'Dumb Starbucks' owner revealed to be comedy personality

"Dumb Starbucks" coffee shop in Los Angeles "Dumb Starbucks" has generated a lot of speculation about who is behind it

Related Stories

The owner of a parody coffee shop in Los Angeles called "Dumb Starbucks" has been revealed to be Canadian television comedy personality Nathan Fielder.

Mr Fielder appeared in person at the store to make the announcement, where he said there are plans to open a second outlet in Brooklyn, New York.

There had been widespread speculation that the store, which uses Starbucks' trademarks, was a publicity stunt.

Starbucks said they were aware of the store but denied any affiliation.

"We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humour, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark," a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement.

'Dumb iced coffee'
"Dumb" Starbucks coffee cup People lined up for hours for a free cup of "Dumb" Starbucks

Dumb Starbucks opened in a shopping centre on Friday and started giving away free drinks, generating long queues of people.

The decoration of the Dumb Starbucks was very similar to that of a real Starbucks.

The store front has the same green awning and round mermaid logo as Starbucks' coffee shops - except the word "Dumb" was placed in large letters above the word Starbucks.

The wall menu inside the pop-up store offered coffee that ranged from "horrible" to "bitter", as well as products called "dumb iced coffee" and "dumb white chocolate mocha".

The drinks were served in a white paper cup with a sticker of the Starbucks logo with the word "dumb" added to it.

None of the patrons was charged for drinks, although there was a tip jar.

'Parody law'
"Dumb Starbucks" Twitter page "Dumb Starbucks" has set up its own Facebook and Twitter pages

The Dumb Starbucks coffee shop has also set up its own Facebook page and Twitter handle, which has accumulated more than 8,000 followers.

On the micro-blogging website, it tweeted: "The owner of Dumb Starbucks will be making an in person announcement at our store (1802 Hillhurst Ave) today at 4pm. All are welcome!"

At the designated time, a YouTube video was posted on the Dumb Starbucks Twitter account, revealing Mr Fielder as the owner.

Mr Fielder is best known for his work on US television network Comedy Central and for encouraging fans to pull pranks.

While many have dismissed it as a publicity stunt, experts say the people behind Dumb Starbucks could face legal action over copyright infringement.

However, in the Dumb Starbucks store, the owners posted a statement at the counter stating that the store is protected by "parody law".

"By adding the word 'dumb', we are technically 'making fun' of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as 'fair use'," the statement said.

"In the eyes of the law, our 'coffee shop' is actually an art gallery and the 'coffee' you're buying is considered art. But that's for our lawyers to worry about."

After Mr Fielder's announcement, the cafe was reportedly shut down by authorities for operating without a valid public health permit.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    10:10: Royal Mail goes to Parliament
    Royal Mail

    "We do not receive a government subsidy, as other Universal Service Obligation providers around the world do," say Ms Greene. She adds Royal Mail has been through a very painful period over the last five years and does not want to get to the point of requiring a public subsidy to continue to provide the USO. That doesn't mean she won't ask for one in the future, however.

     
  2.  
    10:08: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Nick Wells, chief executive of Whistl, says he's not happy about the VAT exemption however. He says in other countries this exemption applies only to stamps, not to delivery services. It's fair to say there is little love lost between Ms Green and Mr Wells, and this is fast becoming about competition between their two respective companies.

     
  3.  
    09:58: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    The Universal Service Obligation costs Royal Mail £7.2bn, says Moya Greene.

     
  4.  
    09:58: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Moya Greene, the chief executive of Royal Mail, is being asked about the company's VAT exemption. She responds that the VAT exemption is not unusual and that it is enjoyed by every single Universal Service Obligation provider.

     
  5.  
    09:55: Royal Mail goes to Parliament
    Nick Wells

    Nick Wells is now getting a grilling over the number of people his company employs on "flexible" contracts. He says the company has created thousands of jobs among the most needy in society. He says Royal Mail needs to change its work pattern. At his company staff can work on contracts of 40 hours a week, or 20 hours a week. He is critical of Royal Mail's "unwillingness to attacks its cost base". He thinks Royal Mail should make efficiency savings, particularly in terms of labour relations.

