Workers Say Doughnut Time Owes Them Dough
Doughnut Time's jettisoned Sydney workers, who say they're owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, have vowed to disrupt the company's one remaining store in the city.
The trendy confectionary shop began life as a hole-in-the-wall in Brisbane under businessman Damian Griffiths in 2015.
Its quirky style endeared the chain to a generation of social media users and it quickly expanded to 30 stores and hundreds of employees at its peak.
But dozens of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne workers in February announced they were taking the chain to the Fair Work Ombudsman over $70,000 in unpaid wages.
Facing mounting lawsuits and business woes, Mr Griffiths has now sold the Doughnut Time empire to former chief executive Dan Strachotta.
Many of the outlets, including all the Sydney stores except one in Newtown, have closed prompting more NSW workers to join the Fair Work fight.
Former worker Laleh Bagheri told AAP Doughnut Time management began delaying paydays months ago and, recently, stopped paying some workers altogether.
After threatening to strike, Ms Bagheri said workers received a single week's pay from one of Mr Griffiths other businesses and reassurance from managers that back-pay was coming.
But former Manly store manager Chris Boucher said workers were told in a message on Sunday that many stores would close.
"There were tears," he said.
"One of the girls had to take out a personal loan to pay her rent."
Employees put a poster on the closed Queen Victoria Building outlet on Tuesday that read "Doughnut Time hasn't paid us in weeks!!! And now we all got fired".
Workers are urging Newtown store customers to take their business elsewhere.
"We've got a lot of free time without work so we'll keep disrupting the business as much as possible because the CEO promised we'd receive pay and we think he knew they were outright lies," Mr Boucher said.
Doughnut Time confirmed it had changed hands for an "undisclosed sum" in a statement that described Mr Strachotta as a "turnaround specialist" who "loves the brand".
The company blamed its troubles on rapid expansion, high rent, high labour costs and financial challenges.
It will now try to grow online without "crazy rents" and will attempt to keep on as many employees as possible.
Mr Griffiths has apologised to staff "for not being able to pay them in full" acknowledging it's a "terrible position for them".
"I expanded too quickly. I guess I had too many big ideas and dreams when I started," he said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman on Tuesday confirmed it was conducting inquiries into Doughnut Time.