Grill’d founder Simon Crowe buys $22million Toorak Melbourne mansion


Grill’d founder splurges on a lavish $22million home after burger chain received $16million taxpayer payout – but put trainees on reduced wages

  • Grill’d founder Simon Crowe and his wife Sophie buy palatial Toorak mansion
  • They paid $22million for the grand c1886 home which has a turret room on top
  • Grill’d criticized for paying thousands of trainee staff reduced wages

The founder of a popular burger chain criticized for paying staff low wages while his company collected $16million from a taxpayer-funded wage subsidy has bought a castle-like dream home for $22million.

Simon Crowe, co-founder of Grill’d, bought the palatial, tastefully-redesigned Italianate Victorian mansion in his wife Sophie’s name in the ritzy Melbourne suburb of Toorak.

The six-bedroom home is ‘unparalleled in terms of grandeur, level of finish and unforgettable beauty,’ according to the 2021 listing by luxury real estate agency Marshall White.

The founder of a popular burger chain criticized for paying staff low wages while his company collected $16million from a taxpayer-funded wage subsidy has bought a castle-like dream home

Simon Crowe, co-founder of Grill'd, bought the palatial, tastefully-redesigned Italianate Victorian mansion in his wife Sophie's name in the ritzy Melbourne suburb of Toorak

Simon Crowe, co-founder of Grill’d, bought the palatial, tastefully-redesigned Italianate Victorian mansion in his wife Sophie’s name in the ritzy Melbourne suburb of Toorak

The purchase comes after the Crowes sold their previous South Yarra residence for $15million, Domain reported.

The three-level limestone, marble and mahogany-filled mansion has a tennis court, swimming pool, four living rooms, a butler’s pantry and its own tower room which its owners can gaze across Toorak.

The circa-1886 home was once owned by television comedian and host Steve Vizard and was recently renovated with architect Russell Casper supervising, and interiors redesigned by American-born designer Thomas Hamel.

Grill’d was Australia’s biggest recipient of a Covid apprenticeship program, collecting $16.6million while paying its trainees reduced wages, the AFR reported.

The burger chain received the subsidy for 2,800 employees who were paid a lower per-hour rate than non-trainees.

The three-level limestone, marble and mahogany-filled mansion has a tennis court, swimming pool, four living rooms, a butler's pantry and its own tower room which its owners can gaze across Toorak

The three-level limestone, marble and mahogany-filled mansion has a tennis court, swimming pool, four living rooms, a butler’s pantry and its own tower room which its owners can gaze across Toorak

The circa-1886 home was once owned by beloved television comedian and host Steve Vizard and was recently renovated with architect Russell Casper supervising

The circa-1886 home was once owned by beloved television comedian and host Steve Vizard and was recently renovated with architect Russell Casper supervising

An 18-year-old Grill’d trainee was paid $14.95 an hour under its Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, compared to $17.20 for a non-trainee.

Grill’d claimed just under $6,000 per employee on average from taxpayers.

United Workers Union director Godfrey Moase accused the company of using the subsidy to ‘drive wages to egregiously low levels’.

The company previously drew criticism from ex-employees in 2019 after it was revealed to have claimed $7million in taxpayer support for its so-called ‘hamburger university’.

The employees about the quality of the training program and that it was difficult to graduate from in order to receive higher wages.

Among the complaints of several young employees were that they got stuck on ‘pitiful’ wages at Grill’d.

Grill’d has defended its training programs saying they provide job pathways for thousands of young people.

Overall Grill'd employs about 4,500 staff in 152 stores across Australia, a high proportion of whom have done a company traineeship.

Overall Grill’d employs about 4,500 staff in 152 stores across Australia, a high proportion of whom have done a company traineeship.

Overall Grill’d employs about 4,500 staff in 152 stores across Australia, a high proportion of whom have done a company traineeship.

The company is worth over $370million and recently expanded into overseas markets.

Crowe co-founded Grill’d in 2004 with Geoff Bainbridge but the pair fell out acrimoniously.

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