Jon Chesto reports in The Patriot Ledger that Dunkin’ Donuts is serving up a termination notice and federal lawsuit against a franchisee after the Canton-based company said he helped his wife open a rival restaurant in Boston.

Dunkin’ sued Panagiotis Vorvis and his business partner, Olga Pithis, last week, alleging that Vorvis violated terms of their franchise agreement to run three Dunkin’ shops on Huntington Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue in Boston by helping his wife run the Cafe 57 and Grill in Brighton.

Cafe 57, which is operated by Panagiotis’ wife Eleftheria Vorvis, sells coffee, bagels and egg sandwiches in direct competition with Dunkin’ Donuts shops, Dunkin’ alleges in its suit. On Dec. 3, Dunkin’ said that a representative for the company observed Vorvis working behind the counter at Cafe 57. Vorvis subsequently admitted to the company that he has been helping his wife at the restaurant, according to the Dunkin’ complaint.

Dunkin’ alleges that Vorvis is violating his franchise agreement by sharing confidential information about opening and running a Dunkin’ shop with his wife.

Dunkin’ said it sent a franchise termination notice to Vorvis and Pithis on Friday, the same day it filed the lawsuit in federal court. A spokesman for Dunkin’ declined to comment about the case, other than to say that when Dunkin’ files a lawsuit, it is striving to protect its brand reputation, its franchisees’ investments in the brand and the quality of customers’ experience.

When reached at Cafe 57 on Monday, Vorvis’ wife said her husband would not comment about the case.

The Patriot Ledger