Local Aussie ice-cream maker Bon Appetit Australia has entered voluntary administration after ongoing issues with the business, with creditors reportedly owed over $1 million.
Established back in 1980, Bon Appetit is a family business that started out as a small Melbourne gelateria on Chapel Street. In 2011, the company began producing and supplying ice cream and gelato to a number of Australian businesses through the Bottega del Gelato and Brown Cow Ice Cream brands.
The company is the main producer of ice cream for the Dairy Bell ice-cream stores based in Victoria, and also runs a frozen and packaged fruit and jam brand called Berry King.
The company acquired Dairy Bell back in 2015 after the iconic local ice-creameries shut their doors after 45 years earlier in 2015, with owner and founder Andre Razums telling SmartCompany at the time he felt closure was a better option than trying to sell.
“It’s all our own work, its 40 years of ourselves and we didn’t want to let someone else have that. Money is not the only thing. There is such a thing as care for what you’ve done all your life,” he said at the time.
However, Bon Appetit saved the company from collapse one month later for an undisclosed sum, with Bon Appetit owner Lou Da Lozzo telling SmartCompany he made the decision due to Dairy Bell’s rich local heritage.
“The number one reason we made the deal was that it is a great Victorian business, and we recognised that as producers ourselves,” Da Lozzo said at the time.
“The core ice-cream recipes will be produced the same, but we will look to add some more flavour. [The owners] deserve a pat on the back for running a business for 45 years.”
However, with Bon Appetit’s collapse, the future of Dairy Bell is uncertain.
Administrators from Cor Cordis were appointed on Friday last week to manage the administration process, with administrator Glenn Spooner telling Fairfax while Dairy Bell’s recipes are produced by Bon Appetit, a director of the company separately owns the recipe’s intellectual property, with a sale of the IP reportedly underway.
“A related entity of Bon Appetit has 19 staff and unfortunately we have had to let a couple go — we have 15 or 16 left,” Spooner told Fairfax.
Spooner told Fairfax the businesses had to shut down due to being loss-making for a long period of time, along with one director’s ongoing health issues contributing to the business’ administration.
Though the administrators are currently assessing amounts owed to creditors, Spooner says the current figure of $900,000 is likely to balloon out to an excess of $1 million. The company has assets including existing stock and manufacturing equipment which the administrators are planning to sell.
SmartCompany contacted Bon Appetit and Dairy Bell but did not receive a response prior to publication.