Espen Holmbo Bang, the man behind the world-famous Maaemo project, said in a press release that he is withdrawing from three projects in Oslo. Since Maaemo opened its doors in 2010, Holmboe Bang has opened a number of other popular restaurants in Oslo. So far, everyone has been gathered in Maaemo as well.
It is now clear that the Danish star chef wants out of Auguste’s cafeteria, Conservatory cocktail bar and restaurant The Vandelay.
– Maaemo demands and deserves all my attention, and if I notice even a small sign that other projects are consuming energy from Maaemo, it will be a very easy decision, says Esben Holmboe Bang in the press release.
According to Pang, the choice is based on the desire to focus one hundred percent on Maaemo. It’s not a financial decision, Pang adds.
– This is a choice based exclusively on emotion and gut feeling. It’s a simple decision but of course also sad. After all, I only have 24 hours in a day, and at some point you have to decide what you’re happy to do with those hours, Pang says.
Looking for a new owner
The new owners are ready to continue operations at August Cafeteria, effective October 10, the news release said.
On the other hand, cocktail bar Conservatory is closing its doors, but the entrepreneur is open to a new concept in the building. The third venture, The Vandelay, is keeping its doors open while searching for new owners.
– At Vandelay, we are working on a solution, and it is important that it looks right, so we work as usual until new forces are formed. “There are many stakeholders, so we are aiming for this to happen right after the new year,” Pang says.
He will not withdraw from Mon Oncle in Oslo and from the newly opened EHB in Shanghai.
Esben Holmboe Bang has put Norway on the food map with Maaemo. But accounting numbers reveal that growth among restaurants comes at a cost.
Just a month ago, last year’s numbers became clear. Maaemo, which includes all the restaurants it owns, may see an increase in revenue, but the growth comes at a cost.
In one year, sales volume doubled from NOK 52 million to NOK 101 million in 2022, but at the same time the company could show record losses. The company lost NOK 9.9 million before taxes last year.
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