MasterChef winner fails to pay staff after closing two restaurants
A Masterchef winner is under fire after closing two of his restaurants without paying staff after suffering heavy financial losses.
Kenny Tutt, 41, won MasterChef in 2018 and soon after set up several restaurants. In the past three months, he has closed two of them, Pitch and Bayside Social.
Both restaurants, in Worthing, West Sussex, have had to close – which proved controversial after it was claimed that Mr Tutt failed to pay staff.
A local Facebook page claimed that staff at Pitch haven’t been paid for their work and weren’t properly informed that the restaurant was closing.
Mr Tutt has expressed regret at having to close his business and is working with the Redundancy Payment Service.
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A post on Facebook claimed Mr Tutt owes staff thousands of pounds in wages.
It said: “The staff are owed wages, holiday pay and tips. In my son’s case, his wages were £2000 per month, he was owed £800 in holiday pay as he worked without taking holiday so he could afford to pay bills.
“Also, all staff got around £400 a month in tips which was the amount after equally sharing the total amount. All tips have been withheld including cash tips.”
The post added that some staff can’t pay their bills and are now reliant on food banks.
In a statement to the Sun, Mr Tutt said staff would be paid in due course, but that the process could take up to five weeks.
He said: “We’re working through the process of closing down the business, including official liquidation, which does take time.
“We are also using the Redundancy Payment Service, which means that all staff will receive full payment including any holiday pay, redundancy pay + any notice owed.
“This process can take between three to five weeks though.”
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Mr Tutt added: “We are incredibly sad to have to close our business, but we’re working with all of our staff to help them seek other employment in the local area, and have also been able to employ over half of the team on new projects we’re working on.”
Following the closures, Mr Tutt is now reportedly trying to open a café after a licensing application was approved by the council.
However, news of the new venture has proved controversial with local residents following the controversial closures of Pitch and Bayside Social.
One local told The Sun: “I can’t believe this has happened!!! Some employers are absolutely shocking! They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Following the closure of Pitch, Mr Tutt issued a statement expressing his sadness. Mr Tutt also noted the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on his business.
He wrote: “It is with a very heavy heart that today we say goodbye to our restaurant Pitch. A place that has grown into a real part of the community in this great town. We want to thank every single one of our customers who have passed through our doors.
“The countless anniversaries, birthdays and special occasions we have had the pleasure to be some small part of and our brilliant team who have made it a time to remember for many.
“We have had some fantastic times, it’s been a real adventure.”
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