McDonald’s Says Dunkin’ Donuts Menu Is Too Similar, Sues To Block Nearby Store

While fast food burger joints have battled over turf and market share for decades, it’s always seemed like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s were able to live in relative peace since their core products were very different. But a new lawsuit filed by McDonald’s now claims that Dunkin’ and the Golden Arches are so similar that a Maryland mall operator should be stopped from leasing space to the donut chain.

Baltimore Business Journal reports that McDonald’s corporate office filed the complaint [PDF] earlier this month in a federal court in Maryland.

The suit alleges breach of contract by the operators of a shopping center in Derwood, MD, who recently leased a space to a combination Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins but whose lease with the Golden Arches includes a restriction against the mall from leasing space to “restaurants with menu items substantially similar to those of McDonald’s, within 2000 feet of the McDonald’s restaurant at the Shopping Center.”

So do these two fast food giants really offer the same stuff?

Below is the plaintiff’s side-by-side comparison on what McDonald’s views as similar menu items at the two eateries:

As you can see, the majority of these items are from the breakfast menu. The suit also takes issue with the fact that Baskin Robbins, like McDonald’s, serves “ice cream products, including but not limited to, ice cream cones, ice cream sundaes, blended ice cream products, milk shakes, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks.”

Claiming that it will experience losses greater than $75,000 if the Dunkin’ Donuts is allowed to operate within the same shopping center, McDonald’s is asking the court to issue an injunction blocking the mall from leasing the space to the other fast food company.

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