Sweetgreen announced a change to its burrito bowl name from ‘chipotle chicken burrito bowl’ to ‘chicken + chipotle pepper bowl.’ A representative for the salad company confirmed the news to CNBC on Thursday (April 6)–days after Chipotle filed the trademark infringement lawsuit.
“We are looking forward to putting this lawsuit behind us as we continue to connect more people to real food,” Sweetgreen’s statement reportedly said.
By Friday, the name was updated on Sweetgreen’s website. However, several social media posts have not been edited to reflect the change.
Meanwhile, the Mexican-inspired chain is reportedly “pleased that Sweetgreen chose to change the name in a way that protects its trademarks.”
Published on April 6, 2023, and updated on April 7, 2023 at 12:18 p.m:
READ THE INITIAL STORY BELOW:
Chipotle is protecting its burrito bowl lane by all means, including taking Sweetgreen to court for their new ‘chipotle chicken burrito bowl.’
According to Reuters, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. filed a lawsuit against the salad chain on Tuesday (April 4) in California. The Mexican food chain claims Sweetgreen violated its trademark rights in the advertisement and sale of its newest menu addition.
Lawsuit documents state:
“Chipotle and Sweetgreen are unaffiliated companies who compete in the ‘fast casual’ restaurant industry. still, Sweetgreen is using Chipotle’s famous CHIPOTLE trademark to sell a product that is very similar and directly competitive to Chipotle’s chicken burrito bowl. Sweetgreeen’s conduct constitutes trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false designation of origin, and deceptive trade practice.”
Sweetgreen first introduced its burrito bowl on March 30. In a news release, the salad company revealed the “protein-packed all-grains bowl” is available at all its locations “for a limited time only.” The bowl deviates from its standard menu by offering a bowl “without any greens.” Sweetgreen said an internal study found that 70% of their customers prefer chicken as their protein–and that data was used to inspire the ‘Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl.’
But the Mexican Grill isn’t buying what Sweetgreen is selling. Instead, the Mexican-inspired restaurant says Sweetgreen is advertising using the trademarked, capitalized version of ‘Chipotle’ and its trademarked ‘Adobo Red’ color.
Additionally, lawsuit docs claim Sweetgreen continued to push the product despite Chipotle’s cease-and-desist letter and a call to Sweetgreen from their legal department. They suggested that Sweetgreen use the word ‘chipotle’ in lowercase to describe the bowl’s ingredients rather than capitalizing it in the product’s official name. An example listed is “chicken bowl with chipotle.”
Reuters reports that Sweetgreen released a statement saying it is aware of Chipotle’s lawsuit. However, the salad company added that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation. On Thursday, Sweetgreen still had promotional content surrounding the burrito bowl posted to its Twitter and Instagram pages. The company even shared an Insta-Reel celebrating National Burrito Day with a promo code for the “buzzed-about chipotle-chicken burrito bowl.”
The bowl is one of several limited menu items, including a Hummus Crunch Salad and Asparagus + Roasted Salsa Bowl, that Sweetgreen will offer through June 12.
But the Mexican Grill isn’t looking for the product to maintain its limited availability. Instead, it’s asking a huge to block Sweetgreen from using its trademarked name. Additionally, they want an unspecified amount of money in damages.