Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Melbourne has been dealt another blow, with Crown Melbourne terminating the venue’s lease.
It was initially believed the restaurant would remain open and operational, however Crown has confirmed Dinner by Heston’s tenure is no more.
“Tipsy Cake has asked the court to appoint a liquidator, on the basis that it is insolvent,” said a Crown spokesperson. “In these circumstances, Crown has taken steps to bring the tenancy to an end.”
The news comes after the restaurant entered voluntary administration in December 2019, with owner Tipsy Cake Pty Ltd appointing BRI Ferrier as administrator just days after the company missed a deadline to back-pay workers.
BRI Ferrier reports employees have been short-changed $4.47 million, but the amount is believed to be much higher as calculations are ongoing. A sum of $435,000 in entitlements related to the closure of the business is also owed.
“The circumstances of this matter are disappointing,” said Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker. “The Fair Work Ombudsman will liaise with the provisional liquidator and other relevant stakeholders in order to assist the employees to recover their entitlements.”
While employees have been underpaid for the majority of the restaurant’s four-year lifespan, The Sydney Morning Herald has unveiled new details about the relationship between Tipsy Cake and Crown.
SMH reports Crown paid $1.97 million a year for the restaurant’s intellectual property, with a Crown employee setting up a “blueprint” for the initial engagement of staff.
Crown was not involved in the “ongoing payment of workers”, however the blueprint was “applied over several years and resulted in the underpayment of employee wages”, according to BRI Ferrier’s report.
In a statement to SMH, a Crown spokesperson said Tipsy Cake was “responsible for its own operations and employed its own staff”, but the company will offer assistance to current workers to find employment within Crown.
So what’s next? A Federal Court hearing will go ahead next week which will encompass case management and a potential order for the company to be shut down for good.
Image credit: Crown