The luxury fashion brand reportedly threatened legal action after a Tuscan family of four (Fabio, Barbara, Laura and Martina Gucci) opened the Gucci Bistro.
The Gucci's opened their restaurant in 2016 in Prato, a town about 25km north-west of Florence, where the Gucci fashion house has its roots. Things were going smoothly – until the family received a letter ordering them to change their 'misleading' name.
“At first we thought they hadn't understood, and we replied that we were a family, and that the name of the restaurant was also our surname,” Martina Gucci told The Local. “Also, we're in Prato, not Milan or Rome for example – it's not a particularly well-known area.”
“But they said they weren't interested in our motivations and were concerned about misunderstandings the name could cause,” said Gucci.
“We were really annoyed, because the name wasn't a random choice! At first, we wanted to take things further, but because of the time, money and stress [of a lawsuit], we begrudgingly decided to give up. They had the manner of someone who is certain of getting what they want.”
The Gucci family, plus family friends Leonardo and Francesca, at their restaurant. Photo: Martina Gucci
Italys' three tiers of justice and lengthy appeals process meant that it could have taken up to 20 years to resolve the Gucci v Gucci case.
So the restaurant acquiesced, changing its name to 'GI' and splitting the cost of new business cards and outdoor signage with the fashion house.
“These expenses were big for a family that has just opened up a restaurant, while for the other Gucci, it barely made a difference,” Martina Gucci pointed out. “But hopefully the damage is resolved now – we have told our clients about the new name, and at least now we are getting publicity!”
After a Facebook post explaining the reason for the bistro's new identity, messages of solidarity quickly rolled in.
“The injustice sends me into a rage! I swear that neither me nor my family with ever buy a Gucci product again!” wrote Sara Ferraloro. “I live in Bolzano, but I'll keep hold of your address and if I go to your area, I'll certainly have lunch there.”
“Go ahead with the lawsuit – don't be afraid to use your own surname,” another supporter said.
In addition to selling luxury and leather goods, the Gucci fashion house runs three cafes of its own in Florence, Milan, and Tokyo, and in 2015 opened a restaurant in Shanghai.
However, reviewers on travel rating site TripAdvisor ranked the Prato bistro above the two cafes, giving the former 4.5 stars out of five, while the Gucci-run eateries were rated four stars apiece.
With reporting by Caterina Zita
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Photo: Ed Webster/Flickr