Dunkin’ Donuts Selling Patties, Not Steak, Suit Says

By Sophia Morris, Law360, New York (June 26, 2017, 6:16 PM EDT)

Law360, New York (June 26, 2017, 6:16 PM EDT) — Dunkin’ Donuts is misleading consumers by advertising steak sandwiches that do not contain steak and serving inferior beef patties instead, a proposed class action filed in New York federal court alleged Sunday.

Customers allegedly pay more for the Angus steak and egg sandwich and the Angus steak and egg Snack N’ Go wrap products than similar products because they contain steak. But the complaint alleges that what customers are paying for is a beef patty that contains fillers, contradicting an advertising campaign by the chain that contains fillers, contradicting an advertising campaign by the chain that heavily features the word “steak.”

“A reasonable customer understands defendant’s ‘steak’ claims to mean that the products feature Angus ‘steak,’ and not burgers or patties,” the complaint said, pointing to commercials that feature steak-loving customers.

The complaint highlights one of the allegedly misleading Dunkin’ advertisements in which two people meet on a bench and bond over their shared love of steak. Quotes from the ad attempt to spotlight Dunkin’s alleged misleading statements — “as the narrator speaks: ‘It’s a big day for steak fans, Duncan’s Angus steak and eggs breakfast sandwich is back!’ a fork places the
‘steak’ onto the egg,” the complaint said.

Dunkin’ Donuts is also allegedly profiting from the scheme, as its steak products are 50 to 60 cents more expensive than their non-steak equivalents, the complaint said.

Tiffany Troy, a representative for Troy & Associates, which is representing named plaintiff Chufen Chen, told Law360 on Monday that Chen came to the firm after realizing that something was wrong with the Angus steak sandwich or wrap that she purchased in Queens, New York. After looking at the listed ingredients for the steak products on the Dunkin’ Donuts website, the firm filed the suit.

“We thought that the steak wasn’t in actuality steak but rather it’s a patty that they advertise heavily as steak,” Troy said. “They advertise the Angus steak and sandwiches as a luxury or superior product to their classic line.” The proposed nationwide class is made up of all customers who purchased the Angus steak and egg sandwich or the Angus steak and egg Snack N’ Go wrap and “were charged a premium for their purchase of ‘steak’ sandwiches and wraps,” the complaint said. There is also a proposed New York subclass.

A representative for Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. declined to comment Monday.

Counsel information for Dunkin’ Donuts was not immediately available.

Named plaintiff Chufen Chen is represented by John Troy of Troy & Associates PLLC.

The case is Chen v. Dunkin’ Brands, Inc, case number 1:17-cv-03808, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New  York.

–Editing by Richard McVay and Kelly Duncan.

The article first appeared on Law360 at: https://www.law360.com/articles/938247/dunkin-donuts-selling-patties-not-steak-suit-says