Failed Pizza Hut franchisee 'in hiding on Gold Coast'

John Stephens’ franchise agreement with Pizza Hut has been terminated.
John Stephens’ franchise agreement with Pizza Hut has been terminated. Allan Reinikka

PIZZA Hut employees in Rockhampton have also been left short-changed and out of a job after former Toowoomba franchisee John Stephens also "cleared out" of two Rockhampton stores.

The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin reported that a former employee who lost thousands of dollars in pay and superannuation said owner John Stephens had declared bankruptcy.

The former employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said Stephens lived on the Gold Coast and had gone into hiding.

"They cleared out last Tuesday," he said.

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"They stopped paying people between January 10 and 14.

"It's a real shame for the hard working employees at both stores who have been left with very little to nothing, (and) managers who work long hours may now see none of their leave entitlements."

He said the workers had tried to keep the store running after Mr Stephens left and stopped paying them in mid-January, but the stores officially closed on Monday.

A Pizza Hut Australia spokesperson said the franchisee was in breach of the franchise agreement and it had been terminated.

But they would not discuss the breaches.

Up to 50 workers were affected by the closure of the stores in Rockhampton.

Pizza Hut Australia confirmed the company had terminated all franchise agreements it had in place with entities controlled by Mr Stephens and was considering its options.

An employee of the now closed store in Toowoomba said about 40 staff were hoping to take further action.

They had been directed to lodge a complaint with Fair Work Australia.



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