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Friday, March 9, 2012

Is "i" the New "Mc"? The Rise of the iRestaurant

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 8:15 AM

click to enlarge iThai's interior even looks like Apple helped design it. - YELP
  • Yelp
  • iThai's interior even looks like Apple helped design it.

Two weeks ago, the Weekly reviewed iSkewers, a now three-month-old restaurant serving skewers and dumplings in the Outer Sunset. iSkewers (2407 Judah) opened in the same month as iThai (720 Post) and iCreation (1139 Taraval), and there's also a new iDumpling in Redwood City. This week, a tea-and-waffle shop named iCrave (1915 Irving) opened. Why isn't Apple iSuing?

After all, McDonald's famously goes after anyone who uses the prefix "Mc" in front of its name -- old-timers will remember that We Be Sushi originally opened as McSushi -- and the fast-food giant sued Homeroom for originally trying to name itself "Little Mac." (A Malaysian restaurant named McCurry managed to defeat McDonald's by claiming the "Mc" stood for "Malaysian Chicken.")

But Apple, which has built its brand on i-Themed products, hasn't taken the same tack. After all, the music-sharing service iLike was allowed to operate without a trademark-infringement lawsuit, and Apple is even having trouble defending the iPad trademark in China.

Wasn't "i" originally supposed to be a shortcut for something, the way "e" stood for "electronic"? If iThai, iCreation, iCrave, and iSkewers really want to convince customers they're part of the internet generation, they should, you know, get a website.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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