If you promise someone a sandwich with steak and eggs, and that person pays for a sandwich with steak and eggs, you better serve them a sandwich with a slice of red-blooded steak with eggs. Otherwise, they might sue you for false advertising. OK, that sounds dramatic, but meet Chufen Chen from Queens, New York, who filed a new lawsuit against Dunkin' Donuts in which she and her lawyers are claiming that there's no steak in Dunkin' Donuts' Angus Steak and Egg Sandwich. As Grub Street reports, Chen apparently came to this conclusion after reading the list of ingredients for the "steak" sandwich in question.
It turns out that steak is defined by the US Department of Agriculture as a "'product [which] consists of a boneless slice or strip of poultry meat of the kind indicated.'" The meat that's served on the Dunkin' Donuts Angus Steak and Egg Sandwich, the complaint elaborates, is "rather a beef patty, an inferior product of minced meat which contains 'fillers and binders.'" According to Chen's complaint, which was filed in Brooklyn federal court this week, this is the reason that the so-called "steak" in the Dunkin' Donuts Angus Steak and Egg Sandwich cannot be legally considered steak. It's not a slice of meat, it's a patty—and those are two totally different beef products.
Chen's complaint with Dunkin' also has to do with the advertising campaign around this sandwich. In these TV ads, the meat in the sandwich is repeatedly referred to as "steak," not a "beef steak patty." As the lawyers write, "A reasonable customer understands Defendant’s 'Steak' claims to mean that the Products feature Angus 'steak,' and not burgers or patties." And when you've got a TV ad that uses the phrase "steak and eggs" at least 15 times in 30 seconds, you would be reasonable to think it's steak and eggs that's being sold, not a different kind of beef.
The real injury here, according to the lawsuit, is that these steak and egg sandwiches cost more than a regular Dunkin' breakfast sandwich with a beef patty—about 50 or 60 cents more. The suit also proposes a class-action, for others who may feel they have been wronged by false meat advertising. Extra Crispy has reached out to Dunkin' Donuts to see if they have any comment about the state of their Angus steak and will update this story with any additional comment.
Update: A spokesperson from Dunkin' Brands responded via email, writing, "We are unable to comment at this time due to pending litigation."