The Double Double is a big-selling menu item at the six Plan B Burger Bar locations, including the original store in West Hartford. So, naturally we’d expect a fight when a giant West Coast chain informed Plan B that it owns the rights to use the Double Double name for burgers.
Far from it. In fact, Plan B was thrilled to receive a request from In-N-Out, the chain of more than 275 stores based in Irvine, Cal., to stop using the DOUBLE-DOUBLE burger name.
“In-N-Out has used the DOUBLE DOUBLE mark since at least as early as 1963 in association with sandwiches, hamburgers and restaurant service. In-N-Out also owns several federal trademark registrations for DOUBLE DOUBLE,” the chain said in a letter last week to Plan B.
Plan B, in response, will change the name of its menu item to Double D.
“The letter was polite and we’ll certainly reach out to them,” said Al Gamble, a partner in Hartford-based Local 8 Restaurant Group, which owns Plan B and Tisane and the Half-Door in the West End. “They do a wonderful job and we respect them.”
Gamble and his colleagues at Plan B said they were unaware of the In-N-Out Double Double — sometimes spelled with all-capital letters, or with a hyphen — when they launched theirs in 2006, featuring 16 ounces of beef in two patties, plus double cheddar.
Plan B has gained some notice lately, especially as part of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest-growing privately owned companies. “It’s nice to sort of be recognized by the big dogs in this industry,” said Rachel Hurvitz, design and media manager for Local 8.
It’s an admirable reaction by Local 8, which could possibly have mounted a battle in the complex world of trademark law. Click here for video commentary.
Plan B is a more upscale burger, with its company guarantee of “verified humane” treatment of animals and farm workers. For its part, In-N-Out, founded in 1948, pays employees at its more than 275 locations better than other fast-food joints.
No question, the In-N-Out Double Double has made its mark out West — it’s California’s listing on the Health Magazine list of “The 50 Fattiest Foods in the States.” What’s Connecticut’s entry? The 2-foot-long hot dog at Doogie’s.
The In-N-Out trademark is for burgers, sandwiches and restaurant service. It doesn’t prevent the National Basketball Association from promoting its Double-Double, the feat of scoring double-figures in points along with double-figures in assists, steals or rebounds. Karl Malone is the all-time leader, followed by Shaquille O’Neal — and those guys could eat a lot of Double Doubles at Plan B or In-N-Out, for sure.