Ministry Of Food Outlets Forced To Shut As Owner Unable To Pay Rent
A business deal fell through in 2017 and Ministry of Food (MOF), which used to boast 80 restaurants across Singapore, are now in deep trouble.
MOF is owned by Ms Lena Sim, and operates 9 brands like DaeSsiksin, MOF @ My Izakaya and Insadong Korea Town.
However, The Sunday Times reports that a slew of branches owned by MOF have been shuttering in recent weeks.
Ms Sim told The Sunday Times that landlords may seize 11 more outlets at SingPost Centre Platform M by Monday (2 March) if she can’t pay the rent.
Problem stems from failed business dealing and frozen assets
The current problems stem from a 2017 business dealing that fell through, resulting in 4 others suing Ms Sim.
Basically, she was unable to pay for a chain of Korean restaurants after another deal didn’t materialise, and the owners sought full payment.
They obtained a Mareva injunction against her in February, which freezes a debtor’s assets, out of fears that she’d get rid of them without paying her debt.
40 outlets were closed in revamp last year
However, Ms Sim had already closed down some 40 outlets even last year as she looked to revamp the business.
An MOF @ My Izakaya outlet at Tampines One, now closed
This worked until Covid-19 hit in late January, causing sales to dip between 80-90% at 8 outlets, reported The Sunday Times.
But that wasn’t the worst problem – after banks found out about the injunction, they froze her personal accounts as well.
The inability to pay rent and suppliers is what’s forcing this latest round of closures, even though overall business performance only went down by about 35%.
Staff stand to lose most from outlets’ closures
Whatever your thoughts on a recent saga between Ms Sim and the co-owner of Takagi Ramen, nobody wishes for a business to fall in this way.
After all, they eventually resolved that matter.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly also hit many businesses, especially in F&B, as malls become empty.
But the injunction could not have come at a worse timing for Ms Sim, as the closures also affect staff.
If nothing else, we do feel for the outlets’ staff who suddenly find themselves out of work.
Featured image adapted from Google Maps.