Malaysian-fusion restaurant chain Madam Woo co-founded by celebrity chef Josh Emett has permanently closed the doors to its Christchurch venue and laid-off staff.
All eight staff from Madam Woo Christchurch have been made redundant and further cuts are likely at other Madam Woo restaurants around the country.
Fleur Caulton, chief executive and co-founder of Go To Collection, the owner of Madam Woo, Hawker & Roll and Rata restaurants, confirmed to the Herald that the eatery would not reopen to the public once the country moved to alert level 2.
Emett and Caulton co-founded and opened the first Madam Woo restaurant in Queenstown in 2013. The pair have since opened three other restaurants in Auckland and Hamilton, and launched Hawker & Roll, which has five outlets.
Madam Woo Christchurch opened at the beginning of 2016. The restaurant hasn't been without trouble and faced scrutiny this year after it was revealed a chef who prepared meals at the venue had hepatitis A. More than 100 diners and staff were offered free vaccinations against the disease.
Caulton said the restaurant had been under-performing before the pandemic and the group decided to shut it down to save costs.
Shutting it down was a difficult call but a "good business decision", she said.
"It is permanently closed, it's unfortunate, but there has been an over-supply in Christchurch and it has been challenging trading even pre-Covid-19," Caulton said.
"You have to be realistic in these situations and Christchurch trading in general has been tough.
"The Covid-19 situation has put some realisation into that business."
Go To Collection also operates a Hawker & Roll restaurant in Christchurch, which had been trading well, she said.
"We've got nine sites around the country with a 10th site opening in Commercial Bay and like any business we are looking hard at getting ourselves through [Covid-19] and looking to the future.
"We're really focused on how we can navigate the next few months."
Go To Collection has received more than $1 million in wage subsidies for its 173 staff.
Caulton said no decisions had been made about further redundancies but the company expected to make some "tough calls" on its workforce in the weeks ahead.
"There will be [reduced] staff numbers, I don't think there is any way the ability to open with the numbers that we had previously. Every single hospitality business in New Zealand will be asking the same question.
"We're looking at all costs and what was right pre-Covid 19 may not be appropriate post-Covid."
A former staff member from Madam Woo Christchurch told the Herald the team were made redundant last Wednesday and that this also including some people at other Madam Woo locations.
Caulton said there were no plans to close any other restaurants in the group.
Caulton and Emett hold a 66 per cent stake in Go To Collection.