The Golden Jaguar buffet restaurant chain has closed its Yan'an Road W. operation in Shanghai, along with other outlets, leaving diners who bought prepaid cards and staff workers who haven't been paid in the lurch.
More than 10 workers at the Yan'an Road W. outlet said they had not been paid for three months, and prepaid card buyers of the restaurant said they have been left in the dark, Shanghai Daily found.
A notice at the restaurant stated it had stopped operating for "interior project maintenance." Prepaid card buyers were advised to "register their cards and personal information," but no solution was offered.
A woman surnamed Lin said she had two cards for the restaurant with more than 3,000 yuan (US0) unused.
"I was lured into buying another card as the restaurant said there was an extra sum of money reward to guests for the second card," she said, adding she now wants her money back. "I was not aware of the closure until learning from my friend today, which is very surprising because Golden Jaguar is an old buffet restaurant in Shanghai," said Lin.
Other victims include couples who have booked banquets at the restaurant.
"We have already distributed invitation cards and where can we book another restaurant in such a short time?" said a bride-to-be surnamed Li, who came to the restaurant to check out the venue. Her wedding takes place next month.
Workers said the restaurant closed on June 19. A worker surnamed Xu said he had not received wages for three months, adding he is owed more than 30,000 yuan.
"I trusted the company for a long time, because I understood it was facing a difficult time and I did not complain about delayed wages." Now Xu says he has no money left for living costs.
Xu said the Yan'an Road W. restaurant employed more than 100 workers. "We tried to get paid, but were told by the company that it had no money. It even told us to file a lawsuit because it did not care."
The restaurant stopped operating because it had no cash to buy food, said Xu, adding that chain's problems were nationwide.
The restaurant had been given a warning and ordered to rectify and stop issuing prepaid cards by the Minhang District Commission of Commerce last August after an increasing number of complaints over its prepaid cards. However, the restaurant still continued to issue them.
As of last May, Golden Jaguar had 15.14 million yuan unused in its Shanghai prepaid cards. The company might not be able to refund cardholders, said Fan Lingen, secretary general of the Shanghai Prepaid Card Association.