WENDY’S   √-√√  4 of 4 Bad Meals  Franchise Disaster

 

WENDY’S BURGERS

AND NATURAL FRIES

newswendysfries.jpg

Wendy's Natural Cut Fries With Sea Salt, hit the signs, billboards and airwaves implying something radical in their menu...real food. 

They had to do something In a recent 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Wendy's French fries came in at number four.  They followed McDonald's, Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger. Perhaps that is why after 41-years, they were pressured to dump the existing old school fries. 

Change comes slow to the Idiot Corpo world.   Because the truth rarely gets to the top, they are sheltered, by folks they pay to keep the noise away.

Anyway we decided to test and taste the “ Real fries” implying everything you have been getting before hand are not real fries.   Basically something cooked on a treadmill 1000 miles away and then flash frozen, and dumped in a fryer to me is not fresh food.  Mixed reviews, some liked them, some didn’t.  One person commented, “They tasted old". 


McDONALD’S RULES
The undisputed King Of Fries is not the jerk Burger King but the jerk in clowns clothing, Ronald McDonald. Why?   Simple, the McNuts use federally approved trans-fats heavily douched with synthetic meat or beef flavored enhancers.  Millions of dollars are spent by McDonalds research is to find what sells, not whats best. The second problem is they undercook everything in the name of speed,  just like the others do. Cheap food sometimes not done right sells when the taste is all they care about.  Someone referred to fast food as legal roadkill.  I think it was me.

COMPANY GOAL
Their plan was threefold. To find a way leave the potato skins on, make the fries crispier and give them a much tastier flavor. They succeeded, partially, the fries are great to some, unimpressed by others, and the old style requested to be brought back. 

But they are not natural unless chemical treatments of the products are an accepted norm today. They may be covered by the statement "natural cut", which refers to shape, it is not a natural product,  it's the usual food made better (?) by chemistry.  Being cut was the last natural act that spud saw.

According to their CMO (Chief Merchandising Officer?) Ken Calwell, the product has to meet company goals of low cost to consumers, fast production, and dumped in your lap delivery through the drive-in window.  Low cost is the magic word here and can also mean higher profits.

On the company side and this is my opinion, it had to be integrated with present frying equipment, the fats and oils used had to be available at low-cost pricing and have longevity over the cooking cycle before the fryer looks like something from Chernobyl.

Always follow the money in the food business it’s all about profit so the guys on the top do well.  As a writer my two favorite topics, one is writing about Food, I have a passion called eating, and two Politics, I detest slimeballs in the political arena.  Both of which will never decrease in availability of product, or as I say both are target rich environments. And a lot of what is in the food business parallels what is in politics.


WENDY'S  vs. FIVE GUYS   ( I go with Five Guys )

          WENDYS                              

           FIVE GUYS                                                    

NO MORE STEAMING TO REMOVE SKINS
Step eliminated

WHOLE IDAHO POTATOES

"NATURAL CUT AT PLANT"
Simply put "sliced and diced"

SHIPPED IN 50 LB BAG

COATED WITH SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE
It prevents cut fries from turning brown

DONE

COATED WITH DEXTROSE 

Also prevents turning brown

AND FRIED AT THE PLANT BEFORE BEING
FROZEN AND SHIPPED




So the major difference between Wendy's natural cut and FIVE GUYS is reality.  These are still processed pre-cooked foods doused with chemicals and then served. Heres what happens when they get to the store. 


                                     WENDY'S                          

                   FIVE GUYS                                   

FRYING OIL CONTAINS
DIMETHLPOLYSILOXANE
To prevent foaming

COOKED IN PURE PEANUT OIL ONCE

COOKED SECOND TIME AT STORE

SERVED IN PAPER BAG


TWO CLAIMS THAT MEAN NOTHING
Wendy's Natural Cut fries are also frozen like everybody else's, except Five Guys, even though it's a big point of distinction for Wendy's in their corporate advertising that they never freeze their hamburgers. But partially double cooking and freezing fries are OK.  

