Food and Drinks

Only Hooters restaurant in Hong Kong closed as questions linger after two lawsuits

Notice on boarded-up entrance indicates relocation but chain involved in unpaid rent disputes is not elaborating

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 7:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 10:35pm

The only Hong Kong branch of the American restaurant chain Hooters has shuttered its prime location after facing two lawsuits for unpaid rent.

Situated on Wyndham Street in Central, the doors to the outlet were closed and covered with cardboard and a notice indicating it was “relocating to an exciting new store in Kowloon”.

Alongside the announcement, which appeared on Sunday, were posters promoting ‘2018 World Cup Live’. It was unclear whether the closure of the Hong Kong site happened abruptly as the soccer tournament started last Thursday.

Without revealing the new location, the notice only said the new store was opening soon. The restaurant could not be reached for comment.

In the two court cases, the landlord sued Hooters for unpaid rent. The first time was in September 2016 for up to HK$1.13 million (US$144,000) – equivalent to three months’ payment. The second was in January this year for HK$1.52 million arising from overdue payment tracing back to October last year.

Both payments were said to be settled, according to former Hooters Asia president Daniel Yong, who left the company soon after reporting the second legal action.

However, it was unclear whether the restaurant had paid its rent since the settlement.

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A writ showed Hooters signed a 10-year lease in March 2016 for its Wyndham Street site, agreeing to pay a monthly rent of HK$330,000, and, by the 10th year, HK$511,938 per month. It was reported that Hooters also signed a five-year lease for a room above the restaurant at a rate of HK$24,000 per month for the first year.

The company has made no official statements about the closure in Central. It is currently out of reach as its phone service has been disabled and Facebook page closed.

Last September, the chain mentioned a plan to open up four more restaurants in Hong Kong.