• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 9:21am
NewsHong Kong
CATERING

Facts thin on ground as Fat Angelo's restaurants close

Popular Italian chain abruptly shutters all three Hong Kong outlets due to 'major renovations'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 May, 2014, 4:14am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 May, 2014, 4:14am

Mystery surrounds the fate of Italian dining chain Fat Angelo's after all three of its Hong Kong restaurants shut their doors yesterday.

"Fat Angelo's has closed due to major renovations," said signs put up outside the popular Italian chain's outlets in Kennedy Town, Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan.

The chain's owner, Andy Chworowsky, could not be reached for comment last night and calls to the restaurants went unanswered. But the news spread quickly on discussion forums, with diners expressing shock. Those who paid upfront for discounted vouchers with group-buying firm Groupon feared they would not be able to redeem their purchase.

One internet user wrote on parenting forum Baby Kingdom that she had received a call from a Fat Angelo's restaurant yesterday afternoon, saying the entire chain had closed and could not fulfil her request for a reservation.

The chain's website, which was still operating last night, boasts of its "big tasty portions of family-style Italian food (and we mean BIG)" and that its outlets "make an immediate impression from the street with a look that could be straight out of Little Italy in New York City".

Chworowsky has expressed concern over a problem that has dogged many restaurant chains: the city's fast-rising rents.

In August, he told HK Magazine: "We're paying our rent and our fixed costs for the first 27 days of each month. And then we get three days [of profit]. … The frustrating thing is no matter what happens every month, the landlord gets his cheque, but we have to … take that risk all the time."

In 2005, Chworowsky told the Post he had closed another outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui when the landlord increased the monthly rent from HK$160,000 to HK$500,000.

Internet users recalled their experiences of visiting the chain for dates, enjoying its big portions and the balloons that came with meals for children. Others said they no longer went there, citing deterioration in the quality of the food.

A Groupon customer service worker said those who bought vouchers for the restaurant could request a full refund by dialling its hotline or sending in an e-mail.

The vouchers offered meals priced from HK$148 to HK$288, serving two to four people. The expiry date was mid-May.

The chain expanded into Taiwan in 2009. The fate of its Taipei restaurant is not known.

 

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
5

This article is now closed to comments

ray1974
The landlords are killing all the business. These selfish pricks only think of short-term gain and about themselves.
Dai Muff
For our Chief Executive "rent control" is the unsayable expression.
dynamco
Hong Kong Landlord: Merriam FU Webster Online : greedy grabbing thieves; unprincipled , non negotiable scum, unregulated profession
Hong Kong Property agent: vulture, buzzard, money launderer
horacejeffry
And still we say that it is because of the minimum wages! There should be laws which put limits to rent increases
chefcrsh1
I'm sure its more than rent...labor costs have increased dramatically since minimum wage and every F&B company I know is short staff as well. I'm an (now ex) employee of FA in HK and as far as I know the company is insolvent and we are all in line to Labor Department for our final pay.

Login

SCMP.com Account

or