Sometimes, customers have a real problem with the way that fast food restaurants operate. They feel cheated and they make their feelings known publicly. The eateries on this list have been subject to some complaints. Read on to get the inside scoop on restaurants that have reputations for cheating customers.
10. Is Starbucks Using Too Much Ice?
Iced drinks from Starbucks are delicious, but is the company overdoing it on the ice, with a mind to making more money? Some people think so. However, the courts ultimately disagreed. In 2016, a disgruntled Starbucks patron decided to sue the coffee chain, because that unhappy customer believed that Starbucks was ripping people off by adding excess ice to cold drinks. The lawsuit was filed in California. In the lawsuit, Starbucks was accused of adding major ice to its cold drinks and fudging the numbers when it came to fluid ounces for those frosty beverages. The head plaintiff in the lawsuit felt that Starbucks was making a financial killing on its cold drinks, while customers were getting shortchanged. The lawsuit alleged that Starbucks customers who ordered cold drinks of all sizes weren’t receiving the advertised fluid ounces, because of the high ice content. Starbucks reps felt that the lawsuit was a frivolous undertaking, and one rep let the public know that they may request lighter ice in their drinks if they want to. A judge also found the lawsuit frivolous, so it was dismissed. The judge felt that Starbucks customers were intelligent enough to know that ice in their drinks would take up some space that might otherwise contain more liquid beverage. However, Starbucks has been sued more than once over the excess ice issue. A class action lawsuit was filed in Illinois, which was a lot like the California lawsuit. If you feel that you’re getting the short end of the stick when Starbucks loads your cup with ice, take action. Request light ice when you order. Then, the problem should disappear.
9. Jimmy John’s Had A Sprout Controversy
In 2013, Jimmy John’s was in the news because a woman filed a lawsuit alleging that the fast food sandwich chain failed to add sprouts to her sandwich. Sprouts of the alfalfa variety were supposed to be included in the sandwich, as per the menu description. This lawsuit was known as Starks versus Jimmy John’s LLC. It was filed in the superior court in Los Angeles. According to the lawsuit documents, Jimmy John’s cheated the customer by intentionally misrepresenting the product, engaging in fraudulent business practices and interfering with a contract. The lawsuit also alleged that the sandwich chain violated the terms of the California False Advertising Act. After the lawsuit was filed, the fast food joint’s leadership agreed to stop marketing the whole “sprouts on your sandwich” thing. The company also made a sizable donation to charity, which totaled one hundred grand. In the terms of the lawsuit settlement, Jimmy John’s agreed to offer vouchers to customers who ordered sandwiches with sprouts between February of 2012 and July of 2014. The company would need to spend up to three-quarters of a million bucks on these vouchers, minus settlement administration costs of fifteen grand. Each voucher was valued at a buck and forty cents. The women who led the lawsuit got five grand, plus one voucher. She also had her legal costs covered and they were steep. Despite all this, Jimmy John’s did return to offering sprouts on sandwiches, with very mixed results. In 2018, sprouts problems of another type surfaced at Jimmy John’s. The Centers for Disease Control and the FDA let the public know that Salmonella poisoning in a variety of USA states could be traced back to raw sprouts from Jimmy John’s sandwiches. The 2018 problem was actually the 7th incidence of tainted sprouts at Jimmy John’s sandwich shops. In 2018, the company took action by taking sprouts off the menu as a precaution.
8. Subway Was Accused Of Selling 11-inch Footlongs
Have you ever measured a Subway footlong? Maybe you should! One person did and discovered that a footlong sub really only measured eleven inches in length. In 2013, VIPs at Subway had to explain to the general public why their footlongs were coming up short. One Subway exec made a public statement about the length issues after an unhappy Subway customer posted a pic of an eleven-inch sub to social media. The post got a lot of attention, so Subway reps felt compelled to do a little damage control. According to the rep, Ron Dicker, each sandwich is made to order and buns are baked fresh each and every day, in over 38,000 Subway locations all over the world. Policies for ensuring optimal quality and consistent portion sizes are in place, but improper bread preparation may have led to a shorter sub at the Subway that the unhappy customer visited. In this case, the Subway branch that made the sandwich was considered at fault. Customers are always watching to see if fast food restaurants are living up to their obligations. In the age of social media, it’s all too easy for customers to share their opinions and pictures of fast food with the world at large. This is why fast food chains like Subway need to be vigilant about delivering consistent quality and value. If they don’t, they may get caught in a PR nightmare.
