It is a case of David versus Goliath as franchise burger joint RocoMamas slapped a small takeaways owner with legal papers demanding he cease to use the name of their Smashburger on his menu.
This left a bad taste in the mouth, with social media users accusing the franchise of corporate bullying.
Muammer Kasu, the owner of the Rack n Grill in Plein Street, says after the news broke, he gained a lot of support from other small businesses all over the country.
One of them, The Cape Malay Griller in Bo-Kaap, created the Roka-cry-baby-smashroll and their customers are loving it.
Nazier Banderker, a supporter on their Facebook page, wrote: “Love it! The power of unity... if all small businesses stand together, they can take on the corporate bully.”
The Bo-Kaap takeaways was closed on Sunday and the owners could not be reached.
The food fight started last Wednesday when Kasu says he received a lawyer’s letter from RocoMamas.
The Cape Times reported that the letter, from chief executive Anton Geldenhuys, stated that RocoMamas was the registered proprietor of the Smashburger.
“Your company, trading under the name and style ’Rack n Grill’ has been using and continues to use on its trading name, menu, and by way of advertising a product, a mark consisting of the words ’Smash Burger’... We hereby demand that you immediately remove the offending mark from your menu, marketing, advertising materials... within 48 hours.”
Kasu says the battle lines have been drawn and he is willing to fight till the bitter end simply because RocoMamas did not own the name Smash Burger, but only Smashburger, without the space between the two words.
These big companies can be intimidating and one might cave in but I thought about the other small businesses which gave up and I thought I will stand up to them,” he says.
He says he created the burger in 2015 already when he operated a food truck.
“I was at a birthday party in Wynberg and when we were making food, I decided to throw everything on the burger and that is how it was born.
“That is completely different from theirs. And at that time RocoMamas was not trademarked.
“I think maybe they see us as competition because they are down the road from us.”