It’s official: Applebee’s accuser also sues Brinker over menu disclosure

DALLAS The same consumer who last week filed a class-action lawsuit against Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar for allegedly misrepresenting the nutritional content of its health-oriented menu choices has filed a similar suit against Brinker International Inc.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, alleges menu items at Brinker’s Chili’s Grill & Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina units understated calorie counts, fat grams and carbohydrates for certain menu items.

A spokeswoman for Brinker said she could not comment on pending litigation.

Lead plaintiff Anne Paskett of Seattle, Wash., also represented in the Applebee’s case by the Seattle law firm of Breskin Johnson & Townsend PLLC, said the Brinker chains engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices in advertising some items on Chili’s “Guiltless Grill,” Macaroni Grill’s “Sensible Fare” and On the Border’s “Border Smart” menus.

The lawsuit claims, for example, that the Chili’s Guiltless Grill salmon, contained 35.5 grams of fat rather than the 14 as advertised.

Reports had surfaced after the Applebee’s filing that Paskett had also sued Brinker, but neither the Chili’s parent nor Breskin Johnson would confirm those accounts.

As of the end of the third quarter in April, Brinker had 1,868 restaurants, including 1,439 Chili’s, 244 Macaroni Grills 163 On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantinas and 42 Maggiano’s Little Italy units.

Applebee’s of Lenexa, Kan., operates or franchises about 1,990 restaurants worldwide. The brand is owned by Glendale, Calif.-based DineEquity Inc., also the parent of the IHOP family-dining chain.