Japanese restaurant Okami places 16 venues into voluntary administration

A popular Japanese restaurant has put over a dozen of its venues into voluntary administration across the country, with inflation and pandemic costs being blamed.

Eight Okami restaurants in NSW have been placed into administration along with five in Victoria, two in the ACT and one in South Australia.

The all-you-can-eat restaurant chain has more than 50 locations in Australia, offering more than 30 different dishes on its menu.

Restaurants affected areGlenunga in South Australia; Braddon and Mawson in Canberra; Ballarat, Camberwell, Hampton, Melton and Sunbury in Victoria as well as Camden, Cronulla, Dubbo, Marrickville, Pennant Hills, Penrith, Sutherland and Wagga Wagga in NSW.

Audit, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton has been appointed with Phillip Campbell Wilson and John McInerney named joint administrators.

Mr Campbell Wilson said the 16 restaurants will run as normal through the Christmas period, lessening the impact on employees.

“The workforce at the restaurants comprises of approximately 250 employees encompassing full-time, part-time, and casual staff,” he said.

“The administrators have executed a Management Agreement with Okami Distribution to continue trading the businesses during the Voluntary Administration period.

“This approach is aimed at preserving business value and to provide an opportunity to consider a formal restructuring plan.

“We have committed to funding the pre-appointment wages, ensuring that all employee wages are up to date. This action is aimed to reduce the impact of the administration on the employees leading into Christmas.”

The Japanese restaurants are touted as a family-friendly venue with an all-you-can-eat menu of 30 plus options that are made to order ranging from sushi to carpaccio to katsu.

Mr Campbell Wilson said the impact of Covid-19 was being blamed for the restaurant’s struggles however Grant Thornton would look into the issues further.

“Based on our initial discussions with the founder of the Okami business, they believe there has been a lag effect from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“Combined with inflationary pressure on costs which has led to a decline in sales and escalated operational costs.

“Our investigations on this point have only commenced.”

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