Passersby stunned as restaurant contents emptied into Montreal street

Booze and other hot-ticket items were long gone from the failed Eggspectation franchise by sunrise. People started snatching things overnight after bailiffs arrived the night before to clear out the restaurant of its entire contents.

The Canadian Press
December 12, 2008

Passersby stunned as restaurant contents emptied into Montreal street
The Canadian Press

Tables weren't hard to find at a popular Old Montreal restaurant on Thursday. They — and the rest of the eatery's contents — were all out on the sidewalk, spilling into the road, where passersby grabbed whatever they could carry.

Booze and other hot-ticket items were long gone from the failed Eggspectation franchise by sunrise. People started snatching things overnight after bailiffs arrived the night before to clear out the restaurant of its entire contents.

"Legally, we asked the operator to come and pick up his equipment because it belongs to him," said Enzo Renda, the chief executive of Eggspectation Canada Inc., the Montreal-based restaurant chain that franchised the outlet. "He refused and he said he didn't care."

People who saw the discarded restaurant contents alerted their friends. A bicycle courier rooted through a discarded locker and gleefully snatched a bag of quarters, presumably from tips.

Police didn't arrive until early morning Thursday, first in one car and then in two more later in the day. Officers strung bright red tape around the mess of equipment, food, documents and furnishings — including the kitchen sink — which stretched almost half a block on one side of the street.

Sanitation enforcement officers — the city's garbage cops — also arrived to take pictures, write tickets and gaze with raised eyebrows at the pile.

Company and franchisee at odds
Renda said things just boiled over between the company and franchisee after a simmering dispute.

He said the chain had been having difficulties with the franchisee over royalties and "unacceptable" operation practices, including poor service, a lack of cleanliness and insufficient staff training.

So the company got a court order earlier this year, asking for legal assistance to force the franchisee to fall into line, he said.

Eggspectations won its case nearly two months ago, with the franchise operator ordered to pay royalties, and fulfil employee training requirements.

"It was either that or another three years in court and we didn't have an option, to tell you the truth," Renda said in an interview with Canadian Press. "We're repossessing the actual location and we're going to reopen within the next few weeks," he added.

Renda said he also plans to rehire the restaurant employees who found themselves out on the street when they came to work.

A kitchen cook who wouldn't give his name said he was happy with the operator of the restaurant, whom he described as "a good boss."

The employee, who had shown up for work as usual, looked stunned when he saw the mess outside the restaurant.

Free-for-all jams traffic on street
Police shooed people away when they tried to grab stuff, tooting their siren and yelling over the squad car's public address system to put things back.

Traffic was down to one lane at the busy corner and big trucks had to inch past the trash.

TV crews also descended and some of the most surprised passersby were the crew members of a garbage truck making their routine pickup.

They looked at the debris from the restaurant, shook their heads, and just picked up the trash left by their usual clients.


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Bailiff throws equipment and supplies in street, Lease controlled by franchisor, Eviction cheaper and faster than termination, Termination of franchisee, single, Dissent, Canada, 20081212 Passersby stunned

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License