Where's Chloe?

The Chloe of By Chloe, a New York City-based fast casual vegan concept, no longer has ties to the restaurant and wants her name off the brand. Chloe Coscarelli, TV chef, author and co-founder of By Chloe has parted ways with the chain's top financial backer, ESquared, due to legal disputes, according to the WSJ. ESquared CEO Jimmy Haber and his daughter, Samantha Wasser, who co-founded the brand with Coscarelli, won a decision last month allowing them to push Coscarelli out of the business. NYC arbitrator determined that Coscarelli was being "grossly negligent," citing documents put forth by ESquared alleging that Coscarelli lost leases on new spaces and reportedly sabotaged deals with business partners. 

Coscarelli and Samantha Wasser (daughter of Jimmy Haber) founded the concept two years ago in New York City. Its menu of vegan baked goods, sandwiches and salads quickly resonated with New Yorker and they teamed up with ESquared to expand the concept. Last year, however, Coscarelli sued ESquared, alleging that Haber threatened her after she refused to allow non-vegan brands under her name.

However, Haber and Wasser allege that Coscarelli was trying to undermine the business. They said that although she pitched them the idea for a vegan concept, she allegedly didn't have a lot of input after that. While Coscarelli crafted the recipes with Esquared chefs, Wasser said she served as creative director, designing the branding, the website and store design and handling all social media.

"Pretty much everything you see that creates the By Chloe identity is all me,” Wasser told WellandGood.com.  "Though it’s not terribly unusual in the business world to have a vision partner and a strategic or creative partner. I even came up with the name, By Chloe — with no input from Chloe.  And after we opened the first store, it became very clear that she was putting the needs of her self-interest above the needs of the brand."

Coscarelli denies that, posting on her Instagram page that she developed every recipe for the restaurant over the course of several years in her apartment kitchen.

"I slept on a couch in the living room with no bedroom of my own so that I could be close to my work in the kitchen and develop recipes 24/7, sleeping only three or four hours most nights, for years. I set my alarm to wake me up every half hour through the night to measure the progression of ice crystals in my ice cream recipes. I made 30 variations of beet ketchup and lined them up on my window sill to compare the difference in pink pigmentation.

"I turned my home into a vegan test kitchen and worked with my amazing vegan team from Natural Gourmet Institute to perfect every last detail. We tested every recipe literally hundreds of times. But it was a labor of love. 

"From the day I began this journey, my goal was to create a fun, friendly restaurant that showcased how delicious vegan food can make a powerful and positive impact in the world — a belief that has never for a moment wavered. To me, veganism is so much more than a vehicle for business; it’s a vote for kindness, a dedication to sustainability, and a commitment to compassion. It’s a lifestyle I adopted more than a decade ago, and will forever be proud of, champion, and defend."

By Chloe has five locations and plans to open six to 10 this year.  

Although ESquared has a $10 million brand expansion in the works, it may have to change the name if Coscarelli wins the next round of legal battles.

Coscarelli said in the WSJ that she will "Protect the integrity of my brand."

As of press time, neither Coscarelli nor Wasser had responded to FastCasual's request for comment. 

Topics: Health & Nutrition, Insurance / Risk Management, Operations Management

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