Trader Joes vs. Trader John’s
At last night’s hamburger talk, Andrew Smith talked at length about White Castle. While the burger chain may now be a punch-line for stoner movies, it was the first fast food restaurant in America and up to World War II was widely imitated.
More than imitated, actually. Smith mentioned a now-defunct restaurant chain called White Tower. Below is a picture of a White Tower on the left and White Castle on the right. Besides the white brick theme, White Tower had even copied the insignias in the brick.
White Castle was not flattered by all this imitation and sued White Tower, showing that White Tower had hired the same designers as White Castle and would take pictures of White Castles to stay up on design. White Tower managed to drag the court case around long enough to build a small burger empire but, as Smith said, when White Castle finally won, it spelled the doom of White Tower.
The case reminded me of a story I saw today concerning Trader Joe’s.