• Muma Vegetarian: We Smell Trouble Ahead

    82
    July 5th, 2009mr meanerLA restaurants, muma (NOT VEGETARIAN)

    “We don’t need to go looking for trouble, it comes looking for us…” – Oscar Wilde

    muma-maoz-logos

    Don’t you just hate it when you see something you like ripped off, and hard working people’s livelihoods threatened?

    Back in 1991 two Israeli emgres, Nachman and Sima Milo, opened their very first Maoz restaurant in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With a menu designed to be healthy, vegetarian, environmentally friendly, inexpensive and very tasty, the Milos quickly had a hit on their hands.

    Now, Maoz has 22 restaurants globally. The outlets in London and Paris have a long line outside the door most days, and the Union Square outlet in Manhattan is often so crowded that it feels more like the subway station underneath than it does a modern eatery!

    As we reported on Wednesday, we were delighted with the apparent opening of a Maoz franchise location here in LA called Muma Vegetarian. The similarity of menu, corporate branding, restaurant ambience and artwork implied to us that this was a Maoz location, only named differently because of its close proximity to Mao’s Kitchen, a popular (vegan-friendly) Chinese restaurant half a block away. Have a look for yourself and compare Muma’s menu with the menu from Maoz. Nearly identical.

    Determined to see if there was a connection, we visited Muma again this weekend, posing as regular customers, and began to ask some questions. The conversation went something like this:

    QG: “This place is great! Are you part of Maoz?”

    Manager: “That’s the third time I’ve heard that today. Look, there are places like this on every corner in Israel, OK?”

    QG: “We were wondering because this place is identical to Maoz, except for the name. Who owns the restaurant?”

    Manager: “Err… it’s three people who own this restaurant.”

    QG: “Would you be kind enough to give us contact details, we’d like to know if you’re part of Maoz and have plans for more openings?”

    Manager: “I don’t know about Maoz, and what’s in it for me if I give you the ‘phone number of the owners?”

    QG: “Well, there’s nothing in it for you personally, but I’m sure they’d like to talk to us about their future plans.”

    Manager: “Why would I do that? Are you trying to sell me something?”

    At that point the manager was getting very defensive and a little loud (he even stepped out from behind the counter and led us to a table where he sat down so that the conversation could not be heard by others in the restaurant). Fearing that he might ask us to leave, we said “OK, no problem – was just wondering if you were part of Maoz. That’s all.”.

    Shortly after, we noticed the manager in the back room. He was glaring at us through a window in the door while engaged in an animated ‘phone call – we guessed it was with one of the three owners. Just as we were finishing up our meal he came from around the back of the counter and gave us a portion of pumpkin hummus and warm pita bread. He said: “Please accept this on the house. We make it here and call it Smashing Pumpkins.”. We wolfed down a few bites and left the restaurant right away.

    As soon as we got home, we posted THIS COMMENT on the original post, and sent an email to Maoz corporate in NYC to enquire about the legitimacy of this outlet. Our comment sparked a few more in the same vain, and then this morning, we received the following response from the COO of Maoz USA:

    “Thank you for your email. We have nothing to do with this restaurant. I was shocked to read your review and to find out that someone took advantage and copied the Maoz Vegetarian concept. By leveraging our brand values and look and feel they are creating confusion with our chain.”

    We were, frankly shocked as well. Muma appears to be shamelessly copying Maoz in great detail.

    Almost identical menus at Maoz Vegetarian & Muma Vegetarian

    Almost identical menus at Maoz Vegetarian & Muma Vegetarian

    From the look and feel of the food down to near-pixel perfect copies of their menu items, artwork and corporate identity.

    Menu artwork is almost identical at Muma Vegetarian & Maoz Vegetarian

    Menu artwork is almost identical at Muma Vegetarian & Maoz Vegetarian

    While we were originally impressed with the food, we wonder why anybody would want to eat at a restaurant owned by people with such a lack of integrity that they would brazenly steal another company’s entire identity. If they are that shameless, we’re sure the quality of the food is also suspect.

