An investment company has filed a lawsuit in Texas federal court against Burger King Europe GmbH, accusing the fast-food giant of interfering with a contract.
Chrisian Groenke, the sole shareholder of Strategic Global Investment Capital, Inc., claims that Burger King interfered with Groenke’s contract to sell his shares of German Burger King outlets to a joint venture that already owned 91 other outlets. Groenke claims that he attempted to exit the market after many of Burger King Europe’s own restaurants became insolvent.
The complaint alleges that Burger King Europe suggested that Groenke sell to the joint venture that was the largest Burger King franchisee in Europe, but that the company then interfered with the contract. After Groenke entered into a contract to sell his interests in the Burger King market in Europe, the company took the position that the sale could not proceed.
According to the lawsuit, the company “implicitly threatened” to terminate Goenke’s franchise agreements if he proceeded with the sale.
Burger King Europe has also filed suit against Groenke in Texas federal court, claiming that he owes more than $650,000 in franchise fees.
Groenke’s lawsuit accuses the company of tortious interference with an existing contract and tortious interference with a prospective contract, and it seeks a declaration from the court interpreting the franchise agreements for the restaurants Groenke owned.