Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC), the ghost kitchen behind MrBeast’s namesake burger business, is suing Jimmy Donaldson, the YouTube sensation known as MrBeast. The case was filed just one week after Donaldson filed a lawsuit against VDC in an attempt to discontinue their relationship, alleging consumer complaints that their burgers were “revolting.”
In its action filed in the Supreme Court of New York on August 7th, VDC is now asking $100 million in damages for Donaldson’s claimed breach of contract and “wanton conduct,” as Variety first reported.
“This case is about a social media celebrity who believes his fame means that his word does not matter, that the facts do not matter, and that he can renege and breach his contractual obligations without consequence. He is mistaken,” according to the lawsuit.
VDC’s legal action is in response to Donaldson’s own complaint (pdf) against the company, which he filed on July 31, calling for the contract to be terminated. The social media star quoted MrBeast Burger customer evaluations, which called the dish “disgusting,” “inedible,” and “nasty.” He said that the negative reaction caused “material, irreparable harm to the MrBeast brand” as well as his reputation. According to his allegation, VDC was similarly focused on quick expansion while ignoring Donaldson’s calls for quality control.
According to Restaurant Business, VDC responded in a statement, calling the litigation “ill-advised” and “meritless.”
In the most recent lawsuit, VDC and its subsidiary, Celebrity Virtual Dining, claimed that Donaldson failed to keep his end of the contract, causing their company “enormous financial harm.” Among several other contractual breaches are his public disparagement of their company, failure to carry out promotional efforts, and “making untrue and misleading statements.” The allegation also includes other MrBeast tweets in which he publicly criticises his arrangement with VDC.
“If I could have closed it, I would have done so a long time ago.” When you’re young, you sometimes sign a shitdeal,” reads one now-deleted MrBeast tweet contained in the filing.
MrBeast Burger has received backlash on social media
Donaldson, the world’s most popular YouTuber, introduced MrBeast Burger with VDC in December 2020, following the epidemic of virtual, delivery-only kitchens. According to Donaldson’s complaint, the company sold one million burgers within three months of its start and plans to expand to 1,700 virtual outlets by 2022. The first real store opened in a New Jersey mall in September, drawing a crowd of 10,000 people.
Fans have been continually disappointed on the first bite, despite their eagerness to try the burgers. Some of the chain’s chicken patties and burgers were provided while still raw on the inside, and the food was either charred or half frozen, according to photos posted online.
Robert Earl, the CEO and founder of Planet Hollywood, co-founded VDC, which partners with other celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Mario Lopez, and DJ Pauly D. Earl Enterprises also owns Bertucci’s and Bravo Italian Kitchen, among other restaurant franchises.
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