Wendy's mentions  "100% Russet potatoes," but John Keeling of the National Potato Council says that this is nothing new. “Virtually all processed French fries are Russets,” he said in an email.  Ken Calwell says that making Wendy's menu items more natural and more real is the company's "North Star."  May I suggest you look at the real foods from the competition, they are far more north than your southern thinking. 

Regardless, new fries or old fries are still a fried food that increases fat and calorie consumption. Sea salt is a less processed form of salt but it is still salt all the same and something to be limited in most diets. If you still hunger for real fries done in peanut oil go to Five Guys and enjoy a real Hamburger and Fries from fresh cut potatoes. Not as pretty as processed fries but the real thing.


WENDY’S - IS THIS THE WORST STORE IN THE CHAIN?
Address: 2036 N.  Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, FL 33607 Near Spruce
Rated 2.1/5.0 on Google and Yelp, and Me

13 REVIEWS on GOOGLE BY OTHERS

  • “When ordering the woman was rude and cut me off multiple times.” 
  • They were rude, and nasty to me.” 
  • Terrible service. Food is never fresh. I’ve gone to this Wendy's 6 times within the past 2 months and every time I go it's always the same song and dance. I ask for spicy nuggets and then when I check my food and they’ve given me regular nuggets and they give me attitude when I ask for what I ordered.
    This last time they traded me out my nuggets for hard ones, I realized after I pulled out of the drive thru. I walked inside with my nuggets and sat at the front counter for 10 minutes before I flagged someone and they just told me they were on it and it was going be 4 more minutes. I finally got my nuggets and they were soggy. Never going back to this location again.
  • Horrible service. When ordering the woman was rude and cut me off multiple times. 
  • After waiting in line for 10 minutes behind the one car in front of me, when I got to the window the same employee flung the window open and very rudely asked ..The manager was standing right next to her and was part of the conversation and also gave me attitude all while I was being very patient and polite. At this point I said " never mind you have been very rude I don't want to eat here " and they both said responded rudely ( no surprise ) and slammed the window closed. DO NOT EAT HERE. After this I drove to the Wendy's 10 minutes away on Kennedy and also received horrible service. 
  • I paid $6 for a chicken sandwich and it tasted like it had been sitting out for 6 hours.
  • Stopped by this Wendy’s at 8:PM, only car in the line and no visible customers inside. Ordered a double bacon portabella melt on brioche as a combo and pretzel bacon cheeseburger. The (impolite bordering on outright rude) staff asked us to pull forward for our food after paying. After 12 minutes of waiting we finally received our order.   A pretzel bacon cheeseburger with no pretzel bun, disgustingly limp greens, and so drenched in sauce the cold bun was soggy around the ends. Also it was upside down with sauce covering the box.  Bacon Portabella melt on brioche that's lacking the double burger that was paid for. Overall $15+ for an inedible burger and mediocre fries. But hey they couldn’t mess up the soda at least.


LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF WENDY’S  
FOLLOWUP LETTER WAS MAILED IN CASE THIS eMAIL ACCIDENTALLY GETS LOST

Dear Todd Penegor, 
Congratulations on your appointment as Commander in Chef of Wendy’s and hopefully I’m not bothering you, I just wanted to comment on one of your locations.  I read your company blogs which are very spiritual, enlightening and I would rate your treatise a four stars in corporate feel good memorandums.  It’s a nice blog, feel good dynamics, warm family ties and charming,  but means little to the consumer who would consider it corpo-guano when he eats at this store. 

Obviously the team at this location did not read your blog.   Obviously following Google and Yelp at all your locations in Tampa some actually made it to three stars, the bulk were 1.5 to 2.5 in ratings.  Few if any cared to say something nice.  I understand bad commentary travels faster than good.  In this memo I mention a few points about what is really happening before I send it in for publication with an article I am doing on Burger Wars, circa 2016.

Maybe you should dine at your store on Dale Mabry near Spruce in Tampa, see how it operates and is managed.  I am serious, your Wendy’s in the Tampa central location is  absolutely one of the worst and dirtiest burger franchises in the industry I have ever stopped into, I write about all of them and a couple of other chains (about 100 other places) and now your folks have topped the list.  

