$1000 worth of Robins Kitchen vouchers down drain
A BUNDABERG business owner is fuming after spending $1000 on Robins Kitchen gift vouchers - only to find out they are now worthless.
On Tuesday, Robins Kitchen announced it had gone into voluntary administration and could close as early as Christmas, leaving about 300 staff across its 55 stores facing an uncertain future.
It also left customers at the two Bundaberg stores - at Hinkler Central and Sugarland Shoppingtown - unable to pick up their laybys or redeem their gift vouchers.
Two months ago, Regalline Cabinets and Joinery owner Rob Asnicar walked into the Sugarland branch and purchased $1100 worth of gift cards to give to clients.
"I went to the Sugarland store and the staff there consulted their management over the phone," he said.
"They offered me a deal for $1000 to get $1100 worth of gift vouchers.
"But they would've known then that they were in trouble then (sic)."
To add salt to the wound, Mr Asnicar was also offering the gift cards as a Christmas giveaway to customers who liked a post on his Facebook site.
"We just want (to) offer our sincere apologies to everyone who has entered, and also to our clients who have received gift cards from us in the past weeks," he said.
"I went to the store today and was told I'm an unsecured creditor," Mr Asnicar said.
"I wasn't angry with the Robins Kitchen staff but I feel ripped off."
He was not alone, with the NewsMail's Facebook page swamped with messages from disgruntled customers and people who felt it was just wrong.
"This is unfair, to not only staff but to customers," one reader said.
"Why leave it so late to tell the public."
"It's a disgrace," said another.
Others were quick to wish the staff at the two stores all the best.
"I feel sorry for the staff," said one reader.
John Park, Kelly Trenfield and Quentin Olde of FTI Consulting, who have been appointed as voluntary administrators, said they were reviewing the financial status of the whole of the business of Robins Kitchens including potentially restructuring and selling the business, or alternatively, an orderly wind down.
"We acknowledge that the timing of voluntary administration so close to Christmas is going to create additional uncertainty for employees and customers, which is difficult and unfortunate for all," Mr Park said.
"It is our intention to work with all parties in an effort to minimise this impact where possible," he said.