The future of Les Bubbles is secure, for now, despite news creditors had voted to liquidate its former controlling entity, Bubbles Bar and Bistro.
The Courier Mail reported yesterday creditors had accepted a recommendation to liquidate the company owned by hospitality entrepreneur Damian Griffiths, which collapsed owing $1.32 million in December 2017.
Deloitte’s David Orr and Richard Hughes have been appointed as administrators. Hughes and Orr are quoted in the Courier’s piece as saying the company “may have been insolvent from as early as December 2015’’.
But the future of the popular Les Bubbles restaurant itself is safe for now, after Griffiths sold the business to longtime associate, Dan Strachotta, in late November last year.
“The business of Les Bubbles has been acquired by former group CEO Dan Strachotta who has taken over the business and all existing staff,” a representative of the restaurant said in an emailed statement to Broadsheet. “Under the deal Dan Strachotta acquired the business of Les Bubbles and has retained all former staff including payment of staff entitlements and superannuation.”
Griffiths was forced to let go of Les Bubbles after legal action brought by the ATO, and separate action brought by his Aunt Wendy Griffiths over a loan she gave for the purchase of the Limes Hotel in 2008, which also resulted in the recent closure of Alfred & Constance.
According to the statement, Strachotta made the decision “in the interest of preserving an iconic business and also maintaining operations for the staff who had [worked] hard over the past [two] years to build up [its] reputation.”
“Damian Griffiths was a driving force in creating the brand of Les Bubbles and preserving a piece of Brisbane history,” Strachotta says in the statement. “At the time he took on the site it was a rundown building and people had forgotten [it] was front and centre of the infamous Fitzgerald enquiry … Once home [to] Bubbles Bath House … an illegal casino and brothel.”
Les Bubbles will continue to trade as normal, although according to the Courier report Hughes and Orr allegedly found the restaurant was significantly undervalued when it was sold to Strachotta, which could prompt further legal action.