Foodgods: they’re just like us (foodpeople). According to a three-part report in Restaurant Business, LA-based burger chain Burgerim is in the midst of a dramatic unraveling. After opening over 200 franchises in four years, the slider purveyor is now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, leaving in its wake hundreds of indebted first-time franchise owners. One of the many victims of Burgerim’s scammery is the chain’s spokesman and Kardashian sidekick Foodgod, f.k.a. Jonathan Cheban.
If you’re unfamiliar with Foodgod, I envy you. But allow me to bring you to the dark side: Foodgod, who boasts 3.4 million Instagram followers, was born Jonathan Cheban. He rose to the illustrious status of C-list celebrity as a side character on Keeping Up With The Kardashians and is best friends with Kim. Kanye (allegedly) bequeathed Cheban with the nickname Foodgod, and he made that his entire brand, relentlessly posting photos of himself with absurd dishes like this gold-plated fondue. In 2019, Cheban legally changed his name to Foodgod. He’s notorious for blocking people on Twitter and sending harassing DMs, like the time he allegedly unleashed a stream of vitriol upon a Twitter user over a meme that compared him to a rat. (Foodgod claimed his account was hacked during this incident.) He once told People that he wants to be “a Guy Fieri or an Anthony Bourdain for the young and hot.” In 2018, the Kardashian-lackey-turned-food-influencer became Burgerim’s spokesman in an alleged seven-figure deal.
So, you can see why the internet has a bit of collective schadenfreude for Foodgod’s current predicament. According to the report, Burgerim aggressively recruited first-time franchise owners with the promise that the company would repay their down payment. And, well, that didn’t happen. Instead, around 100 franchises have reportedly shuttered, the CEO has fled to Israel, and the brand is holding onto life by a thread. Also unpaid by Burgerim was Foodgod, a photo of whom appears in every slider franchise location.
Burgerim appears to have genuinely screwed over a lot of hardworking franchise owners with zero industry experience. So, while Foodgod is a supposed victim in this case, allow us to place him at the very bottom of our sympathy list.