    The Maoz Falafel vs The Muma Falafel

    The Maoz Falafel vs The Muma Falafel

    Until Maoz deal with Muma (and we’re sure that there are plenty of intellectual property issues here that I’m sure lawyers would love to get their hands on), we’d advise potential customers to stay away. After all, we can’t support such acts now, can we?

    muma vegetarian
    7275 melrose avenue
    los angeles, ca 90046
    323-936-7697

    Tags: , , ,
 

81 responses to “Muma Vegetarian: We Smell Trouble Ahead” RSS icon

  • way to potentially ruin another healthy, vegan option for us…i understand calling out the restaurants that were serving suspect items, but now you just come off like an all-around cop.

    and cops suck.

  • Fuck Muma. I also had a run-in last week with the dude behind the counter about Maoz. He got totally defensive and rude when I asked him about Maoz. That’s what I call a guilty conscience. I am never going back again. I hope Maoz sue their fucking asses into oblivion.

  • @Gina – nothing stopping you going there, and nowhere have we criticized the food. How could that possibly be ruined for you, and why should we not bring this to everybody’s attention?

    Cops can suck, but if you were being chased down an alleyway at night the thing you would want to see the most in front of you would be a cop car.

    People like you who make generalizations are lame. (how about that for a generalization!)

  • and another thing. Maoz is a franchise operation – you could open a sanctioned Maoz restaurant really easily. why anybody would be too cheap to consider that is beyond me.

  • miss anthrope

    gina: dude, go eat at muma all you want! why on earth would you let us stop you? as far as i know, it’s vegan…so enjoy.

    we would be doing everyone (including maoz, the originator of this awesome restaurant idea) a disservice by holding back our information.

    the truth hurts only if it oughta.

  • Not sure what to say to this one. I love that Muma is certified Kosher. The people there were great when we went. I agree on the copyright issue and image issue. It’s wrong but not wholly my problem. I wonder, is it possible that there is a designer who both companies hired to create the image? Just a thought.

  • Sure, rather than come up with your own restaurant concept–just rip off someone elses. (Are you listening, Baja Fresh?)

    I agree this information belongs out there. Another “brava” for quarrygirl.

  • WTF is up with people. So many people steal shit and it’s not cool – all of the Thai places stealing from pia, veggie grill stealing a lot of stuff from native foods (but I’ll still eat there), now this place… Imagine how much more awesome food we’d have if these people were original. I’d stiill want to eat at this place if they weren’t such shady creeps about it.

  • Off to muma right now for the first time. Am taking a color printout of this blog post. I will show it to them on the way out and see what they say. Stay tuned.

    J

  • How incredibly disappointing! I went for lunch on Friday and thought the falafel was really good… Hate that my favorite international chain of restaurants is being ripped off in the process. Wish it would just become a Maoz.

  • Tamara, I think this goes beyond just a designer issue, because the menus are the same as well. I couldn’t believe when I clicked on the Maoz menu and every single combo was the same, down to details like “Add juice for $1 extra”.

    I have been to the Maoz in NYC several times, and I have always wished they would open up in LA. Muma should have just been upfront and opened a legit Maoz location.

    And, I have never heard of an employee being standoffish when you ask to speak to the owner. That whole situation smells shady
    Get it together, Muma!

  • I wrote to 2 different e-mail addresses on Maoz’s website a few weeks ago asking them if their falafel balls were gluten-free or not (some are, some aren’t). They never wrote back one way or the other. So I don’t feel like Maoz are particularly heroic right now.

  • What a bust 🙁 I knew it sounded too good to be true. As a designer myself I’m amazed by the audacity of them to so obviously copy the original designs from Moaz… that ripped off menu alone, not to mention the packaging and everything else, is going to land these people with the lawsuit of a lifetime. Good for you for bringing it to the attention of Moaz.

    I love how Gina claims you’ve “ruin(ed) another healthy, vegan option for us”. What the hell is she talking about? The only thing you guys have “ruined” is the illusion that some of theses places in town claiming to vegan really are, and other than that, your blog has put mnay of the vegetarian & vegan places that Gina likes to eat at on the map. Gina, why don’t you just go back to eating your “healthy” mystery food from Taiwan at the shady “vegan” Thai places in town and quietly be on your way? You obviously don’t want to know what’s going on with the places you like to eat at, so why bother coming to this blog just to leave your whiny comments? The irony is that hardly no one, including Gina, had even heard about Muma until you wrote about it just days ago, but now little Miss Fuck-da-Police has her panties in a bunch because you’ve put forth more information.