     
  6.  
    09:54: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Moya Greene comes back on that, saying it's not fair to compare the UK to the Netherlands or Belgium. She says in those countries access is limited to 5% of all mail. The UK market is far more liberalised, she argues. For example, 50% of business mail is not delivered by Royal Mail.

     
  7.  
    09:54: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Nick Wells, says the Universal Service Obligation is a requirement in other countries such as the Netherlands, which have been opened up to competition. "And guess what," he says. "Their services have improved."

     
  8.  
    09:52: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Mr Wells adds: "We are a start-up business, we cannot cover every address in the UK. We are focusing on dense urban areas but we are also focusing on London, which is the second most expensive area to operate in behind rural."

     
  9.  
    09:52: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Nick Wells, chief executive of Whistl says: "We pay Royal Mail a fair and effective price to cover the more difficult rural areas... what is a threat to the Universal Service Obligation is structural decline."

     
  10.  
    09:50: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    A quick reminder: The Universal Service Obligation, or USO, mandates that Royal Mail provides at least one delivery of letters every Monday to Saturday to every address in the UK, at a single, standardised price.

     
  11.  
    09:48: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    The session on competition in the UK postal sector is live on Parliament's website.

     
  12.  
    09:44: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    Guy Buswell, chief executive of UK Mail, says there is "no cherry picking whatsoever, we pay Royal Mail a good rate and they make a good margin on those rates". He adds: "If you do start to try and make deliveries to rural areas it is extremely expensive".

     
  13.  
    09:42: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    As well as Moya Greene, the Business Committee is hearing from: Nick Wells of Whistl, Guy Buswell of UK Mail and Daniel Vines of TNT UK. Later, Roy Perticucci of Amazon will give evidence too.

     
  14.  
    09:40: Royal Mail goes to Parliament
    Moya Greene

    Royal Mail has made "some very painful efficiency savings," Moya Greene says in her opening salvo to the Business Committee. She says "I think there is" when asked if there is a real threat to the Universal Service Obligation (USO). She adds the USO has been under attack from competitors who have been able to cherry pick where they can deliver to for 10 years.

     
  15.  
    UK GDP 09:30: Breaking News

    The UK economy grew by 0.7% in the third quarter of 2014, the second official estimate of GDP from the Office for National Statistics shows.

     
  16.  
    Via Twitter Victoria Fritz Business reporter, BBC News

    tweets: "Founder of the eponymous homeware granny chic label Cath Kidston is stepping down from her creative director role after 21 years"

     
  17.  
    09:18: EU investment package

    For those who wish to continue following proceedings at the European Parliament, our colleagues in the politics hub are running a live blog and video feed.

     
  18.  
    09:18: Britvic profits
    Britvic drinks

    Drinks company Britvic has reported a 23% rise in pre-tax profit of £133m for the year to the end of September. Sales grew 2.4% in the period, to £1.3bn. The company's highly successful Fruit Shoot multi-pack product - familiar to parents of two-year-olds across the UK- is due to launch in the US in the second half of 2015.

     
  19.  
    09:08: Patisserie Valerie
    Patisserie Valerie

    Patisserie Holdings, the parent company of cafe chain Patisserie Valerie, reports a 26.8% rise in annual pre-tax profits, to £10.4m. The company, which listed on the London Stock Exchange this year with the ticker symbol CAKE, opened 19 new stores in the past 12 months, and saw a 100% increase in online sales (yes, they offer a range of gateaux via the web).

     
  20.  
    Via Twitter Graeme Wearden, business reporter at the Guardian

    tweets: "Last month, @HarrietGreen1 was 'adamant that she is nowhere near finished at Thomas Cook'"

     
  21.  
    Via Twitter Marco Zatterin, La Stampa
    Juncker

    tweets: "The Juncker Plan - 300"

     
  22.  
    08:52: Market update

    European markets are higher this morning, cheered by Tuesday's US GDP figure, which showed the world's largest economy growing by an annualised rate of 3.9% in the third quarter. Thomas Cook shares are lower by 20% this morning, to 109.4p, following the departure of chief executive Harriet Green.

