Crystal Jade staff get payouts of up to $40k
FORMER Crystal Jade boss Ip Yiu Tung has used part of the windfall he reaped from selling the restaurant chain to give bonuses of up to $40,000 to current or former employees.
Mr Ip, a 66-year-old Hong Konger who is a Singapore permanent resident, sold his share of the company in May last year as part of an estimated US$100 million (S$140 million) buyout. He is in Singapore this week visiting various Crystal Jade restaurants to hand out cheques to current and former employees.
Ong Ah Kwee was one of those asked to gather at Crystal Jade Kitchen in VivoCity on Wednesday afternoon to collect her payout.
"I was very reluctant to go, for it was very far from my house," said the 61-year-old part-time waitress at Crystal Jade Kitchen in Tampines Mall.
"My friends told me that they had read reports in Hong Kong that Mr Ip will share the profits of the sale with the employees, but I didn't quite believe them. I never thought it'd really happen," said Madam Ong in Mandarin.
An employee since 1996, she has mostly been a part-timer working four hours a day. She was pleasantly surprised to get a sum roughly three times her pay, directly from the hands of the former big boss.
Others, like supervisors and the chief chef, have been given payouts of about $20,000 to $40,000, she said.
"Mr Ip must have given out a lot of money. He's such a generous man to give us a share after selling the company," she added.
Former employees have also not been forgotten.
Annie Chiew, 49, had been a cashier at Crystal Jade for 15 years until her resignation last month. She was given what amounted to around two months' worth of salary for her past contributions.
"I'm very thankful to Mr Ip. Though I didn't have a chance to talk to him, he was all smiles when he handed me the cheque and even reminded me to check if everything was correct," said Madam Chiew.
"I'm really lucky to have had him as my boss."
About 90 per cent of the Crystal Jade Group was bought by L Capital Asia, the private equity arm of Paris-based luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, for an estimated US$100 million.
Mr Ip stayed on as chief executive for a year and now remains as an adviser and brand ambassador for the company, which comprises 120 restaurants, including 47 here, with about 4,500 full-time staff across the world.
He is not the first businessman in recent months to share his profits with his employees.
Last month, the CEO of Turkish food delivery company Yemeksepeti paid out US$27 million to 114 employees after selling the firm for US$589 million, according to CNNMoney.
The average payout was roughly 150 times the employees' monthly wage.
And in March, an American businessman reportedly gave US$5.75 million to his 570 employees in a surprise payout after selling two of his companies.
The bonuses ranged from US$500 to new employees to more than US$50,000 for the longer-serving staff.