Being ghosted by your ex is one thing, but being ghosted by an entire company… that’s another thing altogether.
But that’s what customers, suppliers and employees of a catering company in Singapore have been experiencing lately.
The company in question? Royal Cuisine Group, which is a relatively well-known catering company in Singapore.
Yup, what they say about food always being there for you is a lie.
It also manages other food and beverage (F&B) stores, such as dessert stores, hotpot shops and coffee shops, and has over 400 employees.
Right now, a search for the company’s page on Google Maps will indicate that it is “permanently closed”.
Even though they just conducted a “giveaway” on their Facebook page last month.
Here’s what happened and all that you need to know.
Catering Company Owes Customers Almost $20,000 in Orders
Recently, it was revealed that Royal Cuisine Group and the catering companies under the group had failed to fulfil customers’ food orders.
When speaking to Lianhe Zaobao, Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, the President of the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), highlighted that CASE received 64 complaints related to Royal Cuisine Group from 25 November to 21 December this year.
Out of the 64 complaints, Royal Cuisine Group had 37 complaints. Happy MamaPapa had 13, Healthy Meals Catering had seven, Angel Confinement Meals had four, while Tingkat Singapore and Vegetarian had one complaint each.
He added that the complaints generally came from customers who ordered the group’s tingkat meals, confinement meals or catered food.
In total, the group owes customers approximately $20,000 in such meals.
The affected customers told CASE that their orders were not fulfilled as Royal Cuisine Group claimed that there was a power failure at their central kitchen, which rendered them unable to prepare the food.
They also said that Royal Cuisine Group could not offer them a date when they could resume normal operations or food delivery.
Apart from that, they allegedly did not respond to customers’ refund requests either.
As of late, customers have taken to the comments section of the posts on the group’s Facebook page to question the group for not delivering the meals.
“I ordered the tingkat meals last month[,] but the tingkat delivery was abruptly stopped halfway last month in November. So when will Royal Cuisine refund the money for the undelivered days of tingkat meals back to customers?” one netizen wrote in his comment.
Another Facebook user revealed that the company did not pick up her calls or reply to customers’ WhatsApp messages.
Royal Cuisine Group Did Not Respond to CASE
After receiving complaints from consumers, CASE decided to contact Royal Cuisine Group in the hopes of recovering the money that was paid by customers who did not receive their food from the catering company.
However, Mr Yong told Mothership that Royal Cuisine Group failed to respond to CASE.
And since it has officially closed down, he advised affected customers to file a claim with the Small Claims Tribunals to recover their monies.
Additionally, those who paid for the meal packages from the group via credit card can opt to file a chargeback request with their respective banks.
As long as they file it within 120 days of the transaction, they will be refunded the unfulfilled monetary value of their packages.
Individuals who require more assistance due to unresolved disputes can also contact CASE through their hotline at 9795 8397.
Company Also Owes Employees Their Salary; Former Employee Exposed Bosses
And it seems like customers aren’t the only people on the losing end here.
Former employees are too.
On 18 December, a former employee named Kym Tan took to Facebook to call her former workplace out.
In a post titled “Pay us our salary!”, Tan exposed her former workplace for failing to pay employees for two months.
According to her, she and her colleagues were hired in the company’s logistics department under a “contractor agreement”, and they have “nowhere to seek help” other than the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).
“We have worked very hard for this company. And even after [one] month of being unpaid, we [chose] to believe his words that he will pay us the following month but [he] did not [fulfil his promise]. Promises were broken one after another,” she recounted.
She then urged customers to “be smart and do research before ordering [their] tingkat” as she does not know if the company will continue to cheat other customers, workers or suppliers under the guise of a new company in the future.
Apart from that, Tan also wrote that she could only pay her outstanding bills due to the assistance rendered to her by her new employer.
When speaking to 8world, she also revealed that her employer at Royal Cuisine Group held two meetings in November with the staff.
