Popular Toronto chicken restaurant shut down by landlord due to non-payment of rent
A popular fast-casual chain known for its peri-peri chicken has been booted from one of its largest Toronto locations amid the pandemic-mandated closure period of non-essential businesses.
The Nando's at 671 Danforth Avenue, just steps from Pape Station, is currently shut down to the point where it can't even continue takeout service after having its space re-possessed by the building's landlord.
"The landlord has re-entered these premises and changed the locks to deny access due to your failure to pay rent," reads one of several notices posted to the business's front door this week.
"Any entry into these premises must be by permission by the landlord or his agent," continues the letter, dated April 19. "Arrangements to remove your goods and chattels must be made with the landlord."
A separate document posted to the front door of the chain, which is headquartered in South Africa, states that Nando's Peri Peri Canada Inc. owes $23,154.30 in back rent and operating costs on its Danforth location.
"We are writing to advise that as of today's date, rent for the month of April 2020 remains outstanding," reads that document, signed by Spectrum Property Management and dated April 13.
"As per the covenants contained in the Lease Agreement dated December 18, 2015… the landlord has had no alternative but to invoke its remedies under the Lease Agreement."
Some in Ontario would disagree with the "no alternative" part of that statement.
"Nando's Peri Peri restaurant at Pape and Danforth taken by landlord. Another business closes," tweeted Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns on Wednesday of the situation. "[Doug Ford] needs to step up — a 4 month moratorium on commercial evictions and rent subsidy grants, not loans."
Tabuns similarly broke the news last week that popular Toronto tiki bar The Shore Leave had been evicted for failing to pay rent, writing that "this could have been avoided."
He and others have been calling upon Ontario's provincial government to step up and protect struggling local businesses, many of which have now been forced to stay closed for more than a month under strict emergency orders.
The federal government's Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) packages, helpful as they may be, simply won't be enough to save many in a city like Toronto where commercial rents are soaring.
Nando's Canada sent the following statement by email when asked about their Danforth location.
"We're grilling a little differently during COVID-19 and made the difficult decision to close some of our restaurants temporarily, including Nando's Danforth (671 Danforth Ave., Toronto). Like many restaurants in Canada, we are currently in negotiations with our landlords during this difficult time. In the meantime, Nando's continues to safely provide delicious PERi-PERi flame-grilled chicken and sides online for pick-up, or delivery through DoorDash and SkiptheDishes. Please visit the Nando's at 832 Bay Street or 741 Queen Street West, or check the "Find a Nando's" page on our website for locations open near you."
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