The majority of the MAdE Establishment Group restaurant business has entered voluntary administration following a staff underpayment scandal.

According to a report in The Guardian, around 400 employees will lose their jobs as a result of this move.

Advisory and investment firm KordaMentha’s Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser were appointed as voluntary administrators of 22 companies in the group.

However, the administration excludes the Yo-Chi outlets, which will continue to operate as usual. All other stores will cease operations immediately.

In a statement, KordaMentha said that all employees had been paid outstanding wages and superannuation up to the appointment of the administrator.

Founded by Australian chef and restaurateur George Calombaris, MAdE Establishment Group manages 12 restaurants and food venues in Melbourne.

The business dwindled after the group admitted underpaying Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic restaurant staff up to 2017.

Shepard said: “A major rebranding of a number of high-profile venues, including Hellenic Hotel Williamstown (relaunched as Hotel Argentina), Hellenic Republic Brunswick (recently re-opened as Crofter Dining Room) and The Press Club (relaunched as Elektra), was unable to turn the business around, despite strong reviews.

“Other factors were generally difficult trading conditions in the hospitality industry in recent years due to the expansion of the on-demand economy via services such as UberEats and Deliveroo, increasing costs, fierce industry competition and changes in consumer tastes to favour cheaper mid-tier dining options.”

Administrators will select a new operator for the restaurants. It will also engage with the stakeholders to realise the group’s assets.