Glimmer of hope as Cold Rock bosses lock horns


A DISPUTE has erupted between a franchisee and head office after one of Australia's best-performing Cold Rock Ice Creamery stores closed without warning.

This week franchisee Don Bambry shut his Springwood and Indooroopilly ice cream stores, unable to pay suppliers amid increasing costs and flat-lining revenue.

The immediacy of the closure shocked Franchised Food Company CEO Stan Gordon, who owns the Cold Rock brand.

Mr Gordon said his Queensland team met with Mr Bambry last week and "there was no hint anything was wrong".

About 20 young staff were put out of work and suppliers are owed tens of thousands of dollars following the closure of the two stores jsut days after the meeting.

Mr Bambry blamed high commission taken by Uber Eats and other food delivery companies for the lack of revenue growth.

If a customer makes an order worth $20 through Uber Eats the delivery company will take 30 per cent commission.

Franchised Food Company will take its share off the original $20, leaving the store with about $10 from the sale, he said.

"It takes businesses months and months to realise they're bleeding (to delivery companies)," Mr Bambry said.

Cold Rock Ice Cream CEO Stan Gordon.
Cold Rock Ice Cream CEO Stan Gordon.

But Mr Gordon insisted delivery was not the root of Mr Bambry's problems.

"I don't really buy that," he said.

"If you don't want to do it, don't do it.

"Nobody is standing with a gun at their head saying you have to."

The South African-born entrepreneur insists his other Cold Rock stores are strong and the business is growing.

Mr Gordon and Mr Bambry do agree, however, about the effect penalty rates and wages have had on the business.

"When July 1 comes around there's another pay rise," Mr Bambry said.

"You just can't pay the wages that are demanded," Mr Gordon said.

"I think everybody should be paid the same rate for a 38-hour week and then after 38 hours add penalty rates.

Mr Bambry said banks had refused to lend him money and, if they did, he would dig himself out of the financial hole and his two stores would remain open.

"There was no single event that caused this," he said.

"I got to a point where I hit a brick wall.

"Instead of lingering on and ended up owing people more money I thought I'd give it in."

Mr Gordon pledged to reopen the Springwood store

Mr Bambry said his company, Bambry Enterprises Pty Ltd, would be put into liquidation.

It appears Queensland's ice cream industry is facing a difficult future, with the closure of Home Ice Cream's Gold Coast depot last month putting four people out of work.

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