    Thank you guys once again for exposing the truth. People like Gina who don’t want to know what’s really going on can keep on having their head in the sand. Moaz is a great concept and I’m not going to go give my money to some rip off company like Muma who are blatantly stealing their ideas while getting rich off of gullible vegetarians & vegans. There’s plenty of real falafel places I can go to instead (which mostly likely have much better falafel anyways) who aren’t stealing from anyone, and there’s also about a million other “healthy, vegan options for us” out there that are legitimate and honest.

    Fuck the haters and please keep on doing what you do.

  • wow. you guys should also do a blog on the fact that you stole the whole “vegan food blog” idea from super vegan.. then we could have all the people who come here, email you to let you know how bad it sucks to copy someone else idea! and then we can boycott this website so that nobody ever comes here and it shuts down! yea that would be rad

    think about it!

  • the content is original.

  • It’s awfully nice of Jemas to give SuperVegan credit for creating restaurant food blogging, I’m sure they appreciate it. I’m sure they also find that as laughable as the rest of us do. Dude, if you’re going to attempt to look smart and make a point, at least have it be a valid one and don’t make an ass of yourself.

    In the meantime, while this guy is going on about something he knows nothing about, SuperVegan has a big plug and link for quarrygirl.com right on their homepage.

  • Jemas: I guess Super Vegan’s not too upset about Quarrygirl. Samantha Cohen wrote a huge piece about QG’s “Operation Pancake” on the Super Vegan home page.

  • Wha? That comparison would only make sense had quarrygirl copied supervegan’s logo and layout. Weak attempt at an insult.

    Anyway, just gonna toss it out there that my favorite falafel is at Pita Pita in Pasadena. They don’t have the glossy interior/salad bar thing going on but it’s tasty and inexpensive.

  • I totally agree with Foodeater – there are so many great independent falafel places in the city, why support a corporate rip-off! Just drive down fairfax and you can find some great falafel! Support a local independent establishment where most likely you can speak to the owner directly and they are typically more than happy to discuss ingredients and cooking techniques extensively with you, in my experience…

  • Setting aside the fact that the menu and branding are almost identical, there’s no reason for the employees to be so rude to customers. When you’ve discovered a new place, wouldn’t it be normal to chitchat and ask questions about the ownership?

    All fast food places are somewhat derivative of each other, so I don’t think I would avoid a place because it’s similar to another chain I’ve never been to. However I would definitely avoid a place where the management is so weird and evasive. If they’re not going to tell me who the owners are, should I trust them to tell me whether there’s yogurt in the falafel?

  • I have a question. For those of you who are vegans (I’m a vegetarian, but will only eat at all veggie places or kosher as I and my husband won’t eat where meat and milk are prepped together–of course there are always a few exceptions; like going on a cruise tomorrow). Anyway, I totally appreciate QuarryGirl and her sharing some great restaurants with us. I also appreciate knowing about these vegan places because Vegan is great but if it’s all shipped from Taiwan, there are other ecological and environmental impacts that I think are crucial to consider.

    Anyway, I got off track. For you total vegans, how do you justify eating at “vegan friendly” restaurants; like another falaffel place that may have vegan foods but are prepped on teh same surfaces and with same utensils as other products?

    Just curious because I so would love to eat at more of the vegan “friendly” spots but since they serve non-kosher meat, I just can’t do it. And no, we are not Orthodox Jews, just urban environmentally and socially concious (most of the time) people who connect in that way.

  • @jemas – WTF? you are completely nuts. I became an ardent fan of Supervegan long after becoming involved with this blog. Also, are you so stupid that you don’t realize that every visitor here costs money? There’s no advertising or revenue, so the less assholes like you that visit this blog the better.

  • Just throwing Falafel Palace out there. It’s on Reseda in Northridge, just north of Nordhoff. I discovered it about a year and a half after starting graduate classes at CSUN. I can’t believe it took so long! The regular falafel pita is about $5, and you can also get hummus, avocado, etc on it. They have a small salad bar with cabbage, super hot greek peppers, and the like. And they give you a fucking bottle of tahini to take to your table! The pita is huge. Just saying. I love it. So if you’re ever in the central valley… Plus they’ve been in business for about 30 years.

  • cops suck.

    So do shady copy-cats.

  • Unauthorized use of other people’s creative work without permission sucks.

    So it’s interesting QuarryGirl.com blogrolls RecordingLA.blogspot.com .

    RecordingLA claims it doesn’t offer “bootlegs,” but that’s what it does:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleg_recording

    If bands agree to let RecordingLA distribute copies of live performance, the blog should make that clear, but the “please don’t call them bootlegs” request indicates permission was likely not granted.

