Shock for Rooks staff after call to say firm has gone into administration

J C Rooks ran 11 shops (including the Ramsgate site (pictured) and a production factory

J C Rook & Sons shops are closed today (March 14) with staff saying they have been called to tell them the firm has gone into administration.

Shops in Broadstairs and Ramsgate and the factory site in Ramsgate are among those where staff are now facing redundancy.

Dean Spinks, who manages the team at the Broadstairs store, said six people including himself are being made redundant from that site.

He said: “J C Rook & Sons went into administration last night. I got a phone call at 8pm last night that we cannot open today or in the future.

“I am absolutely heartbroken not just for myself but my fantastic team I had working for me and also for the town of Broadstairs

“In the nearly 5 years I’ve been back at the shop we as a team have turned it around and moved it forward.”

Dean thanked the town for the support over the years.

Another employee working in Ramsgate said they were told at 6.30pm last night with others not finding out until they turned up for work this morning.

J C Rook and Sons has been trading in Kent for well over half a century.

The company operated 11 shops in East and Mid Kent with a production and distribution facility in Ramsgate. The company website says the firm employs more than 130 staff.

The Rook family has had a connection with the meat trade since the 18th century, originating in and around Norfolk. Joseph Christmas Rook, a butcher since leaving school (except during the war when he joined the RAF), opened the first J C Rook and Sons in Dover, with two of his sons, Michael and Roger, in 1965.

John and Peter at the same time opened a manufacturing factory in Sandwich, designed to supply chip shops with pies and sausages. Due to the overwhelming success of this operation, and the opening of shops in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Deal, Joseph Christmas Rook, Michael, Roger, John and Peter decided to join together. In 1968 the youngest son Joe, on his 21st birthday, was welcomed into the partnership. Over the next few years the company slowly expanded, branching out right across Kent.

In 2019 a decision was taken to put four stores on the market. At the end of last year Andrew Rook resigned as director. The current directors are James Murray and Adrian Burr. Mr Burr is also a director for Southover Foods in Sussex which is still trading.

J C Rooks head office declined to comment.

54 Comments

  1. This all boils down to high Rents, exorbitant Business Rates, Gas bills, Electricity Bills, Fuel costs AND everything else that is crooked in this Country at the moment.
    Time for a revolution?

    • Got to feel for redundant staff during these difficult times. How is Robster going to lead a revolution against his crooked country and a possible global financial crisis. More power to him and perhaps a chat with Putin to stop his war with Ukraine is next after his rally call at Wetherspoons for the Revolution?

    • Don’t worry, the plan to turn Thanet around with more money thrown at Dreamland & Turner Centre, more art centres, BLM lectures, pop up shops/spaces, street art etc will turn things around.

    • And supermarkets Robster! The new Aldi has a large fresh meat area, also the spread of vegetarians and vegans are to blame!

        • i am from germany and i can confirm: this bloody german aldi killed off all the butchers in germany too – years ago ! and the meat this cheapshop sells is not of great quality and nobody knows how the animals are treated.
          rooks in dover has been suffering for a long time since people in dover do not cook anymore. they want ready made food. the deal shop was doing well and so was ramsgate, both towns have a different type of shopper. rooks should have downsized their operation and should just have kept the shops which were going well. that might have saved them. it was just such a lovely shop. my favourites were the deal and ramsgate branches. and very friendly staff and where do i get my pheasant and wild ducks from now for x-mas ?

    • Totally agree our Local Shops going is a disaster. No character anymore. I’ve been buying from Rooks since 1976 and get my Christmas meat there. If a TOP QUALITY shop like this goes it’s the death knell for our lovely personal service traders. SAD DAY

  2. I saw one if the young assistants outside the Ramsgate shop this morning. She was almost in tears, as was I.
    She said that a new administration had taken over in January, and had systematically run the business down.
    She confirmed that the first she’d heard of it was a phone call last night.

    • Highly unlikely they were able to run the business into the ground in 2 months or less, more likely they were inheriting a lost cause either hoping to turn it round, or flog it. That they were having problems even pre-pandemic & the director resigned last year shows the problems clearly were happening years back.

  3. I am shocked and sad,but not suprised. As a little boy in the 70s.Liked going in there,the wonderful smell of cooked pasties,sausage roll,the friendly staff. Another closed shop in the ghost town of ramsgate,with i fully agree with the above comment.High bills and everything.I really feel for all the staff,past and present,at the ramsagate,and broadstairs shops.

  4. I’m in shock at this news . The Broadstairs shop always had creative.window displays and the staff were friendly and if you went to the Deal shop it was always very busy ,so to me this has come out of nowhere .
    I remember coming back from holiday in Cornwall and then later the following week buying a pastie from Rooks and thinking to myself that it was superior to what I’d eaten in Cornwall !
    I’m going to miss this shop if it isn’t saved by the administrators .
    I can’t believe that I’ll never eat a Rooks pasty ,Cheeseburger Puff or sausage roll again ..

