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Supermac's franchise dispute over 'antiquated' and 'dated' Limerick restaurant

The dispute arises out of who is to update the Ennis Road outlet.

A Supermacs outlet. (File photo)
A Supermacs outlet. (File photo)
Image: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

SUPERMAC’S HAS LAUNCHED a legal bid to prevent a Munster-based franchise holder from carrying out restoration works on a Limerick restaurant which has become “antiquated” and “a bit dated”.

John Lyons operates the Supermac’s restaurant on Ennis Road in Limerick as well as another outlet at O’Connell Street in Limerick. Lyons previously also had an interest in two other Supermac’s outlets in Cork and Clare.

The High Court heard today that Lyons and his wife Mary have a “long association” with Supermac’s CEO Pat McDonagh but that in recent times this had given way to a “degree of attrition between the parties” due to disputes over both lease and franchise agreements. 

Counsel for Lyons Andrew Sexton SC argued today that McDonagh and Lyons had an oral agreement relating to the Ennis Road restaurant and that the pair had “got along well for years”.

Barrister Rossa Fanning SC, acting for Supermac’s, argued that a franchise agreement has been adhered to by Lyons since the year 2000 and that a similar written agreement has been in operation in relation to the O’Connell Street restaurant.

Fanning argued that, under the terms of the franchise agreement, Supermac’s is to carry out the restoration works and that the cost is charged back through an increased franchise fee.

He told the court that the franchise fee amounted to a royalty of 7% of net sales, increasing to 10% to cover the cost of the restoration works.

Fanning argued that operating in this way is “very important” to maintain the livery and standards of the Supermac’s brand. 

The court heard that each side is blaming each other for “allowing the restaurant to fall into disrepair”.

Sexton said in reply that his clients were “more than happy to enhance the Supermac’s brand” and argued that “apart from McDonagh, are perhaps best placed to promote the Supermac’s brand”.

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Sexton said that the cost of the refurbishment would run into the “hundreds of thousands” but that some of the works are “very immediate” and involve the replacement of non-branded items such as tills and fryer machines.

He also argued that Lyons other Supermac’s restaurant in Limerick was “equipped and fitted out himself”.

“Mr and Mrs Lyons want to get it from its present antiquated stage into a modern efficient upgraded premises,” Sexton said.

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Rónán Duffy

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