Calia Australia goes into liquidation, Melbourne restaurant to close

Top Melbourne restaurant Calia Australia will forever close its doors after going into liquidation.

The business submitted a notice to wind up the company to the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) on Monday, less than two weeks after informing staff they would be out of a job via email.

Glenn Crisp and Andrew Mattison from Jirsch Sutherland have been announced as liquidators.

Calia management emailed about 100 staff on December 28 to inform them they would be out of a job in the new year with stores in the Emporium shopping centre and Chadstone to shutter.

The email told staff management had attempted to revive the chain, but “Covid-related debt” and inflation had pushed it to the brink.

“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we must convey the unfortunate news that Calia will be closing all Australian stores and ceasing operations effective today, 28th December 2023,” the email reads.

“We understand that this news might come as a shock to you, but this decision has not been taken lightly and we have been working tirelessly since the Covid lockdowns to keep our stores open.”

Staff were told not to come to work and to address any questions to the liquidator as company emails would no longer be monitored.

“As of now, all supplier arrangements will cease and all employment positions have been made redundant,” the email continued.

“This means that all employees will not be required to attend any future shifts from now.

“We want to express our deepest gratitude for the hard work, dedication, and commitment that each of you has contributed to Calia and for the thousands of customers you have helped us serve over nearly the past decade.”

The restaurant chain entered voluntary administration in June last year, but was still able to trade as it attempted to overcome financial difficulty.

Calia co-founder and City of Melbourne councillor Jason Chang has shared his struggles with keeping the business afloat post pandemic on social media, revealing six months ago that he “broke down” while discussing challenges facing small businesses.

“Like many other struggling small business owners in Melbourne, my own hospitality businesses have been faced with many financial challenges with the rise of operational costs (wages, COGS, rent, borrowing costs, etc),” he wrote.

“As I broke down, I realised that I needed help to carry the emotional stress I faced. It was a humbling experience to acknowledge I could no longer do this alone.”

The Australian branch of Calia was created in 2016 in Melbourne and the restaurants website boasts it serves “over 10,000 customers per week” in the city.

“The menu has been created with everyday dining in mind, as well as the option to scale up for a touch of indulgence,” the website reads.

“With a modern yet timeless approach, Calia unveils a new standard in fine foods and dining.”

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