Food Fight: In-N-Out Burger Sues Startup DoorDash Over Delivery Service

in n out burger lawsuit

Fast food chain In-N-Out Burger is boiling hot and out to do something about it. The receiving end of this anger is DoorDash food delivery service which is listing In-N-Out on its website as an affiliated business without permission.

DoorDash, based in Stanford, California, was founded in 2013 and has already apparently alienated some of the very businesses it counts on for the food it delivers to its customers. In-N-Out alleges in a lawsuit that after the company turned down the startups proposal to deliver its meals, DoorDash went ahead and listed In-N-Out’s menu on its website anyway.

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Furthermore, In-N-Out alleges that DoorDash is listing its menu at inflated prices, which may confuse customers, and is using an unauthorized logo on its site.

A DoorDash spokesperson told TechCrunch, “DoorDash uses its innovative logistics technology to deliver the very best food and products in neighborhoods across the country. While we have various relationships with different merchants, we are proud to help people get their favorite food delivered directly to their door.”

In-N-Out first asked DoorDash to remove its logo and menu from the company’s website on April 14, 2014, and it was removed. But then the listing was renewed and In-N-Out sent out letters on July 10, August 17, and September 30, 2015, with no response.

There have already been conflicts between established eateries and the up and coming delivery services. Delivery services like DoorDash and Postmates, have received complaints from businesses across the country for their practice of listing restaurants on their website without contacting the owners.

In-N-Out’s complaints are typical. Frequently the menus of the restaurants are listed on the website with increased prices. Often there are items that are no longer offered or just plain wrong. There is no control over the quality of the delivery such as cleanliness of the delivery vehicle and whether it’s delivered in a timely manner or as hot or cold as it should be. In-N-Out and other restaurants feel that all these factors impact their reputation and brand.

There are also hard feelings on the part of the restaurant employees against delivery services since the employees feel that these businesses are cutting into their tips.

The billing includes the price of the meal (marked up), a delivery charge and a gratuity, which is split between the delivery person and the service. Resentment has led to Doordash’s orders being placed last in line while onsite customers get priority.

Image: In-N-Out Burger/Facebook


JoAnn McFarland JoAnn McFarland is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers breaking news such as new product announcements, government policy, acquisitions and other industry developments. She is a published author and comes from a family-business background.

2 Reactions
  1. There are many companies that are doing this. I know some gift delivery services online that lists some brands without the permission of the said companies. They are bound to get sued.

  2. Whereas I can kinda understand In-N-Out’s position, I can also see the need for just such services. I will soon be going in for surgery that will leave me housebound for about a week and I have nobody that can be a caregiver that can drive so these kinds of delivery services will be a godsend.

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