Award-winning pastry chef Pierrick Boyer has been forced to place his recently opened Melbourne cafe into voluntary administration, blaming adjacent construction work for the downfall of his business.
Boyer was named pastry chef of the year by Gault & Millau Australia last year, but since then his fortunes have taken a turn for the worse.
He’s now out several hundred thousand dollars after placing his namesake business, Pierrick Boyer Cafe Patisserie, into voluntary administration last Friday.
The business, opened only four months ago, is a victim of what Boyer says is a lack of consultation with business owners about construction work in Melbourne’s south-east.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Boyer explains the Cato Square works being undertaken by the city of Stonnington stifled his business, restricting parking for customers and reducing the visibility of his cafe.
“They don’t really care,” he tells SmartCompany.
“Work needs to be done, I understand, but the communication … how can you operate in such a difficult situation?”
Boyer claims in some cases he received only one week notice ahead of road closures along his street during the construction work, while customers complained disrupted parking made his business difficult to access.
“We would have had to spend more money in terms of signs and visibility from outside, but we didn’t because we were already tight on money,” he says.
Administrators Worrels Solvency & Forensic Accountants have taken control of the business and are currently assessing whether the operation will be liquidated, sold or processed through a deed of company arrangement.
Boyer has 14-years of experience in the pastry business, having made cakes for prestigious restaurant Le Petit Gateau in Melbourne.
He says he’d like to continue operating the brand if he can find other investors.
Paul Burness, managing partner at Worrels, said the work happening outside of the cafe was a “significant” factor in its lacklustre trading performance.
The cafe is now closed, but Boyer says he’s paid his 12 staff everything they were owed.
Boyer isn’t the first business owner to run into trouble with construction work. In recent months a myriad of retail stores and cafes in Sydney and Melbourne have blamed construction work for their closures or business difficulties.
Victorian Small Business Commissioner Judy O’Connell told SmartCompany last week she’d had numerous complaints.
“Infrastructure projects are great and at the end, everyone agrees it is fantastic, but the first thing the small business owner knows about it is the jackhammers out the front,” she said.
O’Connell believes communication is the key problem for business owners, a sentiment that Boyer agrees with.
“There was no support whatsoever,” he says. “I even called the Mayor, but there’s nothing they can do.”