Restaurant forced to close in wake of Catzavelos scandal
The Smokehouse and Grill restaurant in Braamfontein has been forced to close its doors as a result of the fallout from the racism scandal involving businessman Adam Catzavelos‚ who previously held a minority stake in the restaurant.
The restaurant said in a statement on Sunday that this was despite the fact that Catzavelos had no operational involvement in the business.
Catzavelos catapulted to notoriety in August after a video of him using the k-word to celebrate the fact that there were no black people around him on a beach holiday went viral.
The Smokehouse and Grill statement said that the actions of the EFF‚ who had invaded the restaurant on Thursday‚ had further compounded bad trading conditions‚ forcing it to close its doors‚ resulting in the loss of 29 jobs.
It said the EFF had threatened The Smokehouse and Grill staff members‚ “even surrounding one manager holding steak knives they had picked up from the restaurant tables”.
Catzavelos had been fired from the family business‚ with immediate effect‚ on August 21‚ the day his comments came to the restaurant and public’s attention‚ more than two weeks before the EFF decided to mobilise against the restaurant.
“On August 22‚ the company publicly disassociated itself from his utterances via a media statement‚ informing the market he had been dismissed and his shareholding in the family business and The Smokehouse and Grill was being unwound,” the statement said.
“The Smokehouse and Grill acted swiftly and decisively in managing the racism scandal – and‚ to reiterate‚ it did so more than two weeks before the EFF decided to disrupt trading at the restaurant.”
It said trading since the racism scandal had been slow and‚ as a result‚ the restaurant had begun operating at an unsustainable loss.
“Threats to our staff and disruption to customers from the EFF compounded the reputational damage at the operation‚ which resulted in its closure.
“As such‚ 29 people have lost their jobs‚ as well as the option to participate in an employee share ownership trust we had been investigating for the 25% stake formerly held by Adam Catzavelos.
“Our loyal staff and the people they support will suffer the most as a result of this turn of events.
“It beggars belief that businesses can be thus threatened‚ seemingly without a thought for the people who will be most affected – and the families they support.”