A restaurant and tavern group, which operates nearly a dozen
sites sprinkled throughout the Loop and Chicago’s North and Near West sides,
and which hopes to open a new restaurant in Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park, has
been hit with a class action lawsuit, alleging it left customers with no
options to cash out or transfer rewards credits toward free food and drink when
the group transitioned to a different customer loyalty rewards program.
On June 6, plaintiff Micah Riskin, identified in the lawsuit
as a resident of Cook County, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against
the Chicago-based Four Corners Tavern Group, alleging the company violated
Illinois consumer fraud law and was unjustly enriched in the process when it earlier
this year abruptly ended its participation in a loyalty rewards program administered
by a third party, in favor of a customized program unique to its own branded
Riskin is represented in the action by attorneys Aron D.
Robinson and Jeffrey Arman, each of Chicago.
According to the lawsuit, Four Corners Tavern Group had
participated in and promoted customer participation in a loyalty reward
program, identified in the lawsuit as Spring Rewards, beginning in early 2015
The program, which relied on an app downloaded to customers’ smartphones,
enabled patrons of Four Corners’ various bars to receive a $10 credit for every
$250 spent at a specific Four Corners establishment.
According to its website, Four Corners currently operates 11
establishments, identified as Benchmark, Schoolyard, WestEnd, Kirkwood, Gaslight, Sidebar, Ranalli’s,
Highline, Federales, Fremont and SteakBar.
According to the lawsuit, the reward points were specific to
individual bars, and could not be transferred to other establishments. For instance,
money spent at Highline did not count toward credits at Benchmark or any of Four
Corners’ other establishments.
Riskin said he enrolled in Spring Rewards at Highline in
March 2015. He also enrolled in the program at Four Corners’ Benchmark and
Kirkwood locations, the lawsuit said.
However, in January 2016, Riskin said he received an email
from Four Corners informing him and others like him, enrolled in the Spring
Rewards program, that Four Corners was ending its participation in Spring
Rewards, in favor of a new customized, in-house rewards program, identified in
the lawsuit as My4C Points, which it said “would perfectly suit our customers’
needs.” The email said customers had until the end of February to redeem any “rewards”
they had already earned through Spring Rewards.
Riskin said he had intentionally given those Four Corners
bars – and Highline, in particular – his business, to accumulate points toward
the reward credits.
However, he said he was short of receiving the credits at
the time the program was cancelled, including just $10 short of receiving the
credit at Highline, when the program was cancelled.
He alleged Four Corners needed to provide customers options
for either transferring reward points already earned into the new program, or
redeeming the points in some other way.
Riskin’s complaint alleged the plaintiffs believe “hundreds
or thousands” of others potentially suffered similar loss when Four Corners
transitioned to the new rewards program.
The lawsuit asked the court to certify a class of additional
plaintiffs, and award unspecified compensatory damages, plus attorney fees.
Earlier this year, Four Corners Tavern Group also was
revealed as the company the Chicago Park District had selected to operate a new
restaurant planned for Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park. According to published
reports, Park District officials have indicated that restaurant could open
sometime in 2017.