Thursday, September 6, 2012

Enjoy Your Milo's Tea While It Lasts

            Forgive me if the tone of this post sounds depressed, but things may be changing soon and maybe not for the better.  Anybody who knows me can tell you that my favorite fast food restaurant is Milo’s.  Every [original] item they serve is world famous, and rightfully so.  The hamburger, with that brilliant extra piece of meat.  The perfectly seasoned fries, generously overfilling the paper bag. The delicious sauce (or “gravy” as my wife referred to it after her first encounter) that goes so perfectly with both the hamburger and fries.  And, of course, Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea.  So good it’s sold in stores all over the South, there are people who go to Milo’s only for the tea.  I don’t drink tea regularly at home or any other restaurant - only Milo’s. 

            So now that I’ve decided what I will eat for dinner tonight, I must address the problem that may be impacting all of Alabama soon.  Recently, Milo’s (legally known as Milo’s Franchise Co., LLC) filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County against Milo’s Tea Co., Inc.  To better explain this, about 10 years ago, the “restaurant division” split with the “tea division,” forming two distinct entities, so that each could focus on what they do best – either providing the restaurant experience or making excellent sweet tea.  As part of that arrangement, Milo’s Tea Co. would provide tea to Milo’s restaurant franchises.  Now the restaurants want to produce their own in-house tea brew, instead of purchasing the tea from Milo’s Tea Co.  Milo’s Tea Co. has demanded that the restaurants stop serving non Milo’s Tea Co. tea in Milo’s cups.  The restaurants want to be able to serve their own tea brew in Milo’s cups.  

            I don’t know if the new tea is better, worse, or indistinguishable from what we are accustomed to, but in my experience, messing with a good thing usually makes things worse (see New Coke formula from the 1980’s).  In any event, this suit can’t be good for the public image of Milo’s.  My hope is that each company will recognize its need for the other - and I can continue to enjoy my Milo's tea, with my #1 combo, minus the onions, with 4 extra sauces.