In a letter from representatives of the leaseholder, the owners are asked to remove its branding from the front of the building which was erected ‘without the permission or authority from our client to do so.’
Owner Adrian Jones told BigHospitality that the situation is a ‘storm in a coffee cup’ and that the sign had an instant impact.
“I was on holiday last year and I’d had a bottle of wine, and I text my maintenance man to put a sign up saying ‘Fuckoffee’, and I didn’t have any internet, so when I got back it had all gone wild,” he said.
“When we originally did the sign sales went up instantly by 20 per cent, so it was good for business. We were in talks with Gordon Ramsay to roll the brand out, but we looked into it and didn’t think we’d legally be able to do it.”
Having spoken to his solicitor, Jones plans to take the sign down today and put a new one up tomorrow (Friday 23 October).
All publicity is good publicity
Tristan Duncan, partner and head of the dispute resolution team at commercial and private law firm MLP Law, told BigHospitality that companies need to be wary of using offensive words in their names.
“The use of a business name is regulated by Part 41 of the Companies Act 2006 and The Company and Business Names (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009. This means that companies need to tread very carefully when using words that may cause offence,” he said.
“If the name really is a big part of the company brand, then perhaps they can come up with a creative alternative that is not offensive and not in use already – Forcoffee?”
Duncan had advice for other businesses that may find themselves in the same situation.
“I recommend a swift name change before any more expense on a brand that cannot be used is incurred.”
Since posting the letter on Twitter, Fuckoffee has seen an overwhelming response from people offering support.
While others can see the leaseholder's point:
And some people have offered their own suggestions: