An owner of the Japanese restaurant franchise “Daruma”, Ekaphop Leungprasert, yesterday, June 21st, filed charges against the restaurant owner, or franchisor, for fraud after the company failed to provide food ingredients to the branch, causing huge damage.
Two branch owners also presented themselves at the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), claiming that they were also victims. One of them claimed that they paid a contract of more than 2.5 million baht two months ago but were unable to open a branch until now. Another said that they paid a franchise expense of 2 million baht but could only open the restaurant for 2 months because no ingredients were delivered which was part of the contract.
One of the victims, only named to the press as Noon, said that she was a loyal customer before deciding to start a business with Daruma in the Sai Mai area. The beginning of the business went well until the past month when salmon and other ingredients started to be sent out slowly and sometimes did not deliver at all. The Daruma owner reportedly became unreachable as well.
One day before the incident, the restaurant also started a 199-baht buffet campaign because she already received coupons to sell to customers and the franchisor confirmed that the promotion could proceed even though the salmon price was rising. There was no sign that there would be a problem.
The franchisor reportedly fled the country only one day before all 27 branches of Daruma Sushi shut their doors, reasoning that they needed to improve the service. In reality, the lack of total delivery of ingredients and food by the franchisor and the franchisor allegedly fleeing to Dubai caused the entire chain to shutdown.
Another branch owner in Watcharaphon, Thidarat Thanwittayanon, said that she had been invited to start a new branch and agreed to a contract of 2.5 million baht. The shop was supposed to start its first day on June 18th but it could not.
“We still hope that he will be responsible. We don’t know if the owner has fled out of the country according to the news or not,” Thidarat added.
Meanwhile, Anucha Nakasai of the Office of The Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) said that the OCPB had coordinated with the Immigration Bureau to confirm whether the restaurant owner had fled the country as reported.
“We believe that the police and the DSI are working coordinatedly to investigate the matter. The damage is expected to be significantly high in value and a lot of customers and branch owners are largely affected. So, many agencies would jointly work to solve this problem,” Anucha concluded.
The original version of this article appeared on our sister website, The Pattaya News, owned by our parent company TPN media.
Follow us on Facebook