Former employees of Doughnut Time have taken to social media to slam their former workplace, after the business went into liquidation – leaving employees, many of them students, $200,000 out of pocket in unpaid wages.
Former owner, Damian Griffiths, opened the first Doughnut Time store in February 2015, and at its peak, there were a total of 30 stores across Australia. However, the business’ catchy slogan ‘It’s Always A Good Time’, rang deeply untrue for employees of the business, as they began to notice cost cutting measures taking place, with their pay coming in later and later, eventually stopping altogether.
One former Doughnut Time employee, Joanna*, who is also a university student, worked for the company for nine months, but stopped receiving pay after five months. She is owed a total of $2,000 in unpaid wages.
Students being employed in dodgy workplaces is not an unfamiliar story. Often, there can be clear warning signs that the business is in trouble, however students are not always aware of what to look out for. This certainly was the case with Doughnut Time, with multiple signs that the business was in trouble, but employees of the business have explained that they were just ‘naïve’ to this, and believed management when they said that ‘everything will get better’.
So, what are the warning signs that students should be aware of? According to Joanna, there was an overall downgrade of the quality of the product, ‘Customers were complaining that the dough was dry…there were complaints being made about the quality of the product’, she explained.
Along with the downgrading of quality, was a clear sign of upper management attempting to cut corners. As Joanna explained, employees began to receive fewer hours, whilst management also changed their tact in hiring. “They (used to) hire people who were more experienced and older, but in the last couple months leading up to it (the liquidation), we were hiring 15 year olds.”
In one particular case, one of the stores experienced a power outage for several hours, because the upper management had failed to pay that month’s energy bill. In other cases, managers showed up for work in the morning, only to find themselves locked out of their stores because the rent hadn’t been paid.
What was Joanna’s advice to students who may be caught in a similar predicament? “Even if they (upper management) say they’ll pay you back by a certain date, if it happens over a month…then I’d say you just quit.”
*Not her real name