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Dukpond owner faces criticism for closure text message and not paying staff

Posted on - 18th June, 2016 - 10:53am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Food & Drink, News, Preston City Centre, Restaurants
Andrea Mellon who ran Dukpond Pic: Tony Worrall

Andrea Mellon who ran Dukpond Pic: Tony Worrall

A Preston restaurant owner has defended her decision to tell staff of its closure via text message.

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Dukpond in Cross Street closed on Wednesday and on Thursday its owner Andrea Mellon blamed ‘traffic issues’ for her decision.

A number of current and former staff members have contacted Blog Preston to express their unhappiness with how Ms Mellon handled the business.

One who asked not to be named said: “After working my arse off for two years I received that text.

“She has not paid us for a full weeks work and is not going to pay any holiday pay. She has employees with children and houses to pay for and left them with nothing until they can find another source of income.

“She has repeatedly mentioned her pride for her staff on social media when she clearly has no respect for us. If she did, she would have informed us weeks in advance.”

Not the first time

Former staff have also come forward to say they don’t believe ‘traffic issues’ played a part in the restaurant’s closure.

Dukpond in Cross Street Pic: Google

Dukpond in Cross Street Pic: Google

Jonny Knight who was a junior sous chef at Pond, Duk and PuddleDuk in Horwich between 2009 and 2010 said he was often paid late by Ms Mellon.

He said: “Some weeks I wouldn’t receive my wages for days and and be left in limbo with rent and bills to pay.

“During my time there she went bankrupt multiple times. She has abused the loyalty and responsibility she had as an employer to her employees on countless occasions. Leaving them with no money, many had young children.

“I didn’t take legal action at the time because I was young and naive, but I wish I had.”

Another former staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “She may dress it up as ‘traffic issues’ but she’s bumping the company. All these staff have not been paid’.”

The many companies of Andrea Mellon

Companies House documents show a number of liquidations for Ms Mellon’s companies in the past seven years.  She is listed as a director 14 times on Companies House, with 11 of the companies involved in either being liquidated or dissolved.

Duk Restaurants Limited began in November 2009 before being dissolved in February 2012. Andrea Mellon was listed as the director.

Freds Shed 2010, started in March 2010, lasted until March 2011 before it was wound up, again with Ms Mellon as a director.

Ethel Limited, registered to Cross Street, Preston and listing Ms Mellon as a director was dissolved in December 2013.

Quak Limited, with Andrea Elizabeth Mellon as a director, saw a voluntary liquidator appointed on 15 June 2015.

The most recent company is listed as RRA Limited, with Andrea Mellon as the sole director. It was incorporated on 11 September 2015 and is still trading.

Alongside this is Umble Pie Marketing Limited, which began on 1 April 2016, with Ms Mellon again as the sole director.

Andrea’s response

Blog Preston approached Ms Mellon for comment.

She said: “I appreciate you getting in touch and that I am sorry for the closure I did everything I could. I regret the message but wanted everyone to know at the same time from me and no one else. It’s a difficult time.”

Dukpond continues to trade in Chorley, and Winedown, of which Ms Mellon was previously a director of, continues to trade in Lancaster Road.

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