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Taco Bell sued for false advertising over portion sizes

The plaintiff recounted his experiences in a Taco Bell in New York

Amber Raiken
New York
Thursday 03 August 2023 14:55 BST
Related: Taco Bell Frees Taco Tuesday

Taco Bell has been sued for false advertising over the amount of filling in its Mexican Pizzas and Crunchwraps.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Frank Siragusa, accused Taco Bell of “unfair and deceptive trade practices for falsely advertising the amount of beef and/or ingredients contained”, after he and fellow customers bought items at a Taco Bell in Ridegewood, New York.

Some of the items purchased were a Crunchwrap Supreme, Grande Crunchwrap, Vegan Crunchwrap, Mexican Pizza, and Veggie Mexican Pizza. All the foods were described as “Overstated Menu Items” in the lawsuit.

According to the class action lawsuit, Siragusa and other individuals had these experiences in the Taco Bell restaurant on or after 31 July 2020.

The lawsuit included photos of how much filling people allegedly got in their meal orders, alongside what the menu items looked like online. For example, as noted on Taco Bell’s website, some of the ingredients in a Crunchwrap Supreme are: Seasoned beef, tomatoes, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and a corn tortilla.

The lawsuit also alleged that Taco Bell “materially overstates the amount of beef and/or ingredients in its advertisements” for these menu items “by at least double the amount”. The court document added that the false advertising is “financially damaging to consumers, as they are receiving a product that is materially lower in value than what is being promised”.

On behalf of Siragusa and others who were in the same situation as him, the lawsuit is seeking “monetary damages fully compensating all individuals who purchased an Overstated Menu Item”, along with “injunctive relief” that would require Taco Bell to “provide corrected advertising and/or stop selling the Overstate Menu Items”.

The plaintiff is also seeking “other relief as the Court deems necessary and appropriate”.

“Taco Bell advertises larger portions of food to steer consumers to their restaurants for their meals and away from competitors that more fairly advertise the size of their menu items, unfairly diverting millions of dollars in sales that would have gone to competitors,” Siragusa’s legal team wrote in the filing.

Earlier this month, Taco Bell also made headlines when it won its quest to make “Taco Tuesday” free of trademark restrictions, with Taco John’s formally abandoning its decades-old claim to own the phrase amid a challenge from its bigger rival. In a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Cheyenne-based Taco John’s gave up any further claim to “Taco Tuesday” in 49 states, ending a high-profile spat with Taco Bell.

However, the dispute has continued on the Jersey Shore, where Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar in Somers Point promised to keep fighting Taco Bell over the exclusive right to hold “Taco Tuesday” promotions in New Jersey.

The Independent has contacted Taco Bell for comment.

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