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Monday, December 27, 2010

Post # 157 - Wendy, There's A Hair In My Food - 4/26/2010

This is a true story.   I removed the location because I think this can happen anywhere.
Dear Wendy.

Today I tried a Black and Bleu burger at the suggestion of the drive through personality. I took my food home to enjoy it there. As I was biting and pulling the burger away from my mouth, I felt that “tug”. The burger was attached to my teeth by a thin black lasso. A hair, snagged between my upper incisors, and “where the bun meets the patty”. Probably five inches long, and black as night.

I don’t do well in these situations. I turn into the sickly barfing penguin at Sea World’s aquarium. I barely made it to the bathroom, where I heaved and hoed everything up. I felt a little gypped. I paid for dinner, and wound up giving back lunch and breakfast too!

So we’re all on the same page, my wife and daughter’s hair color is blonde, and they were never anywhere near my food. My hair is very short. This was definitely a Wendy employee. Not Wendy herself, mind you—it wasn’t fire red.

Look. I’m not trying to taddle. That’s not my way. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m looking for policy change so this never happens to any Wendy’s customer ever again. I don’t really know the dress code at Wendy’s. Maybe people wear caps? The thing is, in food prep, I believe in hair nets. Hair nets with all of the hair contained in the hair net. That’s what I would do if I worked there. I’d be all for shaving all facial hair, arm and chest hair, and eye brows. Nostril hair, eye lashes, ear hair—gone!

The thing is, if they’re letting a hair find it’s way into my food, what else am I enjoying, free of charge? MAKE IT STOP!!!!!

If you don’t have a policy that prevents long hair from dangling over my food, you should. If you don’t have a policy that prevents long hair from dangling over my food, then that was your hand down my throat.


Subject: Customer Response
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 16:30:51 -0400

Thank you for your interest in Wendy's and I apologize about your experience at your local store. If you would like to email me with the address of the location and your phone number, I would be more than happy to take care of this problem by filing a complaint and sending it to the regional office. If there is any thing else I can do for you, please let me know!


Consumer Relations

(800)-443-7266 x6800
Subject: RE: Customer Response
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 20:55:11 -0400

Dear Rachel,

You are as sweet as a Frosty for responding so quickly, and wanting to address the problem right at the source.

It sounds like your plan is to attack the problem locally (i.e. Someone didn't follow hair retention policy, whatever that may be). This means that there is, in fact, a policy in place, which you believe, was not being followed at my alleged restaurant stop.

I could give you the location. You could contact that location's manager. who would peruse his staff for someone, or more than one person, with long hair. They would get singled out, reprimanded, and maybe even let go, all because the manager, or worse yet, the company, doesn't have a good enough policy in place.

It goes deeper. Your bun and patty manufacturers. Your lettuce, tomato and onion growers. What if they let stray hair into their product? This policy, whatever it is, must span the entire Wendy's supply chain.

I can't remember ever seeing a hair net or a skin-head working at Wendy's. I think this is an overall corporate policy issue--tell me if it's not. I'd love for you to write back and tell me that you're implementing a more robust corporate policy throughout the entire organization. It's what Dave would have done.



Subject: RE: Customer Response
Date: Tue, 4 May 2010 23:19:53 -0400

Hi Rachel,

The silence is as loud as thunder over here.  Here's how I see it:

1) I presented a problem--one that's probably possible to happen at any of your 6650-or-so locations. (Tell me it's not).

2) You offered to address it locally.

3) I suggested that you dig a little deeper. Fix the problem at it's very core. Hair nets or baldness across your entire worldwide network of employees, as well as your supply chain.

You went quiet. I assume one of two things:

a) You've taken my advice, and are very busy driving procedural changes.

b) You never really planned on fixing the big problem. Your offer to address this locally was merely an appeasement.
I am hoping that you're addressing this at a global level, but I am fearful that you are not. If not, I've probably heard the last from you.

I wish you a very happy life.


Subject: I'm truly sorry about your experience at Wendy's
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 00:27:33 +0000

Dear Jerry --

My name is Ken and I am the operating partner of the Wendy's in _________, MI. I just received a copy of your concerns today and I want to begin by apologizing for your experience at a Wendy's restaurant.

I'm not sure if it is was one of the restaurants I own and operate or if it was another location you visited. Either way you should not have had to experience the situation you did.

I understand your concerns for food safety in our restaurants and while I cannot speak for all Wendy's -- I wish to explain the steps we currently take in our franchise organization to minimize hair or other foreign objects getting into the food.

1. All manager are required to pass the national ServSafe Food Safety Managers Exam.

2. All new employees go through food safety training to include proper hand washing, personal hygiene (this includes having hair restrained under a baseball cap and not hanging in their face or extending past their shoulders in the back), how to avoid cross contamination and how to avoid time/temperature abuse.

3. We re-certify all employees on these food safety topics yearly in January and managers on the ServSafe every five years.

The above is verified by the local health departments semi-annually as well as by my leadership team and Wendy's corporate during unannounced inspections.

Again, I want to apologize for your experience. I had a similar situation happen to me at another restaurant in the past and I was very upset. I also would like to thank you for bringing this to our attention and I will be using this as an opportunity to reinforce the proper restraining of hair with my teams.

If you would like discuss this further with me personally, please feel free to contact me on my direct line at 586-555-7641 or at my email listed below.

I would also like to try offer you something whether or not it was one of my Wendy's you visited -- please let me know how I can be of service to you now or in the future.

Very truly yours,

Operating Partner
To: Ken (and someone named Keith that Ken keeps cc-ing)

Subject: RE: I'm truly sorry about your experience at Wendy's
Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 20:37:02 -0400


I appreciate the offer, and the follow-up. I didn't want this to go local, as I explained in my response to Rachel, I see this as a corporate procedure issue, rather than any one location. I see Wendy's restaruants, including your __________  location, as some of the cleanest in the industry.

It's funny--I was just at your __________ location today for my kids. It was a fine visit. I did, however notice that the various employees wear headwear, varying from cap to visor to no hat. To me, unless you go 100% hairnet, you can never avoid it.

Again, I appreciate your follow-up. I appreciate you reviewing procedures. The people at your store are great. Just keep in mind--no matter how often you review procedures, you can't stop gravity. I haven't had Wendy's since the hair, and it might be a little while longer, but I promise I'll be back.

Thanks again Ken!


PS--Hi Keith

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