    QuarryGirl.com ought to consider pulling the link given their attitudes toward unauthorized use of original content.

    Right?

  • Go to Pita Kitchen at Ventura and Van Nuys. Tell them you’re vegan. Their falafel wrap is awesome. Abe the owner is really cool and loves vegans.

  • avengingwatcher

    observer, decent point, but it doesn’t invalidate that original point that copyright infringement made to intentionally dupe customers and misrepresent affiliation actually breaks more laws due to the commercial nature. Also bootleg music/music file sharing has been shown to increase profitability of companies, despite their claims to the opposite, which are based (admittedly)entirely on conjecture and guesswork.

    @jemas nice miss of what copyright infringement is since you can’t copyright an idea, though you could patent it, which is entirely different and must go through a ridiculously pointless processwhich leads to stupid lawsuits because patents like http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6058887.html are granted.

  • I’m going to have to agree with Gina on this one. The concept of boycotting a vegetarian food establishment is utter madness. Never mind the fact that almost ALL food establishments beg, borrow, and steal concepts from other establishments… Uh Pinkberry anyone? How many other places have you seen called Berry something and happened to have an interior designed completely similar to that of Pinkberry and are serving soft serve with fruit.

  • woooooowwwwwwwwww…..how much hate out here…i really dont got the point of all this! u seem to be 2 bored . i suggest you go to any yougrt place and accuse them of riping pinkberry or go to in and out and compare them to mcdonald or zara to forever21 or…….and the list goes on and on and on…i suggest you get a live

  • For all you know this is a Mossad front…

  • “i suggest you get a live”

    Very well put lora, very well put indeed. Your witty and decisive comment no doubt has the folks at quarrygirl.com reconsidering everything now that you’ve put your intelligent and fact-based spin on things.

    I mean of course, how did no one see that McDonalds and In-n-Out are exactly the same… right down to the totally different foods offering, the totally different menus design and the completely dissimilar restaurants, logos and concepts? It’s so obvious now that you’ve pointed it out! Truly brilliant observations you’ve made, hopefully you will share more of your wisdom with us before this is all said and done.

    I’ll say this much, the comments section at QuarryGirl sure does attract the cream of the crop!

  • @avengingwatcher, I never sought to ‘invalidate’ the point (it is undeniable that müma deserves whatever the fallout is for their egregious misappropriation), I merely expanded on it. Your claims about bootlegging are conjecture and guesswork. It is illegal, it is immoral (when the band does not grant permission) and it is inconsistent on the part of an otherwise excellent blog to link to someone stealing & disseminating copyrighted content. That is all.

  • miss anthrope

    observer: link pulled. i just had that site up anyways as a favor to someone. i don’t condone stealing music, so thanks for pointing that out.

  • Who cares?

    Let the Maoz lawyers handle it.

  • avengingwatcher

    @observer, I believe you misread me. I wasn’t arguing legality of bootlegging, or your interpretation of it. Just pointed out the differences. While I understood what you meant, hence why I said you made a decent point, the legality of file sharing under fair use, etc, ad nauseum is still under debate in the courts. File sharers, who don’t support artists actually make up very little of the actual consumer base, shown by increasing profits…you know this isn’t the right forum for this blog. We’ll have to continue this offline sometime.

  • This is not ok! I work for a franchise and it is not easy and definitely not cheap to get a franchise up and running successfully, and for someone to walk into town and just rip Maoz off is disgusting. Why didn’t they just open a regular vegetarian falafel place. Or why didn’t they just contact Maoz and open a franchise. Obviously these guys are not “Kosher” therefore I find it very hard to believe that their food is Kosher and that their products are actually vegan and or vegetarian. These people are Imposters, and they are rude to boot! When we tried to get a hold of the owners to discuss it with them they were rude and unapologetic. To top it all off they give Israeli people a very bad name!

