Stunned staff at Spudulike were made redundant immediately after turning up for work at Dundee’s Overgate shopping mall last Friday morning.
The company closed suddenly with all 37 branches axed throughout the UK and throwing almost 300 people on the dole.
Dundee’s outlet, which opened in the year 2000, had three full-time staff members, plus a manager.
A former employee, who declined to be named, told the Tele: “I have a mate who was working there and he was shattered to find out on Friday morning that he had been made redundant.
“There was somebody from the administrators in the shop when they all got in and he just handed them their redundancy notices – they don’t even know if they will get their wages. It’s ridiculous.
“There just wasn’t the same amount of traffic coming into the shop and it has had very poor sales recently. But this was still a shock.”
The shutters remained down on Friday with no lights on inside the shop although the tables and counter were tidied ready for business.
However, the baked potato specialist collapsed after failing to secure backing from landlords for a rescue restructure.
Founded in 1974, the chain was popular in the 1980s and 1990s but now business solutions firm Leonard Curtis has been appointed as administrators of the parent company, T&G Fast Food Developments.
A spokesman told the Tele today: “Joint administrators Neil Bennett and Alex Cadwallader from Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group confirmed that a last minute withdrawal by a prospective purchaser from a pre-packaged sale of the Spudulike Group of Companies resulted in all 37 of the Group’s outlets, plus its head office, being closed on Friday August 2 and all 298 employees being made redundant with immediate effect.
“Sadly a sale of the business and assets of the group on a going concern basis did not prove possible, following the last minute withdrawal of an offer that was close to completion.
“We had to act quickly, once the prospect of a going concern sale fell away, to safeguard the assets of the companies operating under the Spudulike Group.
“We worked with the group’s management team and staff in all outlets last Friday to effect as smooth a closure as possible at very short notice.
“We are now focusing on seeking any interest in the group’s remaining assets whilst managing the impact of the closures on former employees, helping them prepare and submit claims for any arrears of wages, statutory notice entitlement and redundancy pay.”
The closure was announced just a day before bosses of fast food giants McDonald’s announced they would be closing its Wellgate Centre restaurant.
Malcolm Angus, centre manager at the Overgate said: “Spudulike has ceased trading in the centre following the unexpected arrival on site of administrators.
“There had been no prior indication of this happening and we have not been advised why the store has closed. Overgate’s letting agents are in discussion with Spudulike’s agents to try and establish further details. Our thoughts are very much with the staff affected.”