Sausage dogfight after food fallout

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THEY'RE calling it the battle of the bangers.

On one side, a popular diner whose owner says he returned from abroad to find caretaker bosses had made off with his shopfront.

On the other, the caretaker managers who say they saved the business, but trademarked its name, left, and opened their own restaurant.

And it looks like this town will just have to be big enough for both of them – especially as they're only three doors from each other.

Former Monster Mash Cafe owner Terry Lundholm set up his specialist sausage and mash diner in the city centre in 2003 and handed over the business to his friends, who run a management firm, in 2007.

He left for Singapore to open another Monster Mash, and look after his frail father at the same time.

However, he said he received a call from the management last month to say that they were leaving the Forrest Road site, taking the trading name, and setting up their own diner.

Mr Lundholm left his wife Joanne and two daughters in the Asian city-state, and returned to Edinburgh to find Andrew Cameron and his team had set up a shop next door called Monster Mash.

Now the 47-year-old has pledged to build a new business, called Mum's, on the original Monster Mash site and using the same design, making Forrest Road home to two almost identical specialist sausage diners.

Mr Lundholm, who was previously a launch manager for Hard Rock Cafe, said: "When I set up Monster Mash my lawyer told me I didn't need to trademark the business because firms are protected in the UK by something called Passing Off.

"Burger King have never trademarked their name in the UK, and I did the same.

"I came back on 20 May to find the cafe was an empty shell. It wouldn't have been as bad if they had moved to the other side of town, but I came back and found them next door."

Mr Cameron, who previously ran Mr Lundholm's business, said he and his partners saved Monster Mash after it went into administration while Mr Lundholm was in Singapore.

He said they had been given the responsibility of operating Monster Mash, trademarked it to protect the brand, and left Mr Lundholm with the site on Forrest Road when they moved.

He said: "Retro Restaurants Ltd stepped in and saved the sole remaining Monster Mash unit at 4a and ran this successfully for two years by agreement with the Soes (Terry's family's Asian name] under management contract.

"As part of that management contract it was agreed that we would operate the brand Monster Mash. As part of that process, as it had not been done, we trademarked the brand to protect it."

He added: "We are aware that unexpectedly Terry has since decided to come back to the UK to launch another brand and indeed, we are comfortable trading alongside each other."