  • Ok, I guess I can see the problem this could present for Maoz and the confusion it would cause for their customers except, are they even in LA? I hadn’t even heard of them until your previous post. I’m not sure why Muma would copy their brand and menu right down to the graphics (I’m with you there) but I guess I don’t see the difference between this and any other place that pretends to be Pinkberry or Tommy’s Burgers (not that any of us would eat there). It’s just one of those things that happens in the restaurant business and however unethical it may be (yeah, it is) there are all sorts of shady business deals going on when it comes to being first to market. So I can only take it as business being business. And it’s perfectly okay for people to boycott accordingly if they don’t like the practices of certain businesses. Just as it’s okay for people to patron these places. The only part of this post that I do take as a major issue, is the mean and rude attitude of the manager. Even an impostor manager could’ve been kind. There’s never any reason to be rude and a jerk if you’re managing any establishment. Especially if the Maoz question has already come up and will probably keep coming up. He should’ve been prepared.

  • in israel they all look like this.

    i admit the logos look the same… but in israel the falafel places all look the same. just because maoz was the first to do it in america – it doesnt mean he was the first in the world.

    take a picture of fries in their box at mc donalds and then take a picture of the box at burger king. ::gasp:: they are identical! take a picture of the drive through at mcdonalds and then the drive through at burger king. ::gasp:: same again!

    who invented the drive through and extra value menus and jr burgers and toys with purchase and sweepstakes with meals and all of that crap??? who cares. if it works, all of the competition follows – duh

    if they took their logo – youd have a legal issue here. as of now – it just shows how silly you are for not eating food you loved because you think business is immoral. lol. good luck eating! 🙂

  • take a picture of fries in their box at mc donalds and then take a picture of the box at burger king. ::gasp::

    Oh, really now. When have you either chain so blatantly rip off ther other’s artwork as demonstrated here? Perhaps as Exhibit A in a lawsuit if it ever happened. Otherwise, I defy you to offer an example.

    Good luck searching! 🙂

  • These people coming here to defend this blatant rip off who are claiming that other places also share similarities are totally wrong. This isn’t about their stuff being “kind of similar” nor is it about the fact that other places were selling falafel first. Just because Burger King also sells french fries and has a drive through does not mean they stole something from McDonalds. What this is about is one company deliberately copying EVERYTHING, EXACTLY the same as how the originating company did it first. If you people can’t see the obvious attempt to replicate Moaz’s designs when you look at the images above, you’re either blind or stupid.

    Despite some of the truly ignorant claims that some people are making here, what Muma has done is totally illegal and I have no doubt that Moaz, now that it’s been brought to their attention, will do everything possible to make them stop… and I also have no doubt they will be successful in doing so. In case you guys haven’t heard, there are such things known as copyrights and intellectual property rights, all of which have been openly violated in this example.

  • “the mighty kids meal” developed by mc donalds in 2001 for preteens who could eat somewhere between a happy meal and regular value meal. the concept was originally burger king’s “big kids meal”.

    next…

  • Lela, you’re not getting the message.

    It’s not about concept. The concept of a falafel place isn’t original at all. No one is claiming that it is. It’s not at all unusual for multiple people/businesses to come up with the same concept. The smart ones market it in a original way which will make the consumer think that their version of the concept is better than anyone else’s version of the concept.

    It’s about stealing branding that is well known to a certain community and passing it off as original, hoping to cash in on the first company’s market. Making a few minor changes to a competitor’s graphics and saying it’s fresh and new is (loosely) akin to copying whole essays/books from another author, changing one or two words and saying that it came from your (General Your, not Specific Your) brain. That is plagiarism. What Muma did is, as Foodeater points out, violation of copyrights and intellectual property rights.

    It’s about dishonesty. It’s about being rude to your customers. It’s about being criminally clueless. Personally, I would rather not support a dishonest business with my money. There are plenty of places in this city to eat where the owners and managers are not dishonest and rude. Those are the ones that get my money.

    I suspect that you still won’t get the message, Lela. You’ve shown a decided lack of reading comprehension.

    Good luck thinking!

  • im fucking hungry

  • I totally heart Maoz! It is always my first stop after exiting Centraal Station in Amsterdam after whatever hellish flight and sadistic rendition of a airline’s vegan “meal” I have just endured.

    I once looked into how much a Maoz franchise costs and it was the area of $300-500K depending on location. The copying by Muma is so blatantly identical, it has to be some sort of middle finger to Maoz.

    And what’s with the egg on the menu? I was at a Maoz last in 2007 and the only non-vegan things were one sauce and a couple of salads.

