Talk about your Game of Cones. Mister Softee — the ice cream truck company that has been serving up Choco Tacos to hungry kids for decades — is being pushed out of its own territory in Midtown Manhattan. Reports from The New York Times claim that New York Ice Cream — a new renegade “off-brand” ice cream truck fleet — has been taking over the prime curbside real estate of Manhattan’s touristy spots.
The plot grows thicker than a swirl of hot fudge: New York Ice Cream Company is staffed by former Mister Softee drivers intent on creating a new wave of stiff competition for the formerly undisputed king of mobile frozen treats. Their tactics, Mister Softee representatives say, verge on bullying and harassment.
“If one of my drivers goes to Midtown, they’ll bring their trucks in and surround them — a bunch of guys,” Peter Bouziotis, who runs the Softee depot in the Bronx, told The New York Times. “They’ll start banging on the windows.”
But the New York Ice Cream Company, with its fleet of purple-and-white trucks, are not about to give up its territory so easily.
“From 34th to 60th Street, river to river, that’s ours,” an anonymous New York Ice Cream truck driver told The New York Times. “You will never see a Mister Softee truck in Midtown, if you do there will be problems and he won’t be there for very long.”
This isn’t the first time Mister Softee has run into problems with competitors. In 2014, it had to deal with a group of knockoff trucks called Master Softee, which were eventually sued for copyright infringement.
A case of tough competition may be harder than outright copyright infringement in a courtroom, however.