Hungry Jack’s founder Jack Cowin called for a struggling Wangaratta franchise run by single woman Toni Collins to be “fixed” in an October 2009 email to the company’s then CEO, reports The Age.
The County Court has heard that Mr Cowin was aware that Ms Collins was an inappropriate candidate to run the restaurant, urging former CEO Tim Tighe to “clean this up”. He also expressed concern that Ms Collins would cause “considerable damage” if she were to be fired, “especially when she gets the news there will be no compensation paid.”
Hungry Jack’s is suing Ms Collins for the unsuccessful franchise for more than $720,000 and Ms Collins is seeking more than $350,000 in a counter claim.
Ms Collins’ lawyer, Dan Christie, alleged that company’s eagerness to open a restaurant in the Victorian town meant they appointed a franchisee who lacked the required training and was only the “reserve candidate” to run the store.
Additionally, Mr Christie told the court that the restaurant had major defects, citing a broken broiler and soft-serve machine and an excessively narrow drive-through lane.
Mr Christie said that while a store manager was sent to assist Ms Collins, the manager was demeaning to staff, over-ordered perishable goods and rostered too many workers onto each shift.
Another email shared with the court reveals that a company executive wrote to a colleague conceding that the chain had chosen the expedient option when hiring Ms Collins, rather than taking the time to find a more appropriate franchisee.
Hungry Jack’s side of the case is yet to be presented in court.