Cape Town - A former senior Spur employee will appeal against a Labour Court decision after he was interdicted and restrained from soliciting business for his new employer and direct industry competitor, the Bossa Group.
The Cape Town Labour Court recently handed down the judgment against Rudolph Montgomery who was a development manager at the Spur Group, chiefly responsible for the applicant’s Panarottis Pizza Pasta and Casa Bella brands.
Montgomery resigned from the eatery group in May last year – having worked for the family restaurant business since 2012.
The restraint and interdict is valid until May 31, 2024.
Montgomery’s legal representative, Jesse Barrington-Smith from De Waal Boshoff Attorneys, said they would appeal against the decision.
“We are in the process of taking instructions in this regard.
“I can therefore not provide further comments at this stage,” said Barrington-Smith.
According to Spur, Montgomery’s acceptance of employment with Bossa Café, posed a threat to the competitive industry of “casual dining/family restaurant” market as he was familiar with the brands “trade connections and trade secrets” and because his new employer was aiming to “aggressively expand its franchise operations”.
Court documents read: “Spur’s development teams are engaged in constantly identifying prospective new sites for restaurants throughout the country.
“Spur’s development teams support existing franchisees on an ongoing basis by assisting in site refurbishments and relocations.
“In his capacity as development manager for Panarottis and Casa Bella brands since 2012, (Montgomery) was involved in every aspect of the applicant’s business development process, including managing and leading development projects, developing feasibility studies, franchisee recruitment, assessment and approval and negotiating with landlords on leases.”
Montgomery argued that while it was undeniable that he had access to company information relating to business plans; franchise applications, cash flows, rental negotiation, correspondence, landlord rental spreadsheets, leases and lease schedules, and potential sites for new (or relocating stores), his skills were his own which he developed and carried in his head.
“My competence and experience in the industry has given me a feel for where and how to set up a specific restaurant – this is more a skill that I have developed and carry in my head than a discrete piece of knowledge I have purloined from the applicant’s cabinet of trade secrets, or its one central database, as it alleges.
“This ability, however, has a value without reference to any of the applicant’s so-called secrets. It is an ability to strategically apply general technical knowledge and experience to the advantage of any employer such as Bossa and, as stated, does not belong to the applicant,” Montgomery submitted.
Spur Group spokesperson, Moshe Apleni, said they had no comment on the matter at this stage.