On a par with the notorious Egg Platters in St. Petersburg who also went south (south referring to down) beyond belief, and we were not amazed when the County Health Department closed several of their locations two weeks later, complaints galore.  If the front end of your store number this store is this filthy and bad, what’s really cooking in the kitchen?   I cover the fast food and plebeian beat of the food industry in and around Florida and I could see why there were no customers in this place.

Maybe we should meet, dress casually and visit a few of your locations, just like on Undercover Boss it should be an eye opener.  I'd be happy to join you. I would be happy to point out a few things that don’t show up on the spread sheets or friendly blogs. I’ll be happy to show you the locations of franchises doing well...I mainly write about the food the general public eats, the Plebes Crowd, the common folk, the free citizens, not the wealthy or the Patricians. 

LOCATION :  WENDY’S

2036 N Dale Mabry Highway Near Spruce

TampaFL 33607   •   (813) 879-8438

I expect dirty Waffle Houses, a good PR guy calls it redneck ambiance, with bad food handling, some dirty Burger Kings, their motif looks grungy, I expect some McDonalds to get nothing right or improperly cooked even with all the pipes , bells, whistles and gongs needed to process totally processed food,  but Wendy’s to have a location on Dale Mabry in Tampa in the condition I saw.  Not good, not enticing, not to be visited again.

With absolutely filthy, tables chairs , bathrooms and floors with a staff I some of whom I would fire tomorrow or get a new management team, or hire some shoppers,  light a fire under the district manger, it boggles my mind.   No wonder google rated it 2.1/5.0, I thought they were generous, after  90% of the commentary was not positive, make that 95%,  Hmmm, actually no one praised them…

The mens bathroom was filthy, bad enough as I was about to drop a dime and call the health department, the staff incoherent and I’m being kind, I could not even understand what she was saying, and about as polite as Attila the Hun, the food was absolutely horrid, took a long and I mean a long time to cook, I dumped more than half after two bites and left.   Frankly I was not sure what went on backstage.  Your shinning new combo, the Bacon Mozzarella Burger was a disaster.  

Still hungry I went to Five guys and ate, fresh, hot, I could see it being made, gloved employees and handled, simple efficient, a clean environment,  exact the way it was ordered and competitive in price.  Very satisfied with their presentation.   More so then at Wendy’s where I had to study the menu, which to an average consumer requires crypto courses, too much fanfare and the tray comes out with a burger on it.  

I hate working for lunch.  The two highest rated chains both found out gimmick food doesn’t work.  K.I.S.S.  and make the burger better, and easy to order, staff that smiles and says thank you and a clean environment.

I simply dropped in to eat, I was very early picking up a friend at Tampa International and Voila!  Lunch became a story for my reporting.  When I critique places I do not address the staff.  I do not alert them, I test them three times at different times of the day.  They do not know me, the hidden shopper.  One store in Pinellas county was OK, one in Pasco was fair.  

I take my lumps and this one was bad, I was too embarrassed to put claim check in for reimbursement,  I write on my websites and four other locations like TripAdvisor, and some to the franchise industry only.  Thus I keep the critiques honest and credit when its due and this place is a frickin disaster in fast food.

I also research, glean from patrons and colleagues and to my surprise a few  (I’m being kind many others)  other stores in this area did not exactly receive praise via Google and Yelp and...Most not hitting higher than two of five, and I received similar remarks about another store in Tampa Bay which is the center of the universe for franchise fast foods.  It makes me wonder is this a systemic problem, too many multiple stores under one manager or owner or just sloppy supervision.   

I fully understand bad commentary travels on the web more often than good commentary.  Some good commentary (rare) is so boilerplate, an idiot can spot it.  One rogue store is one thing, but several are management issues.  You need to get something going, this store and a few others are not doing your branding any good in the Tampa Bay area.  

