Date
23 July 2017
Burger King outlets in Yau Ma Tei (L) and Tseung Kwan O (R) were shut down along with three other stores as the franchise operator racked up huge debts. Photos: RTHK, Apple Daily
Burger King outlets in Yau Ma Tei (L) and Tseung Kwan O (R) were shut down along with three other stores as the franchise operator racked up huge debts. Photos: RTHK, Apple Daily

Burger King franchisee shuts shop, leaving workers in distress

Perfect Combo Ltd., one of the two franchisees of the Burger King brand in Hong Kong, has closed all its five restaurants in the city after incurring heavy debts.

According to Apple Daily, the company is suspected to have racked up debts of nearly HK$20 million in terms of unpaid wages and store rents.

Some workers were quoted as saying that the restaurant operator, besides being in arrears on wages and shop rents, has also failed to clear the dues of some suppliers.

Of the five outlets run by Perfect Combo, two stores — one in Wan Chai and the other in Tsim Sha Tsui — have been shuttered now for about two months, while two others — in Yau Ma Tei and Tseung Kwan O — ceased operation in the past few days.

The remaining outlet, a facility in Wong Tai Sin, is said to have shut its doors on Tuesday.

The closure of Perfect Combo’s shops means that Burger King fans will now have to travel to outlets at the airport and The Peak if they want a bite of their favorite fast-food.

The restaurants in those two places are operated by a different licensee.

Apple Daily said its reporters were unable to reach representatives of Perfect Combo for comment.

The Labour Department, meanwhile, has confirmed that the franchisee’s employees have sought help regarding the wages owed to them.

Pointing out that non-payment of wages constitutes a criminal offense, the department said it is trying to contact the owners of Perfect Combo over the matter.

It is believed that three directors of Perfect Combo are mainland Chinese nationals, and that the controlling shareholder is an entity registered in the British Virgin Islands.

More than ten landlords are said to have filed lawsuits against Perfect Combo since 2014 for unpaid store rents amounting to a total of HK$17 million.

The Burger King brand came to Hong Kong in 1980 and gradually expanded its stores. But in the 90s, the brand bowed out of the market due to intense competition in the sector.

However, it made a re-entry in 2003, with an outlet at the airport. At one point, there were as many as 20 Burger King restaurants in Hong Kong under two franchisees.

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