7. The Domino’s Order Tracker May Lie
Have you ever stared, transfixed, at the Domino’s Order Tracker, marveling at the fact that it is able to show you every step of the order and delivery process, in real time? Well, part of the magic of the Domino’s Order Tracker may be a little bit of an illusion. Some people are convinced that this handy tracker is nothing more than a half-hour timer that starts to run when an order is placed. Others disagree. They think the timer is real, but believe that it can be inaccurate, depending on how Domino’s staff operate. The truth is that there are plenty of variables when it comes to getting orders ready and delivered. Some of these variables just can’t be tracked accurately. This is why an order may not arrive at your door exactly when the online order tracker says that it will. People who feel cheated by the order tracker just don’t think it’s real. They may believe this, even though it’s not quite true, because Domino’s staff aren’t following Domino’s food prep and delivery practices to the letter. For example, a delivery person may take more than the stipulated three orders per trip, which slows down delivery times overall. A lot can change or go wrong, although Domino’s has a pretty amazing track record in terms of getting food to people within half an hour of order placement. Domino’s staff who post online say the timer is real, but shady business practices by staff, rather than Domino’s higher-ups, often make the timer system faulty.
6. Are McDonald’s Burgers Shrinking?
McDonald’s actually denies that its burgers have gotten smaller, but some customers who post online are convinced that Mickey D’s has shrunk its iconic burgers. One unhappy customers asked McDonald’s about the smaller burgers and was informed by official McDonald’s reps that the burger sizes at McDonald’s haven’t changed since the fast food chain’s earliest days. There’s always the possibility that some burgers seem smaller due to issues during food preparation. Maybe one burger was fried for longer, and shrunk due to moisture loss, or something like that. In some cases, customers who feel cheated by McDonald’s allegedly smaller burgers may just be mistaken. They burgers may seem smaller, but actually be the same size as always. Fast food chains like McDonald’s have to deal with a steady barrage of criticism from customers, even though they serve billions. There will always be customers who have bad things to say. McDonald’s is quite open and responsive when it comes to answering the tough questions. This fast food chain didn’t get to be such a mammoth success because their business practices aren’t on point. The size of burger and chicken sandwich buns sold at Aussie McDonald’s did shrink at one point, but this wasn’t done to deceive customers. It was done so that Aussie McDonald’s burgers would be the same sizes as McDonald’s burgers in other countries. The buns got smaller in 2009 and McDonald’s reps in Australia responded to criticism by lowering the prices of the burgers by a nickel apiece.
5. Long John Silver’s Big Catch Was Anything But
The Big Catch meal at Long John Silver is notorious, because it was deemed “the worst meal in America” by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Laden with sodium and fat, this seafood meal has also disappointed customers who felt that they didn’t get the advertised portion sizes. Customers were promised 7 to 8 ounces of high-quality haddock. Samples taken by the Center for Science in the Public Interest showed that only four and a half ounces of haddock was present in a Big Catch. The batter for the Big Catch weighed in at three ounces. So, this meal contained 60 percent fish product and forty percent batter. After these findings came to light, Long John Silver took “the worst meal in America” off the menu and reconsidered the way that it fried fish. This was a good thing, because the Big Catch had a shocking 33 grams of trans fats. Trans fats aren’t too healthy. These days, Long John Silver offers shrimp, salmon, pacific cod, wild Alaska pollock and other non-seafood menu items, such as chicken planks. No haddock menu items are currently available.
