Soup Restaurant and Dian Xiao Er in a spat over a sublet

Restaurant chains Soup Restaurant and Dian Xiao Er are fighting in court again. The current fight is over 69 sqm of shop space - a part of the Soup Restaurant premises at the VivoCity mall that it had sublet to its next-door neighbour, herbal roast d
Restaurant chains Soup Restaurant and Dian Xiao Er are fighting in court again. The current fight is over 69 sqm of shop space - a part of the Soup Restaurant premises at the VivoCity mall that it had sublet to its next-door neighbour, herbal roast duck chain Dian Xiao Er. -- PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES 

SINGAPORE - Restaurant chains Soup Restaurant and Dian Xiao Er are fighting in court again, following a legal battle in 2012 which ended with the two previously related businesses going their separate ways.

The current fight is over 69 sqm of shop space - a part of the Soup Restaurant premises at the VivoCity mall that it had sublet to its next-door neighbour, herbal roast duck chain Dian Xiao Er.

The two restaurants leased their premises separately from the landlord, which was VivoCity. However, in 2009, Dian Xiao Er wanted to expand its dining area and kitchen and asked for additional space from Soup Restaurant, which agreed to sublet a part of its premises.

Now, Soup Restaurant, which is known for its samsui ginger chicken, alleges that Dian Xiao Er remained unlawfully on the premises for two years as it refused to move out when the sub-lease came to an end in October 2012.

But Dian Xiao Er contends that it was entitled to occupy the space as the sublease was automatically renewed for another three years after its expiry. However, it handed back the space to Soup Restaurant on Oct 1.

A four-day trial started in the High Court on Tuesday to determine whether Dian Xiao Er's parent company, YES F&B, is liable to pay damages to the Soup Restaurant Group for unlawful possession.

The case hinges on the intepretation of the sublease agreement, as to whether it came to an end as claimed by Soup Restaurant or was automatically renewed as claimed by Dian Xiao Er.

selinal@sph.com.sg