James Donaldson aka Mr. Beast, one of the most popular YouTube stars in the world, is suing the virtual kitchen company he partnered with after fans complained about poor-quality food being delivered to their homes. Mr. Beast says that the company sacrificed quality control in order to expand as quickly as possible.
In 2020, Mr. Beast partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts, a company that specializes in “ghost kitchen” restaurants that use other, established eateries—like Macaroni Grill or Brio Italian Garden—to produce branded items that are then sold via food delivery apps like Uber Eats or Door Dash. In December of 2020, Mr. Beast Burgers launched around the country and I was tricked into ordering one. (And then the same thing happened to the wonderful and forever great Mike Fahey.) The burger I ordered was pretty bland, not great, and too expensive for what I got in the end. But at least it was cooked and not raw beef slapped on a bun, which is what some fans seem to have received after placing their order for a Beast Burger.
As reported by Bloomberg, Mr. Beast has sued Virtual Dining, claiming in the lawsuit that his fans have been leaving negative reviews, calling the burgers “disgusting,” “revolting,” and “inedible.” In the lawsuit the influencer states that he complained about the issues but Virtual Dining Concepts didn’t seem to care.
Kotaku has contacted Virtual Dining Concepts about the lawsuit.
Mr. Beast and his legal team allege in the suit that Virtual Dining Concepts wasn’t concerned about quality issues or angry fans but instead was focused on rapidly expanding its company and using Mr. Beast Burgers as a way to pitch the idea to other famous actors and celebrities. Since the Beast Burger deal, Virtual Dining Concepts has created similar branded ghost kitchen offerings for NASCAR and Mariah Carey.
It’s also claimed by Mr. Beast that Virtual Dining Concepts used his image on social media without permission and even registered some trademarks related to his brand that were outside the scope of the contract. Mr. Beast is asking the court for the right to completely terminate the business deal.