The employees were told that the company had gotten into conflict with their shareholders and that the shareholders hacked into the company’s email and website.
This caused the company’s email and website to “fail to operate normally”, according to her former employers.
In total, there were 87 employees whose salaries were compromised when they worked at Royal Cuisine Group.
Continued Taking Orders Despite Not Having a Kitchen or Relevant Staff
Apart from that, Tan wrote in her post that her bosses “continued to take in new orders” even though the company was no longer equipped with the relevant staff, such as chefs, packers and drivers, then.
They didn’t even have a kitchen then, which would be fine if they were magicians who could make food appear out of nowhere (but of course, they’re not).
This meant that many customers did not receive their orders in full, and some did not even receive the first meal that they ordered.
“Some are expensive meals like confinement meals which cost $1400 and above. Such acts are just disgusting,” she commented.
Bosses Cleared Out Entire Office; Employee Exposed Bosses’ Identities
And that’s not all.
Tan also took the opportunity to expose her former employers, who go by the names Alex Wu and Lynn Sim.
According to her, Wu and Sim retrieved all the valuables, cash, laptops and computers from the office before locking all their restaurants, kitchens and offices up. In her post, she also included images of the offices’ doors being locked up with padlocks.
She also told 8world that they had admitted to the employees that the company was “out of money” but added that they did not want to close the company down just yet.
Wu and Sim then assured the employees that business would return to normal after new investors invested in their company. However, they proceeded to shut down the offices without notice afterwards.
Tan attached images of her former bosses in her post as well and wrote bitterly, “While [us] workers did not have our salary paid, customers did not have their meals after [they] paid, they are living a [luxurious] life [residing] at 21 Marina Way, driving a [Mercedes] and having a [chauffeur]. Where is the justice? Pay us!”
Staff of Coffeeshop Under Same Company Also Failed to Get Salary
And it seems like it’s not only the catering company staff who are affected.
An employee who worked at a coffee shop managed by the same group revealed to 8world that the last time he received any salary from the company was in October when he was paid half his salary.
His employers also failed to contribute to his Central Provident Fund (CPF) from August onwards.
The employee, who is in his 60s and is supposed to earn $1,600 every month, added that he and two other elderly workers had not been paid fairly for their work in terms of their salary and CPF contributions.
Just like Tan, he also shared that he only found out about the store’s closure in November when he arrived at work but was faced with a pitch-black store.
Afterwards, he received a text from the company on 29 November saying he did not need to report for work anymore.
According to the employee, the company called for a meeting with them on 8 December and claimed that they would repay these employees’ salaries bit by bit every month.
However, they did not state when they would repay them.
Some netizens who commented on Tan’s post also mentioned that they were in the same boat as her, with one of them accusing the company of not paying him car rental fees for three months after renting a vehicle from him to deliver their catered meals.
When contacted by 8world, the founder of Royal Cuisine Group claimed that over 15 brands under the group ceased operations in end-November this year.
According to the founder, the company got into internal conflict with their investors, causing the investors to delete all websites under the company, customers’ order information and other related financial platforms without warning in mid-November.
This resulted in the company being unable to retrieve any customer information to complete the orders or issue refunds to customers, meaning that the company could no longer provide or send out orders from then onwards.
Therefore, it eventually led to Royal Cuisine Group being unable to pay employees’ salaries, causing the company to shut down.
The founder added that it is currently trying to source for new investors to try and salvage the company. Apart from that, it is currently working with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and TADM to resolve the issues regarding employees’ salaries and customers’ orders.
Investigations are Ongoing
MOM also confirmed that it is investigating whether Royal Cuisine Group and the brands they manage have breached employment laws.
As of last Friday (23 December), 87 former employees have contacted TADM with their salary-related complaints The relevant authorities are currently offering assistance to these individuals and will refer them to the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to help them with employment opportunities.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Royal Cuisine Group + Kym Tan)
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