  5. This is a great shame – it was a very high quality butchers . The Deal branch was also excellent

  6. i think the first comment hit the nail on the head – its almost as if this tory government wants everything to fail ?

    • Have a day off blaming the little people. You are so brain washed. This is the big chains and government routinely working against the smaller stores with policies and greed.
      The shops were always busy. Cost of energy. Transport, taxes and unchecked Landlords is the issue.

    • People eating plant-based ‘meat’ aren’t likely to be eating actual meat anyway. Your comment suggests people should be forced into eating meat to keep butchers in work which, even as a meat-eater myself, is some pretty idiotic thinking.

      • Rubbish. I know of many people are turning to plant-based cr*p instead of meat to “save the planet”.

        Sadly, I can predict butchers becoming as rare as fishmongers, something else that was in every high street 30 years ago.

        • Hard to think people actually believe it as well. Good luck saving the planet while China & the USA continue to pollute it in various ways-everything we do is pretty much urinating in the wind in the big scheme of things.

        • It’s nothing to do with plant meat fake eaters.

          Tescos and sainsburys and the like have sent fishmongers and butchers and bakers down the Loo. Everyone knows that.

          • No, the reason fishmongers have gone is because the vast majority of people these days only eat fish if it comes in batter and with a portion of chips! Even in many big supermarkets the fish counter has gone. Ironic when here in Thanet we’re 3/4 surrounded by sea!

    • It does make me laugh seeing No Beef Burgers in the supermarkets. Well they are not beef burgers then are they? Why not call them Soya Burgers which is what they are?

    • Peter, many of us are animal lovers, we are compassionate towards animals and realise that there are alternatives to slaughtering innocent animals for food when there are healthier alternatives available.
      You can attempt to justify the needless slaughter of animals and pretend that the unnecessary suffering that these animals live through is OK but morally you are in the wrong.

      • Make your mind up, earlier you were claiming that the l̶i̶t̶t̶l̶e̶ ̶p̶e̶o̶p̶l̶e̶ big people were responsible, yet now you’re seemingly agreeing with me that it is actually because of changing consumer habits?

        As for “healthier” alternatives, that is very true: fish! We’d all be far healthier if we ate at least three portions of oily fish per week instead of processed foods.

  7. Commercial gas and electricity users aren’t covered by the energy cap and will have seen their energy costs more than triple in recent months, add on a likely reining in of spending by consumers as they too deal with increasing bills and many companies will be looking at their accounts and deciding wether they have the reserves to see themselves through to better times ( but with no idea how long this could be) or will it be better to call it a day and close.
    Rooks will not not be the last to make such a decision.

    • Sad day for all staff we all saw the decline.as the new owners seemed to be expanding with a new factory in Shoreham just before COVID and a new butchery in Gravesend in December 2021 it seemed as it was doing well maybe they expand to fast along with lockdown hitting the entertainment industry it was all to much. Good luck to all the staff with there future. Rip rooks rip there famous burger puffs😔

  8. I feel so sad for the lovely ladies and gentlemen that have lost paid work, also this closure will affect the footfall in the Town Centre, time methinks for RTC to invest in the town, it is the unfotnate affect of WWX (a place I avoid)

  9. Utterly Gutted. I love our local Rooks (Broadstairs), what a shame. Wishing all the lovely staff the best for their futures.

  10. This was on the cards 2 years ago. Foot traffic had died before the pandemic.add supply shortages increasing prices.nothing to do with governments or plant based meats

  11. Ramsgate town centre, like almost every other town in England, has been utterly screwed by the out of town shopping centres and huge supermarkets that spring up around them, and also now by online shopping, and the pandemic – we’re really lucky to have a wide range of smaller independents shops (including 2 green grocers, a smaller butchers, florists, clothing, and a chemist) and some of the main chain shops too (Holland and Barret, Wilco, smiths, peacocks, Poundland & 4 local supermarkets Asda, Iceland, waitrose and slightly further Aldi) all within walking distance of each other – but until we as a community are prepared to make the slight extra effort to use them, as opposed to heading wwx, they’ll be forced to close too.

  12. Large numbers of businesses that choose to go WOKE and try to satisfy the minority at the expense of the majority go to the wall.
    Rooks is yet another.

  13. Looks like another coffee shop coming ? A sad day my brother worked I Rooks in the 1970 and used to go in the car with Mr Rook from Sandwich Kent everyday , a lovely family all at retirement age x

  14. If Rooks own the properties or the leases, someone has worked out how to make a fast dollar and sell off for commercial and residential earnings and forgoe having to run an actual business. Get 10 years of profit in one go and move onto another business to asset strip.

  15. This is p and o all over again my life is ruined by this madness what next are the cheap tobacco shoos going under next? Or maybe the winos in the park will stop buying booze and put the super strength beer shops in peril I can’t handle all this change the world’s gone mad!!!

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