WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) – A sandwich shop franchisor wants a Las Vegas outlet to stop using its name, claiming the franchisee let a strip club sell Capriotti’s sandwiches during a happy hour promotion touting “boobs and Bobbies.”
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop company claims in Federal Court that Taylor Family Holdings and Natalie Taylor are still using the Capriotti name to sell sandwiches, though their franchise agreement was terminated for “directly associating the Capriotti’s Marks with topless dancers.”
Capriotti’s says it gave Taylor 5 days to end the promotion after it learned that Crazy Horse III, a Las Vegas gentlemen’s club, was using Capriotti’s name in radio and print ads for the beer and sandwich happy hour deal.
Capriotti’s says a print ad in the The Las Vegas Weekly called it “a match made in Vegas heaven: boobs and Bobbies, that would be topless dancing at gentlemen’s club Crazy Horse III and the famed Capriotti’s Thanksgiving-in-a-roll sandwich.”
Another Las Vegas paper, the Daily Fiasco, ran a headline stating, “Capriotti’s Takes It Off,” with a photo of an exotic dancer and a customer holding a Bobbie sandwich, according to the complaint.
Capriotti’s claims these promotions violated the franchise agreement and sullied the company’s family-friendly name.
Capriotti’s also disputes Taylor’s claim, made in response to its termination letter, that this was an unauthorized promotion; Capriotti’s called it a “teaming up” between the franchisee and the strip club.
The day after Capriotti’s sued in Federal Court, Taylor Family Holdings and Natalie Taylor responded with a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court, seeking to preserve the status quo and allow them to operate as a Capriotti’s Sandwich shop for the duration of the proceedings.
Taylor claims in Chancery Court that the Crazy Horse III promotion was done without her knowledge.
She says the manager of Crazy Horse III contacted her about selling “a large volume of sandwiches through some form of joint advertising,” but says she never authorized a promotion using Capriotti’s name.
So when Crazy Horse III bought 47 sandwiches in 5 days, Taylor believed the sandwiches were ordered for the club’s employees.
Taylor notes in her complaint that “a request was made to hold the onions on all sandwiches because it affected the dancers’ breath.”
Taylor claims that after Capriotti’s notified her of the unauthorized advertising by Crazy Horse III, her franchise immediately complied, and stopped selling sandwiches to the strip club.
Taylor seeks declaratory judgment that it did not violate the franchise agreement.
Taylor is represented by John Elzufon with Elzufon Austin Reardon Tarlov & Mondell.
Capriotti’s is represented by David Moore with Potter Anderson & Corroon, of Wilmington, and by Michael Sturm with Wiley Rein, of Washington, D.C.