Since the staff underpayment revelations in April and an alleged mass food poisoning outbreak at one of the flagship Hellenic Republic restaurants, Made Establishment partner relations have been reportedly tense, with George Calombaris’ long-term business partner and friend George Sykiotis wanting to leave the business.
After an internal audit revealed more than 160 staff had been underpaid $2.6 million, rumour has it that there has been nothing but tension between the Greek Australian hospitality business owner and Made Establishment chair Radek Sali.
Sali, a former Swisse Wellness chief executive, had told Fairfax Media that he was “prepared for a few potholes in the books” when he invested, but was not made aware that some staff had been underpaid for up to six years.”
Moreover, as the main financial backer of Made Establishment after becoming the stakeholder, Sali had not been provided accurate information on the Jimmy Grants restaurants’ performance.
Sykiotis made an official announcement to staff at all Made Establishment restaurants including The Press Club, Gazi, and Hellenic Republic, saying that he is departing the business after 11 exciting years, to spend more time with his family.
“I have decided to move into a consultative role across the group which will see me move away from full-time involvement,” he said.
“The reason for this change is that my family, who have sacrificed so much for me over these years and have been such a great support, require more of me and it’s now my turn to give back.”
Sykiotis also referred to Calombaris as “one of the greatest people I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with”.
According to a source quoted by The Age, however, Sykiotis’ position within the organisation had become “untenable” after the Fair Work Ombudsman investigation of payroll discrepancies became public in April.