Mumbai: Bandra KFC outlet forcibly closed over non-payment of Rs 39.07 cr loan

Mumbai: Bandra KFC outlet forcibly closed over non-payment of Rs 39.07 cr loan

KFC Bandra
The outlet has been shut since mid-February. Pics/Shadab Khan

A central landmark of Linking Road, the KFC in Bandra has gone from the fire into the frying pan — it has been forced to keep its shutter down since mid-February after the person who had leased out part of the premises to the fast food chain restaurant came on State Bank of India’s defaulter list. The ground-plus-two outlet, which opened in 2007, has two rentors — Ashok Bhatia, who owns the ground and first floors, and Bashirali Keswani, who owns the second floor. According to Bhatia, Keswani, who has rented out one of the two galas on the second floor to KFC, had mortgaged the property as a guarantee against a loan taken by his friend. “When the friend defaulted on payment of Rs 39.07 crore to the SBI, the bank turned towards the guarantor to recover the dues. On February 15, officials sealed the two galas on the second floor,” said Bhatia.

As per SBI’s possession notice, a copy of which is with mid-day, the guarantor has been given 60 days to repay the loan.

Lost business
The 40-odd staffers, who have been accommodated at the chain’s other outlets for the time being, said the kitchen of the Bandra joint is on the second floor, which is currently sealed, hampering operation. They expressed the hope of the matter being sorted out soon.

Bhatia added that if the matter doesn’t get resolved within the stipulated period, they will make some logistical changes and reopen within a couple of weeks without using the second floor.

Hawkers and shop owners in the vicinity said the outlet was quite popular and would see a steady stream of customers throughout the day. But now, for the last two months, people have been making a beeline for other eateries in the area.

Fingers crossed
A regular at KFC said, “It used to be fun to shop at Linking Road and then crash at KFC for some burgers. But for the last couple of months, shopping has lost its zing without the fast food joint.”

Bashirali told mid-day, “My friend has repaid some money to the bank and asked officials to give him some more time to repay the rest. I am hoping that the matter will get resolved within two weeks, and the KFC outlet can start business again.”

Rs 39.07 cr: The loan amount at the centre of the KFC saga
Rs 90,000: Approximate revenue loss per day to the franchisee