Hotspot catches cold as ad­min­is­tra­tors brought in

Hoot­ers in build bus t

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - GET READY FOR OWLS OF FUN TONY RAGGATT busi­ness editor raggatt@ news. com. au

tony. AUS­TRALIA’S Hoot­ers chain, in­clud­ing the re­cently opened res­tau­rant in Townsville, is ex­pected to be sold off af­ter sev­eral com­pa­nies as­so­ci­ated with its oper­a­tions fell into ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In­sol­vency and restruc­tur­ing firm Deloitte has been ap­pointed to man­age the af­fairs of Hoot­ers, which has five res- tau­rants in NSW and Queens­land and em­ploys 400 peo­ple, mostly scant­ily cos­tumed wait­resses who are em­ployed as ca­su­als.

While Deloitte restruc­tur­ing ser­vice part­ner Michael Billings­ley would not com­ment on the rea­sons for the group’s dif­fi­cul­ties, Hoot­ers has been be­set by prob­lems, rang­ing from com­plaints from staff they were not be­ing paid su­per­an­nu­a­tion or that their wages were late to the col­lapse of a builder who was fit­ting out their Townsville res­tau­rant.

For now,

all restau­rants … are trad­ing nor­mally

MICHAEL BILLINGS­LEY

“It’s very early days as far as our in­volve­ment in these busi­nesses is con­cerned,” Mr Billings­ley said.

“For now, all restau­rants in NSW and Queens­land are trad­ing nor­mally while we be­gin in­ves­ti­gat­ing the per­for­mance of each busi­ness and de­ter­mine the next steps.

“We ex­pect to com­mence mar­ket­ing the busi­nesses for sale shortly with a view to selling as a go­ing con­cern to main­tain em­ploy­ment for staff and on­go­ing trad­ing for sup­pli­ers.”

The Townsville res­tau­rant on Her­vey Range Rd opened in May af­ter a lengthy de­lay.

It is re­port­edly regularly full of cus­tomers and ap­pears to be trad­ing strongly.

Syd­ney- based Deloitte part­ners Neil Cussen and David Lombe were ap­pointed vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tors to five com­pa­nies that trade the Hoot­ers restau­rants.

Ac­cord­ing to com­pany records, the Townsville en­tity, Hoot Townsville Pty Ltd, is owned by Nichole Sch­le­busch of Bella Vista, NSW.

An ini­tial cred­i­tors’ meet­ing for the three Syd­ney restau­rants will be held on July 24, while another will be held for the two Queens­land restau­rants on July 27.

How

the Bul­letin

has cov­ered the Hoot­ers story.

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