A Din Tai Fung store in Sydney, Australia has become one of the recent restaurants to fold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a “wage theft” scandal that hit the chain last year.
The restaurant confirmed its Sydney Central Park store has entered into voluntary administration — the business temporarily halts operations, and control is given to the administrator — but its other stores are still in operation, according to The Australian Financial Review.
The chain has appointed Chifley Advisory Australia as the administrators of the Sydney store, The Australian reported.
Din Tai Fung confirmed that one of its stores has halted operations in voluntary administration, though to quell mass closure rumors released an Instagram post saying all their restaurants “continue to trade as usual.”
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Din Tai Fung took a financial hit in early 2020 when restaurants were ordered to close down to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to entering voluntary administration, the restaurant chain also faced a scandal last year after several officers from two of Din Tai Fung’s operating companies in Australia were accused of underpaying their employees.
Dendy Harjanto, former director of DTF World Square Pty Ltd and Selden Farlane Lachlan Investments Pty Ltd, was asked to appear in court on Aug. 20, 2020, as part of an investigation launched by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Two other people connected to the scheme were identified as General Manager Hannah Handoko and HR Coordinator Sinthiana Parmenas.
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The two companies allegedly underpaid 17 workers, including cooks, waiters, a dishwasher and restaurant managers, for a total of 157,025 Australian dollars ($121,326) in wages, according to FWO. The workers, who came from Indonesia and China, were holders of student and employer-sponsored visas.
“The two companies allegedly kept and provided to Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors both accurate and false records, with false records generally understating hours worked and including false rates of pay for casual employees,” the FWO reported states.
The case will proceed to the Federal Court in February, and the companies may face penalties of up to 630,000 Australian dollars ($486,772) per serious offense.
Another popular restaurant chain in Australia, Lotus Dining, also faced a similar fate after the company appointed liquidators to one of its subsidiaries. However, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed the group is still trading amid the restructuring process.
“As a result of the restructure, all restaurants now have a common shareholder, Lotus Investment Holdings Pty Ltd, which is controlled by Michael Jiang,” the spokeswoman told The Australian Financial Review.