    • The FTSE 1400 index is 0.33% higher at 6755
    • Germany's Dax is 0.68% higher at 9927
    • France's Cac-40 is 0.22% higher at 4391
     
  23.  
    08:42: EU investment package

    Incidentally, the fund is now confirmed to be €315bn, not €300bn as previously reported.

     
  24.  
    08:38: EU investment package

    The European Investment Bank will put $5bn into Mr Juncker's investment package, says EIB president Werner Hoyer.

     
  25.  
    Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Thomas Cook still lists Harriet Green as boss. All feels really rushed"

     
  26.  
    Via Twitter Tom Nuttall, Charlemagne columnist, the Economist

    tweets: "@JunckerEU: We don't want national wishlists, we don't want this fund to be politicised. This is not an ATM, the fund is not a bank."

     
  27.  
    08:25: EU investment package

    "I have a vision of children in Thessaloniki walking into a brand new classroom" says Mr Juncker. He also mentions improved hospitals, more green energy and better broadband infrastructure as part of his vision for a better Europe.

     
  28.  
    08:17: EU investment package

    Mr Juncker says this is a "time for political consensus" in Europe. He says the €300bn package comes on top of existing investment by EU member states, and that individual countries must enforce structural reforms.

     
  29.  
    08:15: EU investment package

    "Not only are we faced with an investment gap, we are faced with an investment trap," says Mr Juncker, because investors lack confidence. He adds that Europe's public resources are stretched, which is putting a strain on investment, a large amount of which comes through public expenditure.

     
  30.  
    08:12: EU investment package
    Juncker

    "Christmas has come early," says Mr Juncker, as he begins his speech. "Today Europe is turning a page," with an "ambitious investment plan", he says. "Europe is back in business".

     
  31.  
    08:10: Thomas Cook

    Thomas Cook shares have taken a tumble this morning following the surprise announcement that chief executive Harriet Green is leaving the business with immediate effect. Shares are down 18.5% to 112.5p.

     
  32.  
    08:04: EU investment package

    European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is about to start his speech outlining the €300bn plan to stimulate investment in the eurozone economy. For the fortitudinous among you, a live feed is available on the Commission's website.

     
  33.  
    Bank culture Via Email David Stanley from Richmond

    writes: "Where does all the money [from fines] go? Presumably some goes in compensation to the victims, but the rest? To pay off the deficit?"

     
  34.  
    Via Twitter Lauren Davidson, business reporter at The Telegraph

    tweets: "From Times Mag profile last month: CEO Harriet Green fixed Thomas Cook, earned less than her male predecessor."

     
  35.  
    07:40: Thomas Cook
    Green

    A little more on Harriet Green's departure from Thomas Cook. "I always said that I would move on to another company with fresh challenges once my work was complete," she says. "That time is now." The statement adds that when Ms Green joined, the company's share price was 14p. Today, it is 137.9p.

     
  36.  
    Via Twitter Simon Jack Business correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Harriet Green steps down as CEO of Thomas Cook after only 2 years. She once told me she never stays anywhere for long but this is very brief."

     
  37.  
    07:30: Thomas Cook
    Thomas Cook

    Overall, Thomas Cook, which has been struggling to compete with the rise of internet travel agents, made a statutory pre-tax loss of £114m for the year to the end of September. It's an improvement on the year before, when it made a £163m loss.

     
  38.  
    07:24: Compass profits
    Students receive their lunch at Salusbury Primary School in northwest London

    Global catering and support services firm Compass group - if you have never eaten their food, there is a very strong chance your children will have eaten it at school - has reported a 5.4% rise in pre-tax profits to £1.16bn for the year to the end of September. "Food is and will remain our core competence and is backed with some strong support service businesses," the company says.

     
  39.  
    07:18: SAS enlists Flybe
    SAS

    British low-cost airline Flybe has announced it has signed an agreement with Scandinavian carrier SAS, to operate some of its short haul services. It's a white-label deal, meaning SAS insignia will be displayed on the planes, and the flights will seem to the outsider like a regular SAS service.

     
  40.  
    07:08: Thomas Cook

    Holiday travel company Thomas Cook has announced that its boss, Harriet Green, is to step down. She will be replaced by Peter Fankhauser, currently the chief operating officer. Ms Green only joined the firm two years ago.

