World of Beer Files Suit Saying Former Franchisee Violated Terms of Agreement

Florida-based World of Beer is suing Evan Matz, the former local franchisee who rebranded his restaurants earlier this month, saying he violated terms of the franchise agreement.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that World of Beer alleges Matz in 2016 “refused to use the services, supplies, ingredients, food and beverage products required by WOBF under the franchise agreements” for his three locations, including at 1888 Explorer St. in Reston Town Center. Matz is now operating his three restaurants — the others are in Fairfax and Ballston — under the name Crafthouse.

In the suit, World of Beer says it sent Matz a formal notice in January telling him he was in default of the franchise agreement. At that time, records show, Matz brought up the fact that World of Beer had opened a restaurant at One Loudoun in March 2016 that was hurting his business in Reston.

“World of Beer Franchise gave permission for the WOB Ashburn to open just eight miles from WOB Reston which WOBF knew that this would cause harm/cannibalization to WOB Reston,” Matz’s told the company in a letter, the TBBJ reports. “This is still an ongoing issue and our number dropped 15 percent to 20 percent because of WOB Ashburn opening.”

The franchise agreement was terminated in February.

According to the suit, World of Beer says it “never consented to Matz’s proposal to rebrand and that it never reached an agreement to amend his post-termination obligations under the franchise agreement.” It is seeking, the TBBJ reports, “an order blocking Matz and Crafthouse from using WOBF marks and logos, using its confidential information, recruiting WOBF employee[s], diverting WOBF customers or engaging in any competitive business from operating in non-compete areas.”

The suit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court’s Middle District of Florida.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports World of Beer filed a similar suit earlier this year against a restaurant there that recently left the franchise and rebranded.

Matz told the Washington Business Journal last week that his decision to leave the W0B franchise was due to the fact that he had been “‘butting heads’ with the company’s corporate office over ‘operational differences.'”

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