A crisis-hit Aberdeen restaurant that shut after just three days of trading has suffered another blow as it has been raided by thieves.
The Evening Express reported last week that staff turned up to work at Bennett’s Bistro in Aberdeen’s Academy shopping centre in Belmont Street to find the doors locked.
Worse still, the restaurant’s director Michael Taylor failed to show up at a meeting with staff after it emerged that the business had closed.
And he could not guarantee paying them on their scheduled pay day, which was February 14.
Mr Taylor, who is registered at Companies House as sole director of Bennett’s Bistro Ltd, told the Evening Express the closure was down to “unforeseen financial problems”.
It has now emerged that the restaurant was raided by thieves in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon.
The criminals smashed their way in and stole thousands of pounds of stock.
When contacted about the restaurant’s troubles, Mr Taylor said: “There was a large quantity of items stolen, including all the drink and much of the food.
“I would say 80% of the food stock was taken and everything in the kitchen was taken. Police have been informed.
“It is of course very disappointing when something like this happens. I’m quite confident that the police will carry out a thorough investigation.”
Police Sergeant Andy Sawers said: “Officers are carrying out inquiries into this theft, which is believed to have taken place between 1.30pm and 3.30pm on Saturday February 8.”
The incident was reported to police on February 13.
Sgt Sawers added: “This appears to be an isolated incident and we are following a positive line of inquiry.
“I’d appeal for anyone with information to contact 101.
“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that staff were not paid on February 14 – their agreed payday.
The 15 members of staff – some of whom had been with the firm a month or more preparing for the opening day – said they are owed around £17,000.
That figure is accepted by Mr Taylor as accurate.
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Bistro manager Artur Piotrowski said: “I’m frustrated we’ve not been paid, but not surprised.
“When the cafe shut down after only three days I never thought it was likely we would get paid.
“Now I am down to my last £30. I’m starting work somewhere else but it will be a while before I am paid from that.”
He added: “Mr Taylor sent us all a letter to say the financial struggles were continuing and he would pay us but he doesn’t know when it will be.
“I am still getting calls from the company’s suppliers but I have told them to speak to Mr Taylor and they have all been understanding.”
Mr Taylor had originally agreed to meet staff to discuss the pay issue but then cancelled after getting advice.
He said: “I’m still trying my best to overcome the financial problems the business has had.
“It still remains the case that I can guarantee the staff will be paid, but I cannot give a firm date as to when this will happen.
“They are my priority. As soon as I am able to get the money they will be paid.”