  • In fact this reminds me of Portland’s own bitterly cloned vegan friendly food establishment: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/anna_griffin/index.ssf/2009/07/best_of_times_worst_of_times_t.html

  • i ate there today, it was awesome. i travel all the time, and LOVE MAOZ, but the fact is there is no MAOZ in LA, and this place IS a vegetarian restaurant. yes they are ripping off another place, and yes it is identical but if a place called “bozoberry” opened and was a complete rip-off of “pinkberry” but had a vegan frozen yogurt, none of us would give a fuck. i say give muma a break, the food was fantastic and maoz is WAY to expensive to franchise.

  • oh yeah, and the closest MAOZ is in Philadelphia, so unless any of you are going to drive to Philly, be stoked there is great falafel here at home.

  • @Dean: think of it this way. Say you guys are touring in Philadelphia and I know that your fans won’t make the drive out there. Sensing a fast buck, I get a friend and we book some venues as N0 Age (with a zero), taking all your songs and doing a passable but not great set. When asked if we’re anything to do with the real No Age we’d pretend we had never heard of you and that our material was original. Money in my pocket, your reputation harmed. How would you feel?

  • Dean, this is a town full of Israeli’s, Persian’s and Lebanese… there was plenty of great and far more authentic falafel in Los Angeles before these rip-off artists decided to set up shop.

    It’s pretty sad to see you of all people not only defending these scammers who are trying to pull a fast one on the vegetarian community that you support and are a part of, but also rather surprising that you’re trying to frame it as if there was no decent falafel to be had in L.A. until this knock-off place opened up.

    You might not give a fuck that your apathy about the situation would be funding a sham, but some of us do.

  • you both are right.

  • Thank you for bringing the photograph matter to our attention, your input is always welcome. We do, however wish you would have discussed the matter with us in a professional and personal conversation instead of a public forum. Constructive friendly advice is always welcome from our supporters and customers. Since we are a new business open less than a week we expect that you would show some compassion and understanding before going on an attack.

    We take pride in the excellent quality fresh food and the friendly, clean atmosphere we have created. We believe that real focus should be the food not the photos. Great food is not measured by pictures or images on walls but is measured by its quality, freshness, taste and the friendly service with which it is served. Our goal is to serve healthy and flavorful vegetarian food and we hope all your readers will come in and judge for themselves, according to their own high standards. We are sure that they will be very happy they did.

    Since we are in operation 4 days we want to start off on a good footing . We apologize for any aggravation our décor’s photograph similarity has caused you or any confusion you have about our graphic designers choices. We assure you that any similarity was inadvertent and we only want to enforce our own brand. We do not wish to have anyone else’s identity but our own. We have removed all the photos in question and thank you for bringing the similarities to our attention.

    Thank You,
    Muma

  • Muma: not sure you represent the “real Muma” or not, but this blog post did start out as a “professional and personal conversation” – just ask the person serving in your restaurant last Friday. We asked for somebody other than him to speak to, as he was unhelpful and rude. He outright refused to put us in touch with the “owners”.

    Also, our issue with Muma never was about the food (just look at the first post, which was responsible for getting you many customers in your first few days), but with the blatant copying of Maoz branding elements.

    I seriously hope you are not the real Muma, because you are insulting the intelligence of all your customers by stating there was an inadvertent similarity in your artwork. It’s bad enough that you ripped off another company, but much worse that you come here lying about it. Artwork, color scheme, menus, ingredients are all identical, so how inadvertent could you be? Don’t insult us.

    You are an arrogant, lying, stealing disgrace, and I’m sure the threat of legal action from Maoz had NOTHING to do with you removing those pictures, if indeed you did.

  • miss anthrope

    muma: your food is awesome. you didn’t need to take maoz menu and branding to get people to visit you! seriously…you shoulda just done your own thing and avoided this mess.

    obviously you have your act together if you have the resources to get a restaurant open on prime real estate like melrose. how could you think people wouldn’t notice that you basically took maoz’s menu and pretended it was your own?

    hopefully this will all get sorted soon, and i can go back to shoving falafel in my face.

  • I’m pretty surprised you guys took the time for this one – I’m pretty sure Maoz is not going out of business because one small business used their concept. I can’t speak to your politics, but my reasons for being veg*n have a lot more to do with undermining capitalism than with supporting its proponents with veg*an options over small business owners.

  • @petitpoussin: It’s not so much about capitalism, but animals only suffer because people want to pay for, and consume their flesh and products. I doubt Maoz will go out of business because of Muma, but what Muma did is wrong and if not rectified will deter other vegetarian and/or vegan business from raising money to open up. It’s that simple. No shawarma in a falafel place is good in my book (and, I actually do have a book).

