, managing director of Leftmove estate agents.

The move comes two months after Mr Rigby let his ice cream business Bonds to Mr Wallis.

It also comes in the wake of the closure of Vittorias at Preston Guild Hall, despite Mr Rigby saying at the time the Kirkham business would not be affected.

Mr Rigby told Blog Preston: “I have let Vittorias in Kirkham to Ross Wallace.

“Ross already has Caffe Dolce in the Guild Hall (formerly Bonds Preston) and Bonds of Elswick.

“Ross has done such a great refit at Elswick and developed the menu and concept at both so much I was very pleased to let Kirkham to him.

“The Rigby Organisation is a landlord and we only operate where we cannot get great long term tenants but our strength is not operating restaurants.  This has been demonstrated by what Ross has already achieved in Preston and Elswick.

“I bought the Premier Inn and Fairfield Arms in order to allow access to the land we owned behind it not to operate myself.

“The Villa Group is keeping The Villa Express (the hotel on the Kirkham site).”

Simon Rigby with his MBE
Simon Rigby with his MBE

Multi-millionaire Mr Rigby has made various changes to his empire in recent months. He has sold betting company BetSid, off-loaded all his food and drink based units in the Guild Hall, closed Safehands Nursery in Ribbleton, and made changes at Fives bar.

Read more: ‘No risk to upcoming shows’ following reports of £100k debts at Preston Guild Hall

A post on the Vittorias Facebook page confirmed it would cease operating under The Rigby Group on Monday 25 February.

The eatery – first known as The Villa Italian when Mr Rigby acquired it in 2014 – is now due to return to previous name The Fairfield Arms.

The post said: “As of Monday we will no longer be operating under The Rigby Group as a new lease is being taken by Rural Inns.

“With the long anticipated return of The Fairfield Arms, Rural Inns have some progressive, great ideas that will really bring a new and exciting outlook, with a new fully refurbished dining area, great new range of draught beers and a bespoke new menu. All of which have been carefully tailored to complement and enhance the rustic surroundings here.”

The company said they would be contacting all future bookings regarding the change, but encouraged customers to call 01772 804030 or email with any questions.

What do you think of this latest change to the Rigby empire? Let us know in the comments below.

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