A California woman is suing P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., claiming the chain’s gluten-free menu pricing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In the lawsuit, moved last week to U.S. District Court for Northern California in San Jose, Calif., plaintiff Anna Marie Phillips claimed the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based chain violates civil and disability rights by requiring gluten-free diners to pay higher prices.
A P.F. Chang’s spokeswoman said Monday in an email, “The company does not comment on pending litigation.”
The lawsuit, originally filed Dec. 9 in Santa Clara County Superior Court, seeks a class action and contends that P.F. Chang’s menu discriminates against consumers with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Court documents indicated a tentative May hearing in the case.
“Although P.F. Chang’s well-publicized gluten-free menu charges one additional dollar per item, it doesn’t add surcharges for accommodations on its regular menu items,” noted a report on the complaint in Legal Newsline.
Phillips’ suit claimed surcharges for gluten-free items were added to items that were naturally gluten free.
Phillips’ attorneys, Anthony J. Orshansky and Justin Kachadoorian of CounselOne PC in Beverly Hills, Calif., did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
The suit seeks a class action on behalf of diners with celiac disease or gluten intolerance who ordered items from P.F. Chang’s gluten-free menu in California during the past four years.
The lawsuit asks for an injunction against further gluten-free menu item surcharges, restitution for the surcharges paid, and undesignated civil penalties and compensatory damages.
At the end of 2013, the privately held P.F. Chang’s had 211 casual-dining Bistro units in the U.S., with sales of about $899.6 million, according to Nation’s Restaurant News’ most recent Top 100 census. At the end of the same period, the company also had 199 units of sister concept Pei Wei Asian Diner, including eight franchised locations, with systemwide U.S. sales of $332.6 million.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is owned by Centerbridge Partners LP, a private-equity firm.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless