Millionaire George Sombono has no intention of relinquishing his crown as South Africa's fried-chicken king. The Chicken Licken tycoon, who has generated over R823m from the sale of 37.8 million hot wings, has lodged an application in the High Court in Durban to stop fast-food owner Grant Harvey using the term "shisa wings" on his signage and menus.
Harvey's spicy drumsticks and winglets have become the fastest selling items on the menu of his company, Big Jo's. He declined to disclose how many "shisa wings" his five outlets sell a week.
Sombono's lawyers, Ron Wheeldon Attorneys, say "shisa wings" is a Zulu translation of hot wings.
Chicken Licken, which has 200 outlets and a R1.3bn annual turnover, introduced hot wings into its menus in 1992.
In court papers, Sombono said: "It is difficult to believe that Big Jo's decision-makers would be unaware of a brand as strong in the South African market place as hot wings. I presume Big Jo's chose to utilise Chicken Licken's hot wings to take advantage of its desirable reputation. Each time Chicken Licken advertises the hot wing products, it advertises and promotes Big Jo's product."
In an e-mail, Harvey told the Sunday Times that he would be making the necessary changes to his menus and signage.
"We feel flattered that a big company such as Chicken Licken feel threatened by our brand. we are making our presence felt. It's no wonder they are scuttling around," he said.
He added: "We have amended our wing description to just 'wings'."
"I am now thinking of opening my new stores next door to Chicken Licken outlets."
Judge Themba Sishi has given Harvey until next Thursday to explain why Big Jo's should not be restrained from using the hot wings and shisa wings trademark.
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