A COMBINATION of the Global Financial Crisis and the flow-on effects from the two recent floods has resulted in the shock closure of one of Bundaberg's most popular catering and restaurant businesses.
Owners of Restaurant 55, Aurora Restaurant, The Caffeine Clinic, and Creative Catering announced late Thursday that as of this evening, the two restaurants will close their doors, with the catering business to follow after Melbourne Cup.
The businesses have been placed into administration after five years of trading, which has left co-owner Nicola Smith and staff "shattered".
"With the floods and the Global Financial Crisis, it was impossible to hang on much longer," Miss Smith said.
"We had hoped to trade out of it but unfortunately that didn't happen."
Restaurant 55 manager Bill Fernhill said while the popular dining spot had managed to recover after the 2010/11 floods, the January floods this year dealt them a severe blow.
"Between loss of trade during the disaster, our client base being devastated, and being unable to claim either insurance or any form of financial assistance in the floods' wake, it's just become too much," he said.
Mr Fernhill said it had also been a struggle finding competent chefs.
"Those that we do manage to find usually get lured away by the promise of massive pay in the mines," he said."
Local businesses simply cannot compete with that kind of remuneration."
He said this week it had become apparent that the two restaurants, cafe and catering business "were not going to make it".
"It's heartbreaking to see it come to this and even more so to watch Nicola have to sell her home of more than a decade at a massive loss, simply to keep the wolves from the door," Mr Fernhill said.
"We'd like to give our deepest, heartfelt thanks to every single person who has helped us over the years.
"It is truly humbling and we have all made some life-long friends."
Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce president Yale Morgan said while it was disappointing to see such a popular business close its doors, it did not mean the rest of the business community was in trouble.
"If you are feeling the pinch, now is the time to put your hand up," Mr Morgan said.
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