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South Beach Burger & Beer Joint Loses Franchise After Gay Bar Opens Upstairs

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The name is covered up on the sign out front and on most of the Windows.

It was called Burger & Beer Joint in South Beach. Now there is no name; it was yanked by the B&B Franchise Group after they sent a letter saying the restaurant was in breach of the franchise agreement.

“We don’t know if they’re homophobic, but the impact of the letter is certainly discriminatory to the gay community,” said Leon Hirzel, the attorney for the restaurant owners.

The dispute began when the owners of the restaurant decided to open a club upstairs. It’s a gay bar called, The Mix.

B&B said gay bar, straight bar, it doesn’t matter. It’s against the franchise agreement.

“The Burger & Beer Joint in South Beach was terminated under the terms of the franchise agreement for failure to get approval, prior approval of an unauthorized second business on franchise premises,” said Charles Forlidas, an attorney representing B&B.

The attorney for the owners of the South Beach location say the franchise group was well aware of what was going in, that it was discussed ahead of time, but never put in writing.  They call this an anti-gay move.

“They claim the use of the gay night club on the second story of the premises would be substantially injurious to the B&B brand,” said Hirzel.  “We’re in 2017 and we found that to be offensive.”

In a letter B&B specifically mentioned a promotion touting the club as “South Beach’s New Gay Hotspot” and went on to quote the name of the entertainment, which includes a variation of a word some would find offensive.

“It has nothing to do with the nature of the bar that its operating,” insists Forlidas.  “B&B is a long time citizen of the South Beach community and welcomes all LGBT people and the whole community.”

This is not the first time the restaurant owners and B&B have butted heads.

The company has already yanked two franchises from owners of the South Beach location for different reasons, one at the Dolphin Mall another in West Palm Beach.

The owners of the South Beach location still have ownership in two other Burger & Beer Joints, one at Mary Brickell Village and another in Puerto Rico.

 

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