Broken Earth closes
Monday, 13th January, 2014
Broken Hill’s iconic Broken Earth Restaurant on top of the line of lode will close it doors on Friday because it’s not making money.
The restaurant’s lessee, Wilson Cuy Pty Ltd, a business partnership between Wincen Cuy and Andrew Wilson, announced their decision on Saturday.
“It’s disappointing,” said managing director Wincen Cuy, who is also Mayor of Broken Hill.
“One of the reason’s we went up there was to try to keep it open, and keep the miner’s memorial open and accessible to locals and tourists.
“To make this decision ... it was not an easy one.”
Wilson Cuy took over the lease in March last year from failed businessman John Groenendijk after his company, Turnkey Distributions, fell into the hands of liquidators.
“It was struggling then,” Mr Cuy said. “We thought we would be able to come into it an give it a new lease of life, but unfortuntely (we couldn’t).”
“It was our pride in the memorial,” said Mr Cuy, who also worked on the mines for eleven years.
“We did not want to see that memorial and that iconic business close, so we thought we could give it a go and turn it around,” he said.
The business has not been able to show any return on investment over the first seven months.
Mr Cuy said a huge decline in patronage from local people impacted on the business, and he put this down to negative publicity about the road up to the restaurant, Federation Way.
“When the tourist season finishes you have to rely heavily on the local market,” Mr Cuy said, adding that tourist numbers usually declined in November.
“For the last two months, the locals have not been going up there.”
The poor state of Federation Way has been widely publicised, with much political debate about who should fix it.
Mr Cuy also said the design of the facility did not fit the purpose of a restaurant. The food storage area was 30 metres from the kitchen, and this was not practical.
Mr Cuy said he had informed the eight casual staff of the decision, including the chef, kitchen hands and waiting staff.
He said he could not comment on the future of access to the miner’s memorial at this stage, as this was still being discussed with Crown Lands - the authority in charge of the facility - and CBH.