Hooters has almost gone bust in Australia

Photo: Getty Images.

The Australian arm of restaurant chain Hooters has gone into voluntary administration, with three stores in Sydney and two in Queensland now under the control of Deloitte Australia’s restructuring division.

The business, which only opened a Townsville branch in far north Queensland in May, is expected to be sold as a ongoing concern.

The other stores are on the Gold Coast and in Sydney’s western suburbs, including a flagship store in Parramatta. The remaining two are in Penrith and Campbelltown.

Deloitte is looking to sell the business, which features buxom female waiters wearing tight white t-shirts that led the US-created diners to be known as “brestaurants”.

The company has had flat sales in the US and has been looking to reinvent its menu, best known for its chicken wings, and expand into Asia with more than 30 stores in the next six years.

The Australian arm of the business began in 2006 and employs around 400 people, although complaints emerged earlier this year that some staff had not been paid their entitlements, including superannuation.

The chain is expected to operate as an ongoing concern as the administrators seek to establish its financial position.

“It’s very early days as far as our involvement in these businesses is concerned,” said Michael Billingsley, a partner in Deloitte’s Restructuring Services running the engagement.

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

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

An initial creditors meeting will be held on July 24, to discuss the Sydney restaurants, and on July 27 for the Queensland restaurants.

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