     
  41.  
    07:04: Royal Mail goes to Parliament

    That's all happening at 9:30, by the way.

     
  42.  
    Royal Mail goes to Parliament 07:02: Via Blog Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    Royal Mail chief executive, Moya Greene, will for the first time appear in public to make the case about why the universal, UK-wide postal service is in imminent danger. And if the written evidence Royal Mail has sent to the committee is anything to go by, her words will certainly be punchy. The written evidence calls for urgent intervention by regulator Ofcom and warns if not: "A tipping point could be reached. The universal service could become unviable before effective changes can be implemented."

     
  43.  
    06:52: Bank culture Radio 5 live
    UBS

    One more from Lord McFall on Wake Up to Money. He says senior managers at banks "have often pleaded ignorance or stupidity rather than culpability" and that has to change. He cites an example of four top executives at Swiss bank UBS who came before the Committee on Banking Standards. Asked if they knew the name of their "star performer" who had just lost the bank $2bn, they replied that they didn't, he says. "The first they had heard of it was on the Bloomberg wires," Lord McFall adds.

     
  44.  
    06:46: BG boss' pay BBC Radio 4

    Mr Walker adds that BG Group's pay offer illustrates "poor corporate governance", and "puts fund managers in a position where they are forced to approve" the £25m remuneration package for new boss Helge Lund.

     
  45.  
    06:44: Bank culture Radio 5 live
    Air force

    The £27bn that banks have paid in fines for the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) outstrips this year's defence budget, says Lord McFall. Since the start of the financial crisis, banks have paid out more than £38bn in fines, for a litany of sins. What makes matters worse is that he and other MPs were warning the banks over the dangers of PPI for 20 years, before the mis-selling scandal broke, he adds.

     
  46.  
    06:32: BG boss' pay BBC Radio 4
    Mr Lund

    "A red rag to anti-capitalists," is what Simon Walker, from the Institute of Directors (IoD), calls the proposed £25m pay packet for the incoming head of gas explorer BG Group, Helge Lund. He tells Today "you could not calculate a measure that is more likely to inflame" politicians, and the general public, who will balk at the sum, which is "more than 10 times [Mr Lund's] pay in Norway", where Mr Lund ran the state's oil firm.

     
  47.  
    06:24: Bank culture Radio 5 live
    McFall

    Lord McFall tells Wake Up to Money initiatives to change the culture in banks are "fledging and fragile". He adds: "Rhetoric at the top has been implemented, but not carried down the line [into bank departments]". The aggressive sales culture of the banks will be eliminated eventually. But the banks can't do it alone, he adds. He is also calling on the banks to provide annual progress reports to Parliament's Banking Standards Committee.

     
  48.  
    06:14: Welfare reforms

    The UK's National Audit Office has warned that the cost of introducing major welfare reforms could run into billions of pounds if the IT system needed to deliver the changes isn't completed on time. The Universal Credit programme has been beset by IT problems, and the chairman of the public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, has accused the government of throwing good money after bad. Ministers insist they are getting value for money.

     
  49.  
    06:10: Bank culture Radio 5 live

    UK think tank New City Agenda says it will take "a generation" to fix the culture of the banking industry, in a report published today. The organisation's chairman, Lord McFall, who is also former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, tells Wake Up to Money the report is the first to have gone inside the banks - it visited 11 of them - so provides a real insight into what is going on, and it's not pretty.

     
  50.  
    06:05: Clegg on immigration
    Clegg

    The UK's deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has said he supports further restrictions on benefit payments to migrants from elsewhere in the European Union. Writing in the Financial Times, the Liberal Democrat leader also warns David Cameron against trying to limit the number of EU migrants coming to the UK.

     
  51.  
    06:00: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Plus Moya Greene, chief executive of the Royal Mail, will be giving evidence to the Business Committee - as will a number of her rivals - on competition in the postal sector and the government-mandated obligation to deliver to all UK addresses. As always, get in touch on email at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  52.  
    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Morning. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will set out details this morning of a €300bn plan intended to revive Europe's flagging economy. Most of the money is expected to be provided by the private sector. More on that in the next few hours.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.