By Luke Voogt
The future of Geelong’s Waterfront Kitchen is in doubt with operator Truffleduck set to cancel its lease of the venue on 31 August.
The Indy has seen an email from Truffleduck owner Hugh Palmer and general manager Deb Nash stating their intent to “relinquish” involvement with the cafe.
“Exciting things are happening at Truffleduck” the email to staff begins, before looking back on 30 years of operating their Geelong catering business.
But later the email advises staff that the operators planned not to renew a lease of the venue that began in 2013.
Truffleduck’s managers had met with Deakin to advise they would relinquish their involvement with the cafe and associated in-house catering, the email stated.
“The outcome of these discussions is that we will transition ownership of the cafe lease to a new provider in three months’ time with an nominal handover on 31 August.”
The move would help Truffleduck “maintain our commitment to Deakin” and to ensure it could “deliver at a level required by the organisers of their major events”, the email said.
“The most important aspect of this decision is the continued employment of everyone involved and this is something we will be focusing on from now.
“We are fortunate that Truffleduck has a fabulous reputation and this ensures that there are always jobs which allows us a great capacity to accept work based on the availability of staff.
“This along with the developments that are happening in other areas of the business means that we are sure there will be other great opportunities for anyone interested.“
The Indy contacted Mr Palmer who declined to comment while “contract negotiations are being pursued”.
Deakin University confirmed Truffleduck had elected not to renew its lease but declined to rule out potential job losses.
“Deakin will continue to operate the Waterfront Campus cafe with a new provider, which we will announce in due course,” a spokesperson said.