    Finally, why do you say “veg*n” instead of “vegan”. It’s really annoying.

  • “We apologize for any aggravation our décor’s photograph similarity has caused you or any confusion you have about our graphic designers choices. We assure you that any similarity was inadvertent and we only want to enforce our own brand.”

    Yeah right MUMA!!! So I guess you guys are so lame that you also let your “graphic designers” “design” the prices for you as well!! A quick glance at Maoz’s menu will reveal that MUMA has the exact same prices down to specific details ( $1 for a fresh juice? Or $.50 for sweet potato fries?).

    You people are so unprofessional and ignorant that you couldn’t even calculate your own food cost!

    How can people expect to eat “Kosher” “Clean” “Tasty” food if liars are feeding them?

    And you think I’m finished? Not even close.
    If you do make good products, you must have stole their cook and their recipe book too. There is no way that unprofessional unoriginal people such as yourselves could make anything good!
    To blame your graphic designers? Give me a break! You can’t even take responsibility for your own mistakes!!

    Is your mother still tying your shoelaces?

  • mr meaner, re veg*n, google is your friend; here’s the first link that comes up on a search: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/veg*n

    ‘what Muma did is wrong and if not rectified will deter other vegetarian and/or vegan business from raising money to open up. It’s that simple.’ according to whom? and which businesses? all the falafel places just waiting to open up and rip off the Maoz concept?

    as for it ‘not being about capitalism’ – I would argue that if you’re not thinking about capitalism when you publicly shame a new small business in this economy – over branding, the idea that concepts can be owned – you’re still playing into its hand.

  • muma, you must think we are sooooo stupid. read your comment again to see your lies. you are seriously underestimating your target customers and insulting our intelligence.

  • petitpoussin: thanks for the explanation of veg*n. I’m a computer guy, so that’s probably why I found the wildcard annoying. It’s the kind of silly thing they do on the PPK!

    Any business that doesn’t protect its branding and identity is under threat. If they don’t move to stop people ripping off their work they will acquiesce under law and lose the rights to some valuable assets that they have built up and invested in. A capitalist that expects a return on investment in a less cruel business way is fine by me, just ahead of its time — a little like being a vegan in the early 21st century.

    Muma show the ugly side of capitalism: dishonesty, greed, theft and corruption.

  • i’m still fucking hungry

  • Scott: me too! scouring the freezer for stuff.

  • From ‘Muma’: “We assure you that any similarity was inadvertent and we only want to enforce our own brand.”

    Oh no they didn’t! Inadvertent? Did you really just come here and say that expecting anyone to believe you? I realize that you’re attempting to save face but you would have been better off just not saying anything at all rather than coming here and posting outright lies.

    Seriously… inadvertent? Give me a fucking break.

  • And will someone please go feed Scott already? Thanks.

  • Forget inadvertent “thank you for bringing the similarities to our attention” pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeee!!!
    Muma you suck!!!!

  • OK, I wasn’t all up against Muma on this post alone (not sure if I am yet) but I have to admit that if that is the real Muma commenting on this blog, and if that’s their official stance it upsets me.

    If you’re going to be a poser, be a poser who at least can admit when they’ve been caught. Just fess up to what you’ve done, note that someone caught you, and move on. There’s really no need to say something so crazy as ““We assure you that any similarity was inadvertent…”. C’mon, we’re not that blind and we’re not dumb.

    Lastly, if you’re getting into the food business be prepared to take on criticism and backlash if it happens. Just because you just opened and you’re new it doesn’t give you some kind of “be nice to me” card. Open and public forums like Yelp exist because people want to say what they want. So Quarrygirl didn’t have to treat the subject matter privately to spare a restaurant’s feelings. It’s 2009 and it’s called the internet. This is what people do and it’s okay because it keeps businesses in check and gives consumers some power back. If it’s too hot for you, get out of the…well, you know the rest.

  • it’s the real Muma:

    http://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=pWL74u8QIgxCwkLAgTIC0Q

    Also, the “owner” had his photo on Yelp (but took it down, probably because he was so ashamed). I know it’s him because I saw him there first time I went.

  • i like how that dork gave his own restaurant 5 stars.

