Collins Foods returns $1.8 million in JobKeeper payments

Its CEO said the decision is in line with one of the company’s values of “positive impact”.

Collins Foods Limited said it will be returning JobKeeper payments of $1.8 million received during FY21 for its Sizzler Australia restaurants in the final months before the venues closed down last year.

The ASX-listed company, which also operates KFC and Taco Bell stores, received the subsidies from the Australian government following a decline of more than 30% in revenue in its Sizzler Australia division’s nine remaining restaurants early in the pandemic.

Sizzler was hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, with revenues and earnings slow to recover from peak COVID-19 impacts and continued to operate at a loss, Collins Foods said.

“Once we had made the difficult decision to close the nine remaining Sizzler stores in Australia based on a projection of extended sales declines, we decided that we would not continue to draw the Jobkeeper allowance from the Government, but would top up the payments to staff to the equivalent amount,” Collins Foods’ CEO Drew O’Malley said.

“Our additional decision...to return the initial $1.8 million in JobKeeper payments as outlined in our half-yearly results, is an extension of this approach, and in line with one of our corporate values of “Positive Impact”. We were also pleased to be able to redeploy over 90 Sizzler employees into our KFC and Taco Bell restaurants,” he added.

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