Important NEW and corrected information about Wendy’s new menu and dairy allergies!

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 contact@allergyeats.com

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 (https://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!

Comments

    Author:
    Bev Bertenshaw
    Written:


    Good job!!! You provide a great service!

    Author:
    Kel
    Written:


    I am going to Wendy’s in about an hour or so, so will report back. I called ahead and was assured that the buns didn’t change (they have a bit more sugar is all) and the meat didn’t change, either, just got thicker. Therefore, I was told I could still safely eat as long as I make it clear I can’t have the buttered bun. So, we will see how they do. Ours is usually really good with special orders (of all kinds), so we’ll see how this goes.

    Author:
    Janelle Reagan
    Written:


    I went to Wendy’s last weekend and got one of the “new” burgers. I’m not a fan – I know this type of food is not exactly good for you to begin with, but I felt a little sick to my stomach after I ate. My daughter has peanut and tree nut allergies, so the changes didn’t affect her. I might try an unbuttered bun if I decide to go there again.

    Author:
    Kim Kressler
    Written:


    My concern is the cross contamination with the employee handling the buttered buns and then handling my non-buttered bun! They are wearing gloves and the butter will be transfered to the non-buttered bun, unless they change their gloves. This will also occur when they are putting on the lettuce and tomato…. they have gloves that i think have been contaminated by butter, touch the condiments and thus you would be getting the butter on your burger, via the condiments. My 2 sons are anaphylactic to dairy and we will not be going to Wendy’s anymore. I can’t risk the workers that get minimum wage to not contaminate my kids burger.

    Author:
    Susan C
    Written:


    Thank you for gathering all of this information. With a son with a dairy allergy, our family will be sure to request a crispy chicken sandwich with a non-buttered, non-toasted bun and explain that the request is due to a dairy allergy.

    Author:
    Melissa
    Written:


    I will be skipping Wendy’s all together. I never really ate there to begin with so this isn’t a loss for us, but I imagine Wendy’s will be losing other costumers as well.

    Author:
    Kel
    Written:


    I went to Wendy’s yesterday and had no problem. I made it clear that I was allergic to dairy and could not have a buttered bun. There was no trace of butter anywhere on the bