LOS ANGELES (CN) – Items on Applebee’s “Weight Watcher’s” menu have “double or even triple” the amount of fat shown on the menu, a class action claims in Federal Court. The class claims the 1,600-outlet restaurant chain started the deceptive campaign in 2004 in response to public demand for less fatty foods.
“This demand came in part from lawsuits blaming fast good restaurants for contributing to an obesity epidemic with high-fat products,” the complaint states.
Defendants include DineEquity, fka IHOP, which bought Applebee’s in 2007. Plaintiffs claim DineEquity is “the largest full-service restaurant company in the world.”
The complaint continues: “Defendant’s representations of the calorie, far, and Weight Watchers point content of the items on its Weight Watchers menu are inaccurate. Independent laboratory analyses have shown, for example, that the fat content of the items are sometimes double or even triple the amount shown on the menu. The Tortilla Chicken Appetizer referenced above, for example, was found to contain 21.4 grams of fat, rather than 13 as advertised. The Garlic Herb Chicken was found to contain 18 grams of fat, rather than 6 as advertised.”
Plaintiffs say this constitutes consumer fraud, false advertising and unfair competition. They demand damages and an injunction.
Plaintiffs lead counsel is Robert Green with Green Welling of San Francisco.