In the almost two weeks since we published our blog post about the changes to Wendy’s menu (“New dairy allergy challenges at Wendy’s“), focusing primarily on their new buttered buns, we have learned that the information we shared was not 100% accurate. Given that we only had a few days before the new menu was released, we were forced to rely solely on our four calls to Wendy’s customer service reps for the information we published. I wish we had had the opportunity to get confirmation from individual restaurants as well, but we felt it was critical to get news of the new menu out as soon as possible in order to help those with dairy allergies avoid getting sick. Thankfully, while the details weren’t 100% accurate, we were still able to share with thousands of dairy-allergic individuals the main issue that Wendy’s was introducing buttered buns into their restaurants for the first time. To me, getting that important information out in a timely fashion was worth the embarrassment of our mistakes. (I also proved my own statement from the last blog entry correct when I said “Never blindly trust what you see online – even here – without taking all the proper steps to ensure your safety.”)
In any case, thanks to a caring franchisee from Phoenix and a representative from Wendy’s PR agency, we were alerted to the possible mistakes in our prior post and directed to the proper executive within Wendy’s for confirmation. Unfortunately, it took almost a week for a call back, thus delaying our access to the exact information (and our ability to write this post), but we pushed and pushed and finally succeeded, so we can now confidently share the correct information… and then some.
In our prior post, we stated the following [note that we eliminated prior bolded words in order to prevent further confusion]:
- The nutrition information table on their web site has NOT yet been fully updated for the new menu! While it is labeled September 2011, do NOT rely on this. This information should be updated in the next week or so. (Fortunately, the current list shows almost all burgers as having dairy anyway given that most are assumed to be cheeseburgers rather than hamburgers.)
- The buttered buns will be used on their seven premium burgers – Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy 1/4 lb, 1/2 lb, & 3/4 lb, the Bacon Deluxe single & double, and the Baconator single & double.
- The buttered buns will NOT be used on the value burgers – Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger Deluxe, Double Cheeseburger Deluxe, Double Stack. In addition, all of the kids burgers will be free of the buttered buns.
- All of the buttered buns will be toasted, as we believe all of the adult burger buns are. Therefore, only the children’s burgers will have buns that are free of cross-contamination risk from the toaster. Adult burgers with non-buttered buns will still be risky for those with a dairy allergy, so the best bet is to request a non-toasted bun.
- The buns – buttered or not – do not touch the grill, so there should be no greater risk of cross-contamination there.
- While the roll-out of the new menu begins Monday, it will take time for the entire chain to be updated. Each restaurant should have prominent in-store signage when the new menu is in place.
- At the current time, no Wendy’s products besides the burgers are affected by the menu change, though there will be new chicken sandwiches in January (no details yet).
Now, let me give the correct information, most of which was communicated by the Senior Vice President of Communications at Wendy’s
- The nutrition information table on the Wendy’s web site should now be fully updated to reflect the new menu.
- The buttered buns are NOW being used on BOTH their premium burgers AND premium sandwiches (including chicken)! THIS CONTRADICTS INFORMATION IN THE PRIOR POST!
- While the buttered buns are NOT CURRENTLY being used on the value or kids burgers and sandwiches, ALL burgers and sandwiches will be transitioning to the buttered buns between now and mid-November – including the kids burgers and sandwiches! Again, THIS IS CRITICAL INFORMATION THAT CONTRADICTS INFORMATION IN THE PRIOR POST! Be extremely careful and cautious, especially with your kids!
This new information from the SVP of Communications at Wendy’s matches up with what we were told by the Phoenix franchisee and the PR rep, HOWEVER it does NOT match with the information we received in our calls to Wendy’s customer service representatives AND it doesn’t match with the real world experience of one of our Twitter followers, who saw the buttered buns in a Denver Wendy’s, but noted that they were NOT being used on the chicken sandwiches.
SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?!?!?
The bottom line is this (according to the Wendy’s SVP of Communications): All those with a dairy allergy should make sure that they ask for an unbuttered, untoasted bun EVERY time, on EVERY sandwich, and that they inform the employee behind the counter about their dairy allergy!
Or to quote my colleague Sharon as she left our office after we received this new information: This is another lesson to ask, ask, ask when you dine out with a food allergy.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Sharon.
Wendy’s is a huge international chain and while they have definitive rules that they want all of their company and franchise stores to follow, that may not always be the case. Further, I can also say for certain that the information conveyed from Wendy’s customer service department wasn’t accurate either. However, I do NOT think that those dealing with a dairy allergy need avoid Wendy’s - everyone just needs to know the facts!
Again, I want to apologize for not having 100% accurate information in our original post, though I am quite happy that we were able to make thousands of dairy-allergic individuals aware that Wendy’s was going to start using buttered buns in the first place. Given the comments we’ve received across the blogosphere and social media, it seems that most were unaware of this new menu (and many said that Wendy’s was one of their “go to” restaurants in the first place), so we feel we did the right thing by publishing that original post before the new menu hit the restaurants.
Also, another heartfelt thanks to those in the Wendy’s organization who demonstrated their caring for our food allergy community. They didn’t have to contact us, but they did anyway. They also shared their confidence that dairy-allergic individuals could still be easily accommodated at Wendy’s by simply requesting a non-buttered, non-toasted bun. (And again, let them know that your requests are based on a dairy allergy.)
If you would like to share feedback about Wendy’s new menu, your experiences, or your thoughts about our posts, please voice your opinion by clicking Comments or Reply below! In addition, I would love to hear any first-hand experiences from those of you who have gone to a Wendy’s since the new menu was released! Did they get it right or not? Feel free to go to one in the coming days and help us with feet-on-the-street research! (We’ll even randomly select a few of you for an AllergyEats T-shirt.) Either share your experience below by clicking Comments or Reply, or send us your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
And as always, please remember to rate all of your dining experiences at our core AllergyEats site, www.allergyeats.com, or on our new mobile app for iPhone and Android. Each new rating, which only takes a minute, not only makes AllergyEats a more useful tool for our entire food allergy and intolerance community, but also gives us a stronger voice in advocating for this community – whether that means being invited to participate on government bodies, having new chains volunteer to share gift cards for our weekly AllergyEats Great Gift Card Giveaway (http://www.allergyeats.com/GiftCardGiveaway.php), or having a loud enough voice to attract the attention of restaurant executives in order to provide you with important allergy information. So please keep those ratings coming – they are the lifeblood of AllergyEats!