Local restaurant chain Ministry of Food will be winding up after it failed to repay a debt of S$200,000, The Straits Times reported.
S$200,000 loan not paid
In 2019, MOF was offered a S$200,000 loan by Chua Ngak Hwee, the co-founder of Healthstats, as a friendly gesture.
In March 2021, Chua decided to sue the company when MOF failed to repay the loan.
The High Court approved Chua's voluntary winding up application, effectively ceasing Ministry of Food's business operations and shutting all of its restaurants.
The application can enable a liquidation to sell the company's total assets to repay its debts.
Tam Chee Chong, director of Kairos Corporate Advisory, is the appointed liquidator.
ST reported that another application had been made to the High Court in January 2021 to claim S$4.8 million from the Ministry of Food.
It was made by Lee Je Young and three others, who sold the company a chain of Korean restaurants for S$5.5 million.
However, they only received S$700,000 in payment and sued the company in 2017 for the remaining amount of S$4.8 million owed.
In 2020, they obtained a Mareva injunction against Ministry of Food's owner, Lena Sim.
The injunction froze Sim's assets up to the value of the outstanding S$4.8 million and resulted in the closure of five outlets in February and March 2020.
Shortly before this, Sim was caught in another financial dispute where MOF was allegedly S$16,000 in debt in January 2020.
The debt was owed to Yang Kaiheng, owner of Takagi Ramen, who wanted a refund for his deposit.
After three unsuccessful demands to recover his deposit, Yang made a police report against Sim.
Ministry of Food
Ministry of Food was established in 2006 and its first outlet was located in Marina Square.
The chain had 80 restaurants in Singapore at its peak with nine brands under its group.
The brands were:
- Daessiksin Korean BBQ Buffet
- Danro Collagen Hotpot Buffet
- Insadong Korea Town
- Ju Hao
- MOF My Izakaya
- Social Square
- Ssiksin Korean Grill BBQ Buffet Restaurant
- Terminal M
In March 2020, after a series of outlet closures, Ministry of Food was left with 26 outlets.
Tam, the liquidator, told ST that all of the outlets had been closed.
However, ST reported that DaeSsikSin Korean BBQ Buffet at Orchard Gateway was still open for business on April 21.
The restaurant was incorporated in December 2020 and registered under Master Kitchen Concepts.
Ministry of Food's Facebook has been removed and its Instagram was last updated in 2019.
The website is still operational but is no longer taking in food orders.
Mothership.sg has reached out to Sim for a statement.
Top image from Ministry of Food website and MOF - Ministry of Food/FB