Local burger joint closed due to rental renewal, owners ‘heartbroken’ in Brampton

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Published June 3, 2024 at 11:34 am

The WORKS burgers closed Brampton

A much-loved burger spot has closed up shop after more than a decade in Brampton and is the latest Ontario restaurant to close amid rising rents and operating costs.

First opening in Brampton in 2013, The WORKS Craft Burger & Beer is a Canadian burger restaurant chain known for gourmet burger creations and some off-the-wall combinations, like the Double Stuff’d Reese PBC made with Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

The Brampton location has been open for over a decade but quietly closed up shop last week, with listings online showing the downtown location on Queen Street is now “permanently closed.”

Franchise owner Sham Brar tells Insauga.com that the restaurant’s landlord didn’t renew The WORKS’ lease and the franchise was given “very short notice” about the change.

“I’m very heartbroken as we (have) been at the site for 11 years,” he said.

RELATED: Restaurants that have closed in Mississauga, Brampton, Halton and Niagara

Data from Restaurants Canada showed that in the first five months of 2023, 62 per cent of establishments were operating at a loss or barely breaking even and bankruptcies in the industry rose some 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.

Ontario’s Commercial Tenancies Act doesn’t set a maximum rental increase for commercial properties in the same way residential rentals are regulated, leading some Toronto-area restaurants to report rental increases between 20 and 35 per cent in recent years.

Commercial landlords can raise the rent at the end of a tenancy, and if there is no tenancy agreement, the owner can set the new rate.

Many restaurants and business owners are also struggling to pay back funds loaned during the pandemic through the Canada Emergency Business Account program. The deadline for repayment was moved up twice to January 2024, and any businesses who haven’t paid by December 31, 2026 won’t qualify for $10,000 to $20,000 in loan forgiveness.

Restaurants Canada also says rising food costs and inflation are also impacting restaurant profits.

And while the demand for in-person dining has improved over the last year, Canadian restaurants only saw a 10 per cent increase in seated diners last month even as patios began to open.

The WORKS still has a location in Mississauga, but Kitchener also saw a closure of the chain in 2018.

The craft beer and burger joint features chef’s creations like the Chicken Fight Club and Gettin’ Piggy With It, along with more traditional burgers and sandwiches with plenty of craft beer and beverage choices to pair with.

Other recent Brampton closures include Che Thuy Nga and Thai Pepper.

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