Major restaurant chain shuts down

By Dy Tung   October 22, 2019 | 10:30 pm PT
Major restaurant chain shuts down
"For rent" signs hung outside a Mon Hue eatery in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Dy Tung.
Mon Hue, a major Vietnamese restaurant chain with around 80 outlets nationwide, has shut down without notice, apparently unable to pay its dues.

Several suppliers as well as some employees are claiming they haven't been paid for months. One of the Mon Hue outlets in Saigon's District 1 has been closed for 20 days. At many other locations in the city, only security guards are left guarding the premises, while at many other locations, signs are hung soliciting new tenants. In other places all furniture and decorations have been removed.

On Monday, dozens of suppliers of the restaurant had gathered outside the headquarters of Huy Vietnam Food Processing JSC, the parent company of Mon Hue, to picket it, accusing the company of not having paid them for months.

However, there were only a few staff on duty there, and suppliers were unable to speak to anyone with authority to resolve their claims. The same thing happened at Huy Vietnam’s other premises, so suppliers have been asked by local police to file their claims.

Suppliers continued to picket the chain’s premises Tuesday morning, but no staff was present. Some even tried to enter the private home of Huy Nhat, the founder of Huy Vietnam, but failed. There was no information about Nhat's whereabouts. Nhat is a Vietnamese-American. 

"Since about a week ago, the company stopped taking our supplies or paying for them. We couldn’t contact the procurement managers, directors of Mon Hue or its owner, Huy Nhat," Thuan, a supplier of vegetables and fruits at the Binh Dien Market in District 8, told VnExpress.

In the last nine months, Mon Hue has racked up VND1.3 billion ($55,940) in debt to his business, Thuan said.

"I stopped supplying goods to them because I was owed money, so they found new suppliers. Fortunately, I have managed to claim some of the money back, so I am only owed around VND165 million ($7,100) for banana leaves and coconut milk," said The La, another supplier.

Suppliers said that the chain held a debt restructuring meeting with suppliers just the previous month, pledging to pay VND50 million ($2,150) per month to those they owed less than VND500 million ($21,500), and VND100 million ($4,300) per month for amounts above this level.

Some of Mon Hue’s employees have also said they are owed 2-3 months’ worth of wages, and several landlords have also said that the chain owes them money. Even a food delivery app said it had ceased to take orders for this business because it could not recover its dues.

According to the National Business Registration Portal, Huy Vietnam was established in June 2015. On its official website, Huy Vietnam claims to manage nine food and beverage chains, of which the largest is Mon Hue chain, which had around 80 eateries prior to its closure.

Huy Vietnam is registered as a 100 percent foreign owned enterprise, with a charter capital of VND600 billion ($25.81 million) as of April 2019. It was co-founded by Huy Nhat, chairman and CEO. At its peak, it owned more than 100 restaurant outlets.

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