Restaurant franchise Wagamama owes nearly $5 million to creditors including former staff left out of pocket after it shut up shop in July, a liquidators' report shows.
The global franchise, which served Asian-inspired food, had restaurants in Auckland and Wellington before the local company that owns them went into liquidation and receivership.
The first report from liquidators Steven Khov, Kieran Jones and Thomas Rodewald put the failure down to an unsustainable business model and several restaurants performing below expectations.
Total debts owed across the four restaurants in Newmarket, New Lynn, Sylvia Park and downtown Wellington and the parent company – WNZ Ltd – amounted to $4.83 million.
Assets at the time of liquidation include intercompany loans, some fixtures and equipment and a shareholder current account.
However, it was too early to comment on any recoveries and the likelihood of a distribution to creditors at this stage, the report said.
"The liquidators are also investigating whether there are any other assets and/or potential claims which may give rise to additional recoveries for the benefit of creditors."
Discussions were also being held with receivers Stephen Lawrence and Christopher McCullagh, who were appointed by Simon and Bridget Tompkins as trustees of the Manning Trust and BMC Trust on July 23.
The Tompkins are listed as 40 per cent shareholders of the parent company, with Mark Keddel and Robert Bruce also holding 40 per cent of the company's shares.
The Manning and BMC Trust has a claim in the liquidation for $1m but sits behind the ANZ Bank as first ranking secured creditor (owed $123,907) and beverage company Lion as the second ranking secured creditor.
The Inland Revenue is owed approximately $917,039, the bulk of which relates to the Wellington restaurant.
Unsecured creditors including former staff and suppliers are owed about $3.3 million across the four restaurants and parent company.
The general manager of the Wellington restaurant, Soraya Edwards, last month told RNZ she was owed at least $6000, and dozens of staff are owed more than $50,000 combined.
The liquidators say they are still quantifying staff entitlements that remain unpaid.
When the chain closed its doors in July, a notice posted on Wagamama's central website hinted it could return in the future.
"We are very sorry that our time in New Zealand has, for now, come to an end. We'd like to raise our chopsticks and thank all our loyal customers who have visited us at Wagamama New Zealand over the years."
"We hope one day to be back on your shores."
The liquidators are undertaking a review of the financial affairs of the company while they await the completion of the receivership.
The first receivership report is expected before September 30.