A snacking stickler is suing TGI Fridays, claiming the restaurant chain’s potato skin snacks — bags of which are sold in stores and vending machines across the country — aren’t actually potato skins at all. Just a mishmash of “potato flakes” or “potato starch.”
Solange Troncoso of the Bronx brought the Manhattan federal court suit, stating she purchased a bag of TGI Fridays Sour Cream and Onion Potato Skins from a Bronx bodega for $1.99, but claims that she wouldn’t have done so had she known the product didn’t contain real potato skins.
“The presence of potato skins imparts a further value in the eyes of reasonable consumers,” the complaint states.
Troncoso alleges that the company is trying to cash in on the fact that most snackers see potato skins, which TGI Fridays offers as an appetizer in its eateries, as a nutritious option compared with standard convenience-store fare.
In the complaint Troncoso asserts, “The Idaho Potato Commission and others inside and outside the industry have associated potato skins with healthy eating since they started appearing on restaurant menus a half-century ago.”
Under federal law, the suit states, a food is deemed misbranded if it is an imitation of another food but does not contain a label stating that it isn’t real.
“What you’re eating is a very processed product,” said C.K. Lee, an attorney representing Troncoso who has attracted headlines — or ire, in the case of some businesses — for lawsuits over disabled access to Web sites and misleading food packaging.
The private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners became majority owner of the Carrollton, Texas-based restaurant company in 2014.
TGI Fridays did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- With Reuters