An Ohio restaurant called Twisted Root Restaurant & Bar must change its name after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the Dallas burger chain of the same name. Located in Centerville outside Dayton, Twisted Root Restaurant & Bar has been open since June. Owner-chef Keith Taylor says he didn't know about the burger chain when he devised the name for his American-themed pub-style restaurant.
"I had put together a compilation of a lot of words that I mixed and matched," he says. "I had all these different names lined up. I did want to use 'root' in there, because we use a lot of local ingredients with farmers in the summer. And then 'twisted,' my culinary background is a little twisted. I trained under a French chef and a German chef, and here I'm just a hillbilly from Dayton."
"Currently, we are talking to potential franchisees in multiple states, including Ohio, which is one reason the letter was sent," says Twisted Root owner Jason Boso.
Once he came up with the name, he did do a search and found the Dallas burger chain, but he didn't think there would be a conflict.
"I figured since we're in Dayton, Ohio, and more of an upscale concept, there was no way we could be misconstrued as part of a burger chain," he says. "If you look at our logo, restaurant and bar, it has no resemblance to theirs. I’m only one small business here, and I'm not franchising or expanding. But I guess they took umbrage."
The franchising aspect is the reason Dallas' Twisted Root issued the letter, says owner Jason Boso.
"Currently, we are talking to potential franchisees in multiple states, including Ohio, which is one reason the letter was sent," he says. "Because we are growing our brand nationally, trademark law requires us to monitor the industry to protect our brand name from trademark infringement.
"If we’re not diligent in this, we risk losing federal trademark protection, which would result in brand dilution and customer confusion. We simply want to continue doing so with the same strength of our brand and personality that we’ve worked so hard to create."
Twisted Root Burger has nine restaurants in Texas and one in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Ohio restaurateur Taylor said he doesn't have the money or inclination to fight and is already brainstorming a replacement name. "We're on Route 48, so I thought about naming it 'Root 48,'" he says. "But that still has 'root' in there. I don’t want to make them mad."