The owners of a trendy Sydney restaurant have blamed Uber Eats and high award wages for being forced to shut their doors with huge debts just three months after going into business.
Kyle Stagoll and Dave Nelson opened Sash – a pizza-sushi fusion restaurant – in Surry Hills earlier this year following on from the success of their first eatery in Melbourne.
But within months the two mates had gone into liquidation, owing $435,776.11 to 33 different businesses across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Mr Stagoll claims a major factor behind Sash’s failure was having to pay employees at the award rate.
Dave Nelson (left) and Kyle Stagoll (right) were forced to shut their restaurant Sash because of debts totalling nearly $440,000. Mr Stagoll caused outrage on the weekend when he blamed the failure of his business on having to pay his employees full wages and the rise of Uber Eats
Despite their claims of wages and Uber Eats affecting their business, social media was quick to claim their pizza-sushi fushion menu (pictured) may have been a factor
He told The Sydney Morning Herald it was incredibly hard to pay employees the required wage and also make a profit.
Mr Stagoll even claimed workers in the hospitality industry were ‘drastically’ overpaid in comparison to their worth to the restaurants, pubs and bars where they work.
‘Most of our competitors who have been successful over the past few years have been paying staff under the award rate, it seems the only way venues can stay ahead,’ he said.
‘Does that mean hospo workers are drastically over paid for the value they produce for a business? Probably.’
However some of the creditors left out of pocket by he and Mr Nelson said they both appeared to prioritise living a lavish lifestyle over paying back the money they owed.
‘When that one went into administration I could see it coming, the writing was on the wall a long time before,’ one account director told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We’ve only had them since February when they set up… (but) we constantly had to chase the payment.
‘I remember with these guys you would hear a lot about them having big parties and living it up, which is typical of this generation.
‘This generation think they can run a business and make all these big dollars, but it is hard work in the hospitality business.’
Among those caught up in the restaurant’s failure is PR queen Roxy Jacenko, who is owed $11,500 according to ASIC records.
One of the unique creations on the menu at Sash was a yellowfin tuna, mozarella, mango, pickled ginger and strawberry pizza (pictured)
‘It’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it when you don’t pay your bills – it’s never your own,’ PR queen Roxy Jacenko (pictured), who is owed $11,500 by Mr Nelson and Mr Stagoll, said
Some of the creditors owed thousands by Mr Nelson and Mr Stagoll (pictured) claim the young restaurant owners were in trouble from the outset
Ms Jacenko said she was unsurprised the two men were looking to point the finger at others in the wake of their business failing.
‘It’s always someone else’s fault isn’t it when you don’t pay your bills – it’s never your own,’ she said.
When not throwing parties at their restaurant Mr Stagoll and Mr Nelson were often in attendance at events in Sydney’s eastern suburbs – a haven for Instagram models.
But the two denied they had been irresponsible in their management, with Mr Nelson claiming they had been crippled by long delays that left them ‘bleeding cash’.
‘There’s 101 reasons I can go into about why the restaurant failed, but the real reason we went under was we signed the lease in 2017,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We paid the builder, did the finance and the market was hot in 2017, but we had 18 months of delays and by the time we launched in 2019 we knew our back was up against the wall but we thought with a big launch party we might be able to pull it off.
‘But we just borrowed too much… and in this market it just wasn’t sustainable.’
Mr Stagoll’s claims made in The Sydney Morning Herald about having to pay award wages led to outrage on social media (pictured), particularly in the wake of the scandal involving George Calombaris
In the wake of storm created by his partner’s comments, Mr Nelson (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia that wages were a contributing factor but that the biggest problem was entering the Sydney market at the wrong time
Mr Stagoll’s claims came in the wake of controversy surrounding top celebrity chef George Calombaris, who was caught underpaying his employees by $7.83 million.
While it left many on social media unimpressed – including ex-federal Senator Sam Dastyari – Mr Nelson said his partner’s comments had been taken out of context.
‘I think what was meant was that by the time you’re paying all your penalties, Sunday rates and after 10pm (rates), with a slow market it is really tough to keep your wages under 40 per cent (of your total business spend),’
‘Other industries just don’t cop that. Hospitality venues are struggling and wages are their biggest expense.
‘Food’s gone up, rent’s gone up, electricity’s gone through the rood, everything has gone up and people are looking to make cuts and as we’ve seen in the media, some of the big boys have decided to take the risk.’