Ponsonby restaurant Scandal shuts doors after Covid-19 financial difficulties, says owner

A Ponsonby restuarant has shut its doors as its owner says he is grappling with the financial impacts of Covid-19.

Scandal, which is self-described as an Asian-fusion restaurant with a Kiwi twist, was spotted this week with a for ‘lease sign’ in its window along Ponsonby Rd.

On the restaurant’s social media pages a message had also been left for its customers.

“Scandal has had some temporary troubles and we are tying our best to sort them through. Please keep an eye out; we will be back in action. We hope you send some good vibes and luck our way … There is an opportunity in this adversity.”

Owner Gautam Jindal said the restaurant has closed its doors after it was late paying its November rent, which he blamed on financial difficulties associated with Covid-19.

He explained he was still working on a resolution with the landlord to potentially reopen the restaurant in the near future but sympathised with his 12 employees who had “been left high and dry overnight.”

Opened in November 2019, Scandal is in the building which previously housed Moo Chow Chow and Teddy’s. It was redecorated with dark brick and a custom-built lit marble bar.

Many restaurants were hit hard during last year’s Covid-19 lockdowns.

A Restaurant Association hospitality report last month found nationwide sales for the industry had plummeted by 40 per cent for the period April to June after reaching an all-time high of $12.1 billion for the year ending March 2020.

Trading conditions did improve in the third quarter of 2020 but Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois said it was “still very much a mixed bag out there”.

“Whilst some businesses are recovering well, many others are still experiencing significant losses,” she said at the time of the report.

“Establishments in tourist hotspots as well as Auckland CBD are still down on [2019] with the trend of city centre workers staying home and loss of tourist dollars continuing to cause significant reductions in trade.”

A Restaurant Association member survey also indicated the top three concerns are further increases to the minimum wage, another Covid-19 outbreak and maintaining profitability.

More than half of the industry respondents added they have reduced their opening hours permanently and 42 per cent have made changes to the menu, choosing to simplify or reduce the menu to help maximise efficiencies.

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