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The owner of Taco Bell at Circle Centre Mall is suing to stop the development of a Taco Bell Cantina downtown

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Taco Bell Cantina is a planned downtown Taco Bell site that blends the fast food chain’s typical Mexican-style dishes with alcoholic beverages, an open kitchen, and a special menu. The franchisee who runs the Taco Bell within the Circle Centre Mall is trying to stop its introduction.

The new Taco Bell Cantina poses a risk to the existing Taco Bell, which is located on the third floor of the mall, according to a lawsuit filed by the Alfarah Restaurant Group in Marion County Superior Court. This is because both restaurants are within a tenth of a mile of each other and serve “the same or substantially similar Taco Bell food,” which means that they cater to the same potential customers.

The lawsuit alleges that this violates the Indiana Deceptive Franchise Practices Act and creates unfair competition for the Taco Bell restaurant at Circle Centre Mall.

A Taco Bell executive’s email to the Alfarah Restaurant Group is part of the case. It claims that Taco Bell approved the new cantina restaurant’s site because the mall eatery was deemed a “captive” location.

According to Taco Bell, “captive” sites are eateries that mostly serve patrons who are traveling to or from malls.

However, the Alfarah Restaurant Group refuted the notion that the mall restaurant is “captive,” claiming that Circle Centre Taco Bell uses downtown skywalks to attract office workers and hotel guests as well as convention attendees, with the latter group contributing to a spike in sales during lunch and dinner, “demonstrating that the Restaurant’s sales are not limited to shoppers at the mall.”

The lawsuit further asserts that their license agreement never described the mall site as “captive.”

The Alfarah Restaurant Group has requested a permanent injunction from the court to stop the Taco Bell Catina from opening to protect the Circle Centre Mall outlet from “irreparable harm.”

The Taco Bell Cantina, which is situated on the ground floor of the Lieber Building at 24 W. Washington Street, has not yet officially announced its opening date, but it intends to open by the time the NBA All-Star game festivities begin in Indianapolis in February 2024.

A request for comment from Taco Bell was not answered.

 

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