4. Some Chipotle Locations Overcharged Customers
Should Chipotle restaurants have rounded up customer’s bills, ostensibly to make it easier for Chipotle staff to make change? Probably not, right? But this really happened back in 2012. When we go to fast food chains, we expect to be charged the prices on the menu, plus any applicable taxes. We don’t expect fast food chains to round up our bills. When fast food chains like Chipotle do round up, they rake in the cash, even when they claim that rounding up is all about serving customers faster. Fortunately, some people check their receipts carefully and spot anomalies. This is why the rounding up process by some Chipotle locations was exposed. After the rounding up issue was publicized, Chipotle stopped the practice. The Chipotle locations where rounding up was happening were situated in New Jersey, USA. Chipotle claimed that it didn’t make any profits from rounding up, but it seems like extra pennies would add up over time. The rationale behind rounding up was about making it simpler and faster for Chipotle clerks to give change to customers, according to Chipotle company reps. This would speed up lines and promote customer satisfaction. However, the whole thing definitely backfired, as customers don’t like it when restaurants charge them more than indicated on the menu.
3. One KFC Put Customer’s Health At Risk
When we spend hard-earned money on fast food, we don’t expect it to be produced in fast food restaurants that have sickening hygiene practices. Unfortunately, one KFC location in the West End of London, UK, did cheat customers by offering them food which was prepared in a pest-ridden environment, by employees who didn’t have easy access to hand soap. This type of fast food may lead to food poisoning. This KFC didn’t live up to KFC’s typical business practices and it was fined. After the fine was levied, the restaurant was renovated. The fine for poor hygiene was 19 thousand pounds. The fine was due to a range of disgusting circumstances, such as a cockroach crawling onto a serving implement and lack of hand soap in the prep room. Mice were also spotted at this dirty and disorganized fried chicken outlet. Overall, five breaches in good hygiene practices were admitted to by management. Most KFC locations do not cheat customers by preparing food in dirty surroundings. This situation is a rarity and it’s been rectified.
2. Beware Of Phantom Charges At Panera
In the realm of fast food scams, one interesting and seemingly unintentional ripoff is phantom charges at Panera. These phantom charges weren’t a supernatural occurrence, but they seemed a little bit mysterious, to say the least. These charges surfaced in 2017, so this issue is fairly recent. A customer named Curtis, who frequented Panera, noticed that one tab for his usual meal for two was higher than it should be. Nine dollars had been added to the bill, but there wasn’t a line entry to account for the extra nine dollars that was added. This nine dollars was a phantom charge that seemed to be added on automatically by the cash register. Curtis brought the manner up to the store’s manager, after making sure that the restaurant hadn’t jacked up its prices. The manager was sympathetic and offered Curtis free food to make up for the mistake. The manager seemed mystified by the phantom charge, just like Curtis was. After the situation became public, the CIO at Panera, John Meister, let people know that a computer glitch was the reason for the phantom charge. Changes were made to reduce or eliminate the risk of phantom charges in the future.
1. Burger King Decaf May Contain Caffeine
If you order decaf at Burger King and get caffeinated coffee, you’re being cheated, because you’ll be fired up on caffeine, even though you may have wanted to avoid it, for health reasons or because you didn’t want it to keep you awake. Reports have circulated online that Burger King has offered customers regular coffee that’s been diluted, in place of actual decaf. If so, customers who ordered the fake decaf may get a bit less caffeine, due to their drinks begin diluted, but they probably got a bit of a caffeine buzz that they didn’t want. Plus, the coffee probably tasted horrible, because watered-down coffee isn’t to most people’s tastes. Bear in mind that some complaints about fast food restaurants cheating customers are from people who post anonymously and don’t pursue formal complaints against fast food chains. These people can really say anything about fast food joints, because they are hiding behind aliases online. So, every complaint about a fast food joint cheating customers may not be legit. Sometimes, information about sketchy business practices by fast food chains comes from former or current employees who use online message boards to vent. Most fast food chains do make a concerted effort to offer good value for the money.