A number of services offer to deliver to consumers orders they place at area restaurants for a surcharge. The complaint alleges that one of these, DoorDash, Inc., falsely gives the impression that they are approved by or affiliated with WokChow Development, LLC and its WokChow Fire Seared Asian restaurant, causing damages to the restaurant.
The class for this action is all restaurants in the US which appeared on DoorDash’s website during the relevant statute of limitations period but which have not entered into an agreement with DoorDash to provide delivery services.
WokChow is a restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is a single, local restaurant, not a chain or franchise, and it claims to take pains with its food, using locally-sourced meat and fresh vegetables, delivered fresh each day. WokChow has its own take-out and delivery service, through its telephone and online ordering system. It has no arrangement with DoorDash.
Still, the complaint claims that DoorDash uses WokChow’s name and logo to help promote its business. The complaint claims that it publishes a truncated version of the restaurant’s menu on its website with marked-up prices, including 10% added to each item and a delivery fee that is higher than WokChow’s own delivery fee.
This misappropriation and misuse of WokChow’s menu give a poor impression of the restaurant’s offerings and pricing, the complaint says, which in turn affects consumers’ evaluation of the restaurant and may discourage them from going there. And the use of the restaurant’s name and logo may give the impression that WokChow is affiliated in some manner with DoorDash or endorses its services.
Also, the complaint says that DoorDash holds itself out as an approved delivery service for WokChow when it is no such thing. This leads to other kinds of problems for the restaurant. For example, it says, if DoorDash delivers an order late and the food is cold, customers call the restaurant to complain and ask for replacement orders; and at times DoorDash has ordered food but not picked it up, costing WokChow money.
WokChow claims that its own ordering service is cheaper, has better quality control, and is more profitable for the restaurant. It does not see a good reason for a customer to use DoorDash.
WokChow has asked DoorDash to remove WokChow from its online app and website, but DoorDash has ignored the requests. WokChow claims that DoorDash has caused it to lose money and customers.
The complaint claims tortious interference with prospective business relations, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The latter forbids things such as causing confusion as to connections with another business, misrepresenting that services have sponsorship or approval that they do not have, and engaging in acts or practices that are deceptive to consumers.