A disgruntled former Coffee Club franchisee is seeking over $1m in damages from the chain, claiming he was the victim of misleading and deceptive conduct.
A disgruntled former Coffee Club franchisee is seeking over $1m in damages from the chain, claiming he was the victim of misleading and deceptive conduct.

Coffee Club franchisee’s $1m claim hits court

MEET YOU IN COURT

THE battle between Coffee Club and a disgruntled former franchisee has hit the courts, and our spies tell us it won't be the last litigation against the chain this year.

Jeremy Swift, who had operated the popular outlet at Robina Town Centre for 15 years, walked away from the business last year claiming high rents, refurbishment costs and other imposts had left him with nothing.

Mr Swift's company Swift Australasian is now suing The Coffee Club Franchising Company in the Federal Court for breach of the Franchising Code along with misleading and deceptive conduct. Coffee Club Franchising has lodged a defence and cross claim to the action.

A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday before Justice Roger Derrington who has given the parties until April to finalise their pleadings. For anyone familiar with the nose-bleeding expense of civil litigation, Justice Derrington had a warning about a potential legal cost blow out with the danger it could end up being more than the damages the parties are seeking.

Former Coffee Club franchisee Jeremy Swift and wife Sharon.
Former Coffee Club franchisee Jeremy Swift and wife Sharon.

Offering a cost capping order to the parties, he told the court he was concerned about the general expense of civil litigation. "It comes as a shock to some people when they get to the end of a matter and have to pay (costs)," Justice Derrington said.

Fair warning but City Beat hears that Swift is not the only former franchisee wanting their day in court over alleged mistreatment at the hands of Coffee Club. It could not have come at worst time for Nick Bryden, chief executive of Minor DKL - the owner of the Coffee Club brand. Bryden is planning a relaunch of the three decade old brand this month with new store colours and revised menus ahead of launching a modernised logo. Coffee Club has denied acting in a misleading and deceptive manner and will defend the action.

TOP DROP

QUEENSLANDERS always knew it was the best but XXXX has now come in at number 24 in Australia's top 100 most valuable brands. It is the only beer brand to feature in the list and is also the most valuable drinks brand overall - beating Wolf Blass and Penfolds among others. XXXX Brand Director Amy Darvill says the accolade goes to show how iconic XXXX is not just in Queensland but across the country.

Veteran XXXX beer salesman Peter Kirkwood who has for 40 years been selling the iconic amber ale. (Photo AAP/Megan Slade)
Veteran XXXX beer salesman Peter Kirkwood who has for 40 years been selling the iconic amber ale. (Photo AAP/Megan Slade)

GOOD NEWS

KUDOS to the Brisbane executives braving the rain this week to hawk the Big Issue as part of the magazine's annual CEO Selling event.

Among those hitting the streets in the Brisbane CBD are Clayton Utz partner Scott Sharry, Technology One chief executive Ed Chung, BHP asset president James Palmer, Ashurst office managing partner Gabrielle Forbes and Corrs Chambers Westgarth office managing partner Helen Clark. CEO Selling is part of International Vendor Week, an annual celebration of 9000 street paper vendors in 35 countries around the world.

GOING FOR BROKE

CONGRATULATIONS to Taigum mortgage broker Brian Lowe who has been named one of Australia's leading young brokers under 35 in the annual Mortgage Professional Australia Young Gun Awards 2020.

Lowe, 31, who started working with Aussie at Taigum in March 2018, was responsible for new loans totalling $22.5 million from October 2018 to September last year.

During this time, he wrote an average of $1.8 million new loans per month compared with an industry average of $860,000 per month. To be eligible for the award, a broker must be under 35 and have written more than $15 million in loans over the previous year.


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