By Bob Uphues
Burger Antics, the gourmet, made-to-order burger-centric eatery in downtown Brookfield, doesn't deliver.
So when owners Dan and Brenna Velcich learned – after getting a complaint from a customer – that a service was delivering the restaurant's food without authorization, they put their foot down.
On Jan. 8, Burger Antics filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, suing San Francisco-based delivery service Door Dash Inc., to stop the company from using its logo on their website, to stop the company from delivering their food and for unspecified monetary damages.
"The concern is that they have no control over time of delivery and the way the food is handled," said Terrence Buehler, the attorney who represents Burger Antics. "They're concerned it'd reflect poorly on the restaurant and damage its reputation because these are people he has no control over."
Door Dash, which operates in hundreds of cities nationwide, responded to the lawsuit by removing Burger Antics from its website, but Buehler doesn't believe that should be able to simply end the matter. If anyone searches for Burger Antics on Google, for example, the result still identifies Door Dash is its delivery service.
In addition, Buehler says that unless the court intervenes, there's no guarantee Burger Antics won't show up on Door Dash's site in the future, and says some damage has already been done.
In 2017, a San Francisco Bay area TV station aired a story about a San Rafael pizzeria that demanded Door Dash remove their business from their website. The delivery service complied, but relisted the pizzeria a few weeks later, according to the report.
The California chain In-N-Out Burger filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Door Dash in 2015. That suit was settled out of court, and Door Dash no longer advertises In-N-Out Burger on its website.
The lawsuit asks the judge to grant class-action status to the suit, since Door Dash delivers food to innumerable restaurants, many of whom have not authorized that service but use of their logos on the Door Dash website.
On Jan. 11, Buehler filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, stating that the delivery service had been used at least eight times to order food from Burger Antics, 3740 Grand Blvd., since the beginning of November 2017.
The complaint that alerted Dan Velcich to Door Dash resulted from an order that was picked up more than 30 minutes late. That incident "has caused damage to [Burger Antics'] brand and good will," the motion stated.
Door Dash, a delivery service modeled somewhat after ride-share companies like Uber, allows customers to order food from local restaurants through an app on their mobile devices. Orders are transmitted to delivery people, or "dashers," who pick up the food and deliver it to customers.
Dashers don't necessarily identify themselves as a delivery service when they pick up food. As far as the folks at Burger Antics knew, dashers were simply take-out customers. Meanwhile some restaurants have embraced Door Dash's model.
While Burger Antics' lawsuit states that at least six Brookfield restaurants are advertised on Door Dash's website, a quick check on Jan. 12 revealed only one Brookfield result, Brookfield Ale House, which is just down the street from Burger Antics.
Brookfield Ale House owner Steve Landrey said his restaurant uses three delivery services, including Door Dash, and that he has not heard any complaints about the service related to his restaurant.