  • Gina, quarrygirl was just pointing out copyright infringement which can has serious financial penalties depending on its extent. It happens everday and it sucks for the original author for all their work. It happened to be one day and the other person who copied my work was immediately terminated.

    Ms. Quarrygirl, check out Falafel King in Westwood or Santa Monica. Although, not entirely vegan they do have many vegan options. Thank you for exposing these crooks!!

  • Wow. You guys sound pathetic.

    Mumas is delicious and you people need to do something more positive with your time rather than bashing food places.

  • So you have a blog, much of which consists of whining about there not being enough vegan options, then another one comes along and you bash it. Makes a lot of sense…..

  • lulu25 said: “Mumas is delicious and you people need to do something more positive with your time rather than bashing food places.”

    1) No one ever said it wasn’t delicious. You seem to have missed the point completely.

    2) It’s best if you decide how you want to spend your time, and STFU about how other’s spend theirs.

  • I don’t understand what the fuss is about.
    In Israel, every Falafel restaurant looks like this.
    Just because Maoz was the first to succeed worldwide doesn’t mean they own the rights to selling Falafels.
    You can say the same thing about just about any burger joint. How about Chinese restaurants? 80% of them look the same.
    They’re selling affordable healthy food. That should be commended.

  • OMG, “Muma” is clearly high. See the blue shaded text in the original post? Read it again. You had the chance to have “a professional and personal conversation” and you fucked it up.

    Sorry, to me this is still about the rudeness and evasiveness of the management – not the food or the decor or the graphic design. Why would I want to support a business that would be so weird to their customers?

  • I happened to pass by Muma last week and was wondering what it is all about. I live nearby and it seems new. I wanted to do some reviews. After reading this blog, the main issue is copyright, but if Maoz doesn’t have a store nearby and it is not copyrighted in this town Muma should be fine. In any event, for now I have lost my taste for Muma. Tonight and tomorrow night, I am having meat for dinner.

  • http://www.eatright.co.il/default.asp?PageID=22

    they also stole my wall of health in my healthy fast food chain called eatright…
    which was open over year and a half ago….
    with no shame they copied the exact icones and their healthy benefits for the ingridients, check my website…
    ben

  • They have a different menu and are no longer vegetarian.

  • I hope the author realizes that Maoz is a ripp off of the typical Palestinian falafel shop.

    Not only do Israeli Zionists steal Palestinian land but they also steal their food and then appropriate it as theirs.

    Typical.

  • Ha! I’m surprised at all the venom by the previous posts… and the original post.

    If Muma’s has violated trade copyrights, used trademarked or copyrighted information, I’d agree with the author. Did the Muma’s restaurant infringe on any patented/copyrighted info? If so, no worries… the intellectual property lawyers that Maoz can hire will sue them into oblivion.

    However, if Muma’s has simply taken the idea that Maoz has and incorporated similar features (like… oh no, pictures of healthy food on their menu… and bold font on their menus…) then they are doing what is NORMAL in a capitalist system…

    They are providing the customer with choice, adding to the general competition for the market of veggies, and being a catalyst for lower prices/greater quality.

    I’m sure that Ray Kroc wasn’t pissed off when McDonald’s faced competition with Burger King; he and his corporation would have done the intelligent thing and fought to create more value in his branding.

    The childish post that the authors of this blog have posted (waah, they took my lunch money…) really would have had more gravitas IF the author had taken the time to talk to a corporate lawyer or an intellectual property rights lawyer to see if Muma’s had done ANYTHING improper.

    And for those of you who are suggesting that somehow Palestinians have a lock on vegetarian food and that Israelis are johnny-come-lately rip-off artists… Well, India has been vegetarian for years and years… maybe we should suggest something as inane as “the Palestinian scum are just siphoning off the great talented minds of the Indians.” Get a life.

    One thing the author did not keep in mind…that customers have brains. If Muma’s is such a direct rip-off of Maoz, they are actually embedding the same branding that Maoz has and entrenching Maoz. Ever hear the phrase, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” It embeds in the customers mind that Maoz is the way a veg restaurant ought to look… and Maoz has a corporate structure that should allow its franchisees to be able to compete…gasp…on their own merits.

    Competition in a free market? Sacre bleu! Welcome to America.

  • “rather surprising that you’re trying to frame it as if there was no decent falafel to be had in L.A. until this knock-off place opened up.

    You might not give a fuck that your apathy about the situation would be funding a sham, but some of us do.”

    brilliant.


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