Burger giant and food truck owner in a smash up over trade name
Cape Town - Burger giant RocoMamas has been accused of “corporate bullying tactics” after they threatened legal action against a Mandalay food truck owner if he didn’t change the name of one of his burgers.
Rack n Grill owner Muammer Kasu received a letter dated April 14 from franchise chief executive, Anton Geldenhuys, that RocoMamas was the registered proprietor of the “Smashburger” in South Africa.
They allege Kasu’s “Smash Burger” is an infringement, and gave him 48 hours to change it.
“Your company, trading under the name and style ’Rack n Grill’ has been using and continues to use on its trading name, menu, and by way of advertising a product, a mark consisting of the words ’Smash Burger’... We hereby demand that you immediately remove the offending mark from your menu, marketing, advertising materials...within 48 hours,” Geldenhuys’s letter read.
Speaking to the Cape Times on Thursday, Kasu said he was seeking legal advice, but would change the name in the meantime as he wanted nothing to do with them.
“They now want me to change the name ’Smash Burger’ which is two words, while they have trademarked ’Smashburger’ which is one word....I can understand that it is similar, but also according to their certificate they cannot use the two words separately. Now they want to bully me into changing it,” he said.
Kasu is a qualified chef who started a food truck in 2015.
He said he could not believe that the “big corporation was bullying a small single-owned business”.
“I was completely shocked when I received the email, I was completely shocked and I was completely taken away.“I have been getting some great advice from our association, I think we can rather add that I will remove "Smash Burger" from our menu as we do not wish to have any similarities to the group of companies in no way whatsoever.”
Kasu said he requested an extension of 14 days to respond to their email and to seek legal advice, and the franchise agreed.
Chairperson of Cape Town Food Truck Association, Hayden Seboa slammed the franchise for “disgusting corporate bullying tactics“.
“They have a trademark for ’Smashburger’, he calls his ’Smash Burger’. The only reason they probably filed a trademark for ’Smashburger’ was to prevent a growing USA chain called Smashburger from ever entering the SA market. I feel that for a corporate restaurant chain to threaten a small business owner in the current turmoil we are in is absolutely disgusting,” Seboa said.