Tasty Burger to Chipotle: Cut It Out, Guys, Seriously

The Boston-based burger company calls out the burrito chain's new Tasty Made brand.

Tasty Burger Back Bay

Tasty Burger Back Bay. Photo provided

Tasty Burger is preparing for a “David and Goliath scenario” over Chipotle’s new Tasty Made brand. The Boston-based burger chain has sent a cease and desist warning to Chipotle, but the burrito company isn’t budging.

“We fully intend to move forward with the name Tasty Made for our burger restaurant and strongly believe that we are on solid footing in doing so,” Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold says.

Tasty Burger CEO David Dubois says his company has “no choice but to aggressively protect” its brand. The proposed Tasty Made logo “is unmistakably similar to our own in color, shape and design,” and his company sent the cease and desist to Chipotle on July 19. In the three weeks since sending the letter, Chipotle has continued its marketing efforts for Tasty Made, announcing it will open the first burgers-fries-and-milkshakes store in Lancaster, Ohio.

Tasty Burger believes Chipotle is willfully ignoring the “obvious infringement.” In a press release today, Dubois writes:

This has caused a great deal of confusion among our customers, and consumers in general, because Tasty Burger has no association or affiliation with Chipotle. Here at Tasty Burger, we are confused as well. There are several major Chipotle stores close to Tasty Burger locations. In fact, we share the same Landlord in one location. It would be reasonable to assume that they have seen our signage. When filing for the ‘Tasty Made’ registration, Chipotle’s legal team would have inevitably known of us at Tasty Burger, since they would have had to do a search of existing marks/registrations and come across ours. All of this leads us to believe that Chipotle has intentionally chosen to proceed with the ‘Tasty Made’ name and mark without regard to the obvious infringement.

Check out a side-by-side comparison of the two companies’ branding efforts:

Images provided by Tasty Burger

Images provided by Tasty Burger

Tasty Burger was established in the Fenway neighborhood in 2010. It’s now the official burger of the Boston Red Sox, has expanded to five locations around Boston, and just opened its newest restaurant in Washington, D.C. It has its named trademarks in the U.S., most of the European Union, and 11 other countries, including Canada, Afghanistan, and Japan.

“We are a growing company with modest beginnings, yet we have big dreams to share our burgers with millions more as we open future Tasty Burger locations,” Dubois says. “Despite the obvious David and Goliath scenario, we cannot simply stand by and watch an enormously powerful company like Chipotle move forward with opening a burger restaurant with a similar name, mark, and logo design.”

Chipotle doesn’t see a problem, Arnold says.

“The United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to register a trademark for Tasty Burger because it is merely descriptive and not enforceable. Beyond that, we believe there is sufficient difference between the names and logo marks so as not to cause consumer confusion, and we believe both brands can co-exist.”

Tasty Burger is part of the Boston-based Franklin Restaurant Group, which also includes Franklin Cafe, with locations in the South End and in Gloucester, and Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar in the Fenway. Dubois and company are also developing a Jewish-style restaurant called Our Father’s Deli in Lower Allston.

Tasty Burger, 1301 Boylston St., Boston, 617-303-0415, tastyburger.com.