Frugal food does not mean cheap food or cheap or dirty service, it simply means affordable, this experience was nothing close to exceeding my expectations on a positive way, it went south and I could see the Antartica from my car window.  You need a campaign, paint, soap and water, and welcomes... 

Thanks for taking the time to read this, disregard my followup letter, it was sent to make sure you get this, lots of emails get buried these days and only feel good stuff gets through… I choose not to use your blog and show a little discreetness. That won’t happen the next time.


Al Jacobson

ajacobs2@tampabay.rr.com, aljacobskitchen.com


From: Nancy Evans <nevans@starboardwendys.com>

Subject: Wendys Tampa Visit
Date: July 20, 2016 at 8:24:10 AM EDT
To: "ajacobs2@tampabay.rr.com" <ajacobs2@tampabay.rr.com>

Mr. Jacobson,
I was forwarded a copy of your letter to Mr. Penegor.   I am the Director of Operations for the franchise that oversees the Wendy’s located on Dale Mabry in Tampa that you recently visited.  We appreciate and thank you for the time you took to provide feedback about your visit.  Please know that we take all feedback seriously as an avenue to address issues and to recognize accomplishments.  

I have and will continue to personally look into the issues you brought up in your letter.  Your experience is not what we strive to deliver to our customers.  I have spoken with the District Manager and will be addressing the restaurant team, while looking for any training gaps or policy issues that might have or are occurring.  Again, we sincerely apologize for your restaurant experience.

Sincerely,
Nancy Evans

Director Of Area  Operations
The Starboard Group Management
Florida/ PA/NJ

609-731-2353 cell



NEXT VISIT:  
DECEMBER 26, 2017,
WENDY’S RESTAURANT
4960 EAST BAY DRIVE
LARGO FLORIDA 33770  727-531-3451


“NOT THE OLD WENDY’S, DAVE and WENDY

WOULD NOT and ARE NOT PART OF THIS”

I’m hoping in the battle of the burger wars that some of these fast food companies change their venues and values for 2018 and figure out that serving good food is their primary goal and a satisfied public the key to their success.

I’m also aware I’m probably stepping over bounds with my commentary to the paper and a chance even Tripadvisor will not print this but, I tell it like it is, My ongoing Battle of the Burgers in the BAY is all about fast food and the plebeian food they serve, some are better than others with a good business profile, but this chain has got some problems and it’s in the management.

On my way home after an arduous day, and hearing about the BACONATOR Double on the media, I made a right turn into the wrong place and sat down and ordered a Baconator meal for eight dollars and change.

The server according to my ticket was Alexandra and she was pleasant and did her job well with a smile. No problem with service and customer treatment.  

Almost two years ago, in 2016 I wrote about the worst Burger meal and place in Tampa. It was a Wendy’s and I wrote and published a letter to their President and got the usual corpo guano reply.  Nothing from the President, he turned it over to the franchise holders “ Director of Operations”   ( We call that the Di-rectum of Delusional Answers)   Lots of fine words and the food is still bad. I wrote and sent an email, exhibited above, personally to Todd Penegor, President of Wendy’s and got the expected reply from the corporate excuser, Nancy Evans, “ the usual we’ll look into it”.

Being a sleuth, I found out 

No matter what level of food you serve and I cover many levels, what you serve is what you are. Don’t judge customers with surveys, judge the stuff you are sending out from the kitchen.  Expectations?


The only thing I can say is I renamed it the REPULSINATOR.  What I got was not in the picture from their ads and website. It had bacon all right, overcooked dried and stiff as a board, probably around too long. I would not have served it. The picture below was seconds after a found a clean table and it was cold. The meat is obviously dry and edge burnt, I could go on and on... 



I took the remains, I tore off the half of it and pitched it and left.  I carefully dissected the remains and actually glad I didn’t eat it... I took it home to my office and lab kitchen and looked to see what it was really made of.   Nothing like the picture,as far as taste, appearance ,texture, serving temp.  

