Aunty Lucy's, which grew in a matter of weeks from a pop-up burger shop to a hugely successful staple known for its In-N-Out-style eats, is being forced out of its current space due to what it says is an untenable rent increase.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, the restaurant says it was given only a week to transition out of its Parkdale location at Brock and Queen, the home of Duggan's Brewery (and formerly Vegandale Brewery) — a timeline which was suddenly crunched down to only one day.
July 1 will now be Aunty Lucy's unexpected last day of service until it finds another kitchen to operate out of.
Hi all! It pains us to say this but the establishment we rented the kitchen of and are operating out of at 1346 Queen St W. has hit us with an extremely unmanageable rent increase of 10x from our previous agreement his reasoning being he didn’t expect us to do as well and now wants more money. We tried to meet the gentleman at a reasonable price point after speaking to my advisors, and other business owners and mentors and they all gave me the same advice that the new price he was asking for is greedy and unacceptable. Even after we expressed that he still didn’t want to budge which is fine. He then told us we could take a week to transition out of the space as we find another temporary location for July, August, and potentially September at which point we hope to have found a permanent location. I was okay with this one week period to transition out and had no issues with it. Then I woke up this morning to a text that read; we had to stop business after close tomorrow ?! Which was a 360 from the slow transition and week move out that he gave us initially. He himself said he didn’t want to cut our legs out from under us and then proceeded to do just that. I say all that to say we will be open tomorrow for Canada day, and then are currently looking into our options to hopefully insure that there is no cut off in our service. Myself and the team will keep you updated, thank you all! ✨🙏🏿 #auntylucysburgers
According to the post, Aunty Lucy's alleges that Duggan's is asking for what they're calling an "extremely unmanageable rent increase" that is a staggering 10 times more than the original contract agreement they made in May for the kitchen space, which was going unused.
The post also states that the Aunty's Lucy's team believes the brewery's owner asked for more rent because of how popular their burgers have become in such a short amount of time: "he didn’t expect us to do as well and now wants more money," it reads.
"We tried to meet the gentleman at a reasonable price point after speaking to advisors and other business owners and mentors, they all gave the same advice that the new price he was asking for is greedy and unacceptable."
Aunty Lucy's proprietor Chieff Bosompra says that he offered a number of solutions for the two to work together and come to a compromise, including doing social media and marketing work for Duggan's free of charge, running events and specials to help promote Duggan's beers, and paying a more moderately increased rent to cover utility costs.
But Bosompra says Duggan's refused.
"His reasoning for it was basically 'you guys are making a lot of money, so I feel like I should get some,'" Bosompra says. "We now have basically one day to sell as much as we can, and then we need to figure out what to do and where to pivot so that we can still continue business and keep our momentum going."
The restaurant was planning to remain in its current spot until September, by which point it was hoping to find a permanent home that it would eventually expand out of to have a location in both the east and west ends of the city.
It is actively seeking a new ghost kitchen to work out of temporarily so that it can get up and running again.
Duggan's was unavailable to be reached for comment.
by Becky Robertson via blogTO