The Panera Bread Co. bakery held that a burrito was a sandwich, availing itself of a clause in its lease to prevent a shopping mall from renting premises to another sandwich shop (the Qdoba Mexican Grill).
However Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke cited Webster’s Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and a former high-ranking federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba’s burritos were not sandwiches. Panera argued for a broad definition of a sandwich, saying that a flour tortilla is bread and that a food product with bread and a filling is a sandwich.
* * *
More recently, a New York State Tax Bulletin issued in April 2011 stated that for the purposes of sandwich tax (?!), burritos are “considered a sandwich”. See the Bulletin here for a whole host of “taxable sandwiches” – no really – I promise 🙂
* * *
Apart from the fun here, an interesting aspect from a legal linguistic point of view is that the judge consulted a dictionary in coming to his decision (see here for more), as well as the alternative ways in which words were interpreted.
Credit: Thanks to Cath Cellier-Smart @Smart_Translate for pointing the Panera case out to me.