Korean taco wars heat up
The Wall Street Journal posted a blog about a possible trademark fight between large, mega-restaurant Baja Fresh and the up-and-coming Korean taco truck sensation, Kogi. It appears they picked up the story from the Orange County Mexican Restaurants blog.
What’s the problem? Well, according to the WSJ, last month Baja Fresh market-tested a Korean-style taco at one of its restaurants in Orange County. Baja Fresh is tentatively calling their new creation “the Baja Kogi taco”, which appears to be in direct competition with the popular LA Taco truck sensation.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery however, there’s a fine line between imitation and duplication and some wonder if Baja Fresh might have crossed that line. As the WSJ blog points out,
Research and development staff from the chain did sample the tacos at the Kogi truck, but didn’t copy the recipe, Mr. Rink says. It created its own Korean taco using steak and chicken.
Stella, a commentor on the WSJ blog said,
“kimchi slaw and sesame salsa roja” never heard of that being inside of a taco until Chef Roy created it. They could have at least named it something else.
If this is the case, this trademark battle could really heat up if Baja Fresh doesn’t make some significant changes to their new Korean fusion creation before they market it nationwide.
UPDATE: According to the OC Register, Baja Fresh is planning to change the name of their Korean tacos from Kogi to Gogi. Here’s a quote from Baja Fresh’s PR man.
Rather, we were under the impression that “Kogi” was the generic word for Korean BBQ style. We have since learned “Gogi” is the general word and will be moving to change our naming to Gogi, for the Irvine store, and for any future roll outs of these products.
We admire greatly the success and popularity of the food items from the Kogi taco truck, and Korean BBQ style food overall.
Viva La Korean food!