Technology

Virtual Dining Concepts fires back in MrBeast Burger dispute

The company accused MrBeast of “bullying” it for more control of the brand and suing when he didn’t get his way. It has hired lawyers and is preparing to fight the case in court.
MrBeast Burger
A battle is brewing over the fate of MrBeast Burger. | Photo courtesy of Virtual Dining Concepts

Virtual Dining Concepts is not letting go of MrBeast Burger without a fight.

The company on Wednesday responded to a lawsuit from YouTube star MrBeast, its partner in the delivery-only restaurant brand, calling the complaint “ill-advised” and airing accusations of its own.

On Monday, MrBeast alleged that MrBeast Burger had been selling low-quality food that permanently damaged his reputation, and that Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) breached their contract by using his image to promote the brand without his consent. He asked a New York district court to end his agreement with VDC and allow MrBeast Burger to die.

VDC is now gearing up to fight those allegations, hiring lawyers and hinting at a possible countersuit. It said in a statement that MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, had been “bullying” VDC to give him more of the brand. When VDC refused, “he filed this ill-advised and meritless lawsuit.”

“The complaint is riddled with false statements and inaccuracies and is a thinly-veiled attempt to distract from Mr. Donaldson’s and Beast Investments’ breaches of the agreements between the parties,” the statement said, including his “recent false, disparaging statements regarding the MrBeast Burger brand and VDC.”

The dueling claims set up what could be an ugly dispute over the fate of the biggest virtual restaurant in the world. MrBeast Burger became an instant success when it launched in December 2020, with MrBeast’s legions of followers flocking to try the brand. It has grown quickly since then to about 1,700 locations worldwide.

MrBeast’s lawsuit contends that the rapid expansion came at the expense of the food itself, citing dozens of negative reviews and comments. It goes on to say that those sentiments hurt MrBeast’s personal brand and that VDC failed to take steps to fix the problems.

VDC, on the other hand, argued that MrBeast’s profile has grown “exponentially” since MrBeast Burger began, thanks in part to the brand itself. It also said “VDC consistently strives to improve quality and customer satisfaction,” and that the negative reviews cited by MrBeast came from a small minority of customers.

A representative for MrBeast declined to comment on VDC’s statement.

VDC was founded in 2018 by restaurateur Robert Earl, his son Robbie Earl and Trish Giordano, the longtime head of sales and marketing at Earl Enterprises. It specializes in virtual brands with celebrity tie-ins, including Pardon My Cheesesteak and Buddy V’s Cake Slice. These brands are operated by existing restaurants for delivery and pickup only via third-party delivery apps or branded websites, with the restaurants sharing some of the revenue with VDC.

MrBeast Burger has been VDC's most successful venture to date. But cracks in its partnership with MrBeast began to appear in June, when he tweeted he was “moving on” from MrBeast Burger over quality-control issues. He later deleted the tweets, and MrBeast Burger has continued to operate.

On Wednesday, VDC confirmed that it’s “business as usual” for MrBeast Burger. “We look forward to serving many more happy customers,” it said.

As for the face of the brand, “he will face the consequences in court when VDC files its claims against him,” VDC said.

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