Great NH restaurants seeking to block DoorDash, GrubHub with lawsuit

BEDFORD — Great New Hampshire Restaurants hopes to distance itself from two popular food delivery services — DoorDash and GrubHub — and has gone as far as filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the two companies.

The suit claims trademark infringement, unfair competition, injury to business reputation, and false and deceptive business practices.

Bedford-based Great New Hampshire Restaurants operates T-Bones, Copper Door, CJ’s and Cactus Jack’s, with multiple locations across the state.

Both DoorDash and GrubHub, based out of California and Illinois respectively, imply every restaurant listed is a “partner restaurant” and uses its logos and menus, according to the suit. The menus posted on the delivery services websites don’t always match the menus used at the restaurants.

“(The delivery companies) products and services do not adhere to the high standards expected from GNHR, putting GNHR at risk for claims by customers relating to the quality of its food products,” the suit reads.

Some of the major problems include the amount of time it takes to deliver the food and if the companies comply with applicable health and sanitary codes. Complaints typically go to the restaurant not the third-parties who deliver it, according to the suit.

Attorney R. Terry Parker filed the lawsuits last week on behalf of Great New Hampshire Restaurants.

“Customers were complaining about their orders,” Parker said. DoorDash and GrubHub have said the Great New Hampshire Restaurants would be removed from the platforms, but it’s been a recurring issue, Parker said.

“Our client actually spoke with a number of other people in the industry who were having a similar problem and were getting a runaround on the issue,” Parker said. “My client decided the best option was to file a lawsuit.”

In 2015, In-N-Out Burger, a popular California chain, sued DoorDash to resolve similar issues before a settlement was reached.

The restaurants are unaware when orders are being filled by DoorDash and GrubHub, according to the suit.

“(DoorDash and GrubHub) places GNHR at risk for customer complaints, which would substantially damage GNHR’s business reputation, and would result in irreparable damages and financial loss,” the suit reads.

Parker said the use of the trademarks without permission is unlawful.

The restaurant chain is seeking judgments for trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. The suit seeks a permanent injunction from the use of Great New Hampshire Restaurants’ trademarks or delivering its products, according to the suit.

DoorDash says restaurants report new customers and incremental revenue from the app, a spokeswoman wrote in a statement.

“For many restaurants, being listed on our app is considered a helpful trial test towards a formal partnership that provides additional benefits and services,” the statement reads. “There are occasions when merchants ask to be removed from our platform and we honor those requests.”

She confirmed the restaurants are no longer listed.

GrubHub did not return emails seeking comment Tuesday afternoon, but the eateries that are part of the Great New Hampshire Restaurants don’t appear to be listed.

“We need assurances that won’t be happening in the future as well,” Parker said.