I put it in the microwave to see what the heat had done to it before when they served it. It confirmed everything. The next step in testing was whether I really would taste it and the answer was no.  I wrapped it back in the greasy napkins and made a wonderful three point four foot corner shot thru the open lid of my garbage can.


The meat, two dried out patties was dark, look at the edges, cold and dried out too. Best described as inedible. Obviously pre-made and nuked or on the warm lights too often.  The cheese was a smear on the bun, prompting “what cheese”?  It wasn’t fresh.   A dollop of catsup and something else, mayo maybe I haven’t figured out yet.

I looked at it, took out my cellphone, photographed it, threw half away, ate the fries which were nothing to brag about, even though they claim great fries. I drank the root beer, pitched the tray, and took it home to study it and test it for alien DNA.  I don't believe this. Since I write for many places, I do not complain nor indicate what I do, it’s a policy I have so I can maintain my anonymity.  I went home and made dinner.   This place really bottomed me out.  

This is four stops in two years at three Wendy’s on both sides of the bay, Tampa and Largo-Clearwater and the worst food I have seen served in any of the Burger joints and that includes Burger King and Mickey Dee.  Dale Mabry, Kennedy Blvd and near USF.  Old dirty looking and really run down.

My goodness, you have to work at making something that bad and actually serving it to the public. I won’t go into some other details such as at 6:30, the mean time for dinner the place was not bused.    Tables were as dirty as the patrons left them, in other words not clean and drink residue and food particles on about every table. I found one on the side that was not used, I won’t go into the other things I saw because from past experience they do nothing about it.


The Wendy’s Company, is an American holding company for the major fast food chain established in 1929, Wendy’s. Its headquarters are in Dublin, Ohio. 
Stock price: WEN (NASDAQ)  $16.49 -0.02  (-0.12%)
Customer service: 1 (888) 624-8140
Number of employees: 37,000 (2,500 salaried, 34,500 hourly)
Subsidiaries: Wendy’s, Wendy’s International, MORE is the interesting part....
Key people: Nelson Peltz, Todd A. Penegor

At one time Wendy’s had an owner and his he named the corporation with his daughters name.  In those days, simpler meant better and they served a decent burger... I think they have lost their passion when the leadership changed,  Dave passed on and his daughter obviously lacked the passion to continue corporately  but  made sure she owned about 28 stores, which is a decent income and Wendy’s without the ownership on a person to person level , became another corporate bean counter run disaster.  Many suggested it fell the same fate as Ray Crock of McDonalds and the Wal-Mart Made in America program.

SECRETS:  The MORE in red I found out is that Starboard Group Management is the franchise division step up. With 180 stores under their direction. All three of the stores in Tampa that were dirty or filthy we ate at ( I pitched it)  were under their banner. This is why we coined the phrase  “Corporte El Grande Poo-Poo Y Guano”.   


DAVE THOMAS,
WE’LL ALWAYS DO IT DAVE'S WAY

When he was eight years old, Dave Thomas dreamed he'd run the best restaurant in the world. He didn’t just achieve his dream, he shared it with everyone.  Dave loved two things above all else, food and people. That's why he started Wendy's. He believed in a place where you get great food, made fresh, served by nice people. At all our restaurants we do our best to carry on that simple idea, every day. It's his legacy. Our name is Wendy's, but we will always be Dave's place. Learn about the legacy and see how you can keep it alive.

After trying all five of his children's names for the restaurant, Dave decided on daughter Melinda's nickname - Wendy. The first menu included hot 'n juicy hamburgers, rich 'n meaty chili, french fries, soft drinks and a Frosty Dairy Dessert. And the homey interior featured carpeting, Tiffany-style lamps, newsprint tabletops and Bentwood chairs - very innovative for the time.

A poorly run franchise just like the Tampa location and this place was refaced about two years ago. Looked good, tasted bad must be their bean counter motis operandi.  Starboard instead of doing it right makes too many left turns...

As I always state, their may be a few good stores in the chain doing it Dave’s way but Tampa proper needs a make over. Dave must be doing cartwheels in his grave,  really sad... At on time they were on top.


Al Jacobson



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