A brief study in how the Lion’s Tap could have had its burger and eaten it too.
I have to say, in the interest of full disclosure, I have an irrational love for the Lion’s Tap.
Ever since I worked in Eden Prairie back in the 1990s, I’ve been hooked. Fast forward the better part of a decade, put our family a cool 35 miles away in Shoreview, and we still find ourselves driving nearly an hour on special occasions to grab a burger.
That’s part of what made me so damn mad when I saw McDonald’s latest billboards. Who’s your patty? For Angus burgers? You’ve got to be kidding. Lion’s Tap is "my" patty, thank you very much! They’ve had the slogan on their tastefully tacky t-shirts for over four years.
I thought about it though. I know Lion’s Tap. But my guess is that only a small smattering of people do (perhaps 3-4% of the Twin Cities population if you were to survey). Who are they going to think came up with the slogan? And if they walked into Lion’s Tap tomorrow, who would you think was ripping off whom? That’s right. You guessed it.
It bugged me. I was a bit upset. I was ready to come to my restaurant’s defense.
Until they sued.
You can read more here, but the fact of the matter is that Lion’s Tap decided to run to the courts to remedy what is calls a trademark infringement case.
Here’s the problem, instead of coming off as the victim (which you could argue Lion’s Tap is), they come off as another coffee-in-the-crotch, show-me-the-money, lawsuit-happy opportunist. Just read some of the news stories and read some of the comments to see what I mean, here, here, and here.
Let’s explore what Lion’s Tap "could have" done differently, and how it might have panned out.