Japanese burger chain wins legal stoush with landlord over Covid pandemic rent reduction

I am quite a fan of MOS burgers so I am pleased that they had a win. Making their landlord pay for losses caused by government policy is regrettable, though. Compensation should have come from the government

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A Japanese-themed burger chain with three outlets in Queensland has won a legal stoush with its Brisbane city landlord over a bid to pay half-rent during the toughest six months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The dispute between MOS Burger Australia Pty Ltd and its landlord in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal revealed the extent of its massive sales slump at its store at 79 Adelaide St in Brisbane’s CBD.

In April 2020, sales slumped 92 per cent compared to the previous year, to $12,091, the court heard.

The next month sales were zero and in June they fell 93 per cent compared to the 2019 figure to just $10,217, the tribunal heard.

MOS applied to the tribunal to get rent relief from landlords Telado Pty Ltd and G & J Drivas Pty Ltd because the sales of the CBD store slumped in the six months to September 2020.

They claimed relief under state laws passed in 2020 aimed at helping struggling small businesses during the pandemic.

The three members of the tribunal ruled they were satisfied that Mos Burger met the requirement of being a small business during the pandemic.

The tribunal ruled that MOS was entitled to pay 50 per cent of its rent for each month between April and September 2020.

It ruled that MOS should be able to waive payment of $106,043 in rent due to the pandemic, so it was allowed to pay $185,953 in rent instead of the usual rent of $291,966.

The landlords, Telado and G & J Drivas, unsuccessfully argued that MOS was 40 per cent owned by two large Taiwan-stockmarket listed companies so should not be considered a small business.

MOS is part-owned by An-Shin Food Services Ltd, listed on the Taiwanese stock exchange and Teco Australia Pty Ltd whose board members include the chairman of Teco Electric & Machinery Co Ltd, a company also listed on the Taiwanese stock exchange.

For 2020, An-Shin had revenue of $US187m ($$250m) and Teco had revenue of $US74m ($$99).

There are still three other MOS stores open in Queensland – in Sunnybank, Westfield Mt Gravatt and at Australia Fair on the Gold Coast – which sell Wagyu beef burgers as well as katsu and karaage chicken burgers, or burgers with lettuce instead of a bread bun.

The chain opened its first Australian store in 2011.



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