Former face of Grill’d facing bankruptcy
The former face of the Grill'd burger chain brand and former franchisee of the year says he is absolutely devastated to be facing the prospect of bankruptcy.
Major food distributor Pfd Food Services Pty (PFD), from Knoxville, east of Melbourne, filed a creditor's petition in the Federal Circuit Court on December 14 which states that South African-born Elton Berrange, 41, from Bardon, committed an act of bankruptcy when he failed to pay a $154,471 bill relating to food supplied to two Grill'd restaurants in 2018.
Speaking from his holiday in Tasmania yesterday, Mr Berrange told The Courier-Mail he was "absolutely devastated" by the prospect of bankruptcy and he would do everything he could to avoid it but he felt he had "nothing left" to fight this with.
"If they push me into bankruptcy then nobody wins," he said.
"It was never my intention to not pay my creditors.
"No decent person goes into business wanting to leave creditors out of pocket.
"I completely understand PFD's position, I have had amicable discussions with the owner."
Mr Berrange said he was also fighting his former landlord, Westfield managers Scentre, in the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal over claims his lease renewal was mismanaged and he alleges Scentre failed to tell him it would build 30 restaurants at a new outdoor dining precinct.
When the outdoor food district opened with 30 restaurants in 2017 sales at Mr Berrange's Grill'd outlet slipped about 70 per cent, the tribunal has heard
The QCAT case has been delayed by the pandemic, Mr Berrange said outside court.
PFD alleges in court documents that Mr Berrange was served with a bankruptcy notice on
May 15 and failed to comply with it before November 15, or to challenge the notice in court.
PFD alleges that Mr Berrange, and his business partner and stepfather Stephen Edward Bernstein, 62, from Carrara, had a judgment entered against them in the Victorian County Court for $154,471 on March 26.
PFD is also applying to bankrupt Mr Bernstein.
Together the pair own Gulp! Catering Solutions Pty Ltd which owned the Grill'd burger outlets in Westfield Chermside and in Toowong until their franchises were terminated in 2018 and Grill'd converted them to company-owned stores.
Mr Berrange's Chermside store was the chain's top performing store nationwide in 2014 with gross sales of $4.1m, and he was chosen as host for the Grill'd annual conference.
The bankruptcy case is due in the Federal Circuit Court on February 3.
Originally published as Former face of Grill'd facing bankruptcy