Following months of turmoil, remaining Criniti’s restaurants will close owing more than $16 million after a sale agreement fell through.
Following months of turmoil, remaining Criniti’s restaurants will close owing more than $16 million after a sale agreement fell through.

Pizza chain permanently shuts owing $16 million

Beleaguered Italian empire Criniti's will shut permanently after a sale agreement fell through, owing more than $16.5 million.

Creditors this week voted to shut the remaining seven restaurants after the coronavirus crisis caused a $6.1 million sale to fall through.

Since 2003 Frank Criniti was publicly known as the founder and owner of the Italian empire, however he made his mother Rosa Criniti the director after he landed in financial trouble.

Six locations had already been shut in November and January including Manly, Woolloomooloo, Wollongong and Kirrawee locations and another two in Western Australia and Queensland.

After these closures, administrators Worrells ran a marketing campaign to sell the business, which received substantial interest however according to the report, "The sale process was interrupted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the purchaser withdrew

their offer."

Criniti's restaurant in Church Street, Parramatta. Picture: John Fotiadis
Criniti's restaurant in Church Street, Parramatta. Picture: John Fotiadis

The remaining seven venues at Castle Hill, Darling Harbour, Kotara, Parramatta and Wetherill Park are now permanently shuttered, plus two more Victorian locations. Worrells found that of the debt, $15 million was owed to the ATO and the rest to assorted creditors including Qantas, solicitors Uther Webster & Evans, Afdigital and Wireless Edge Networks. Staff are also estimated to be out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars, with a final meeting for employees being held on April 14.

Criniti's Wolloomooloo. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Criniti's Wolloomooloo. Picture: Dylan Robinson

On April 3 Criniti's announced on their Facebook page that they, like many restaurants around the world, would be temporarily closing due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"The wellbeing and safety of our staff, our customers and our community is our number one priority and today, we have decided to temporarily close our restaurants," the post read.

"To our wonderful Criniti's family, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for your love and support during this difficult time.

"We can't wait to see you soon."

The Potbelleez perform on stage to open the Manly location in 2013.
The Potbelleez perform on stage to open the Manly location in 2013.

The national restaurant chain's financial woes became apparent November last year when administrators were appointed to the struggling franchise and made the decision to close six stores.

Criniti also found himself in personal trouble last month after he plead guilty to assaulting his ex-wife and Criniti's co-founder Rima Tannous at Castle Towers shopping centre, kicking her and threatening to hit her in the head.

The pair opened their first store at Parramatta in 2003.

Originally published as Criniti's permanently shut owing $16 million

Criniti’s days of dishing up pizzas are over.
Criniti’s days of dishing up pizzas are over.

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