KFC operator claims Galway landlord has failed to maintain drive-through

Commercial Court judge approves directions for hearing of case and adjourns until March

The operator of the KFC restaurant franchise is suing one of its landlords, claiming there has been a failure to maintain and repair its drive-through premises in Galway city, the Commercial Court has heard.

MBCC Foods (Ireland) Ltd, which operates 11 KFC restaurants, as well as Costa Coffee and Pizza Hut outlets, is suing Nun’s Island Ltd, the St Hellier, Jersey-based landlord of the premises at Briarhill Shopping Centre, Ballybrit.

Nun’s Island denies MBCC’s claims.

The case was entered into the Commercial Court on Monday by Mr Justice Denis McDonald on the application of Rossa Fanning SC, for the defendant.

Mr Fanning said the dispute began in 2020 during the pandemic when MBCC began withholding rent. The action for breach of covenant of the lease has “no substance”, said Mr Fanning.

Jonathan Fitzgerald BL, for MBCC, said the entry application was on consent.

In its statement of claim, MBCC says, among other things, that the defendant has failed to carry out repairs and maintenance, apart from what it says were some minor repairs and repainting.

Extensive staining

Among the issues that were not addressed, it says, were extensive staining, lichen and moss growth to a concrete roof beam to the first-floor terrace of the building and extensive fungal and other vegetative growth in the joints of the external stone cladding of the building.

It also claims there is loose stonework to the external cladding, which is both unsightly and potentially dangerous. There is also evidence of moisture ingress to the heads and reveals of the fire escape doors and bin store/service area door, it says.

The presence of these and other dilapidations continue to cause the building and its surrounding area to appear unsightly and unclean, it claims.

It also says that as the only KFC in Galway city, it should have generated sales that were at least in line with, if not better than, its outlets in Little Island, Cork; and in Carlow.

As a result, it is claiming €1.27 million against the defendant for loss of profits, which were quantified in May 2021. The figures took account of the fact the business was closed for 2½ months in 2020 due to national lockdown restrictions, it says.

Mr Justice McDonald approved directions for the hearing of the case and adjourned it to March.