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Is it legal/ethical for a competive caterer to resell my restaurant product without my permission?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My family owns a Mexican restaurant that also has a brisk catering business.  There is a competitive caterer that has recently started purchasing items from our restaurant and re-selling/serving our product at events that they cater.  They have even gone so far as to list our restaurant BY NAME in their catering bids that we are also bidding on (...."featuring XXXX by XXXX Restaurant."   When this competitor places orders at my restaurant for bulk items that I sell to the general public, I don't always know that it is my competitor placing the order, but I discover it after the fact. It seems highly unethical to me, if not illegal.  Can anyone share their opinion, advice, experience, knowledge....

post #2 of 6

Wow, first of all Welcome to Cheftalk. One reason I wouldn't want him to use my food is, if some one got sick at his event, they may think it was your dish. Who knows if he keeps the right temps, or if he would display the food like you would like. I would ask him not to use you food,and not advertise it either.

   Now on another note, I have had caterings that I hired Meats shops to Smoke 40 18lb hams for me and deliver it to the function hot. Of course I told him I was using them for a catered event, I don't have a smoker for a once a year party, so hiring them works out well. They are also a caterer, but never said it was a problem.

  I think it takes a lot of nerve on his part to use your name on the catering, when you are also bidding the event yourself. I would call a lawyer and see what they say. Like I said earlier, my biggest fear would be, them not serving my food properly and also some one getting sick and thinking It was my doing................take care.................ChefBill

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the quick reply, ChefBillyB!  The whole thing reeks to me! As you've pointed out, it's not unusual to sub-contract with another supplier, and as long as everyone knows the deal and is responsible for the quality of their own product, it's all good.  In this case, it's very underhanded.   

post #4 of 6

I would speak with the offending caterer asking that they not use your name in their proposal or contract.

 

Honestly, I would not have a problem selling my product to another caterer for resale -as long as they were upfront about it as you mentioned and despite the fact that we do our own catering. If the client wants to spend more for a product they can get from you cheaper, that's on them. You are still getting your price and it's always nice to have additional revenue, wherever it comes from.

 

Like the above poster, we get our roasted pigs from a local meat shop that also does catering. We also do not have a smoker and for once or twice a year, it doesn't pay to purchase one and we don't have the space anyway. We upcharge on the pig, the meat purveyor makes his money, we make ours, the client gets what they want and everyone is happy. The client has no idea where the pig came from and we prefer it that way.

 

On the other hand, you have to admit that it is flattering that this caterer uses your name in his proposals, even if you don't like it. You must sell an excellent product that is well known in the community!  Gina

post #5 of 6

If you're going to "talk" to him, do it in writing (e-mail is fine), and make a few copies and stick each one in a separate file so you'll be able to find at least one of them.  Don't get into an argument with him in person or on the phone.

 

Make your letter very civil.  Use your own words to ask him to please stop using your name for any business purpose without your prior, express, written permission.  Also ask him to please give you a written (e-mail is fine) "yes or no" answer in fifteen days  (don't say "fifteen days" or "two weeks," name a specific date) as to whether or not he'll comply with your request. 

 

Don't whine, don't offer to forgive and forget, don't explain why it's wrong, don't explain why it pisses you off, don't threaten or talk about consequences in any way, and for God's sake don't use my words or try to sound like a lawyer.  Just ask nicely that he stop and let you know that he's agreeing to do so.  Say please and thank you.

 

If he agrees, thank him in writing and offer to meet so you can buy him a beer. 

 

If he doesn't agree or doesn't respond within two weeks, talk to an attorney about  a "cease and desist" letter.  If it goes further, the rule in most states is that loser bears costs for injunctive relief.

 

Good luck,

BDL

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post #6 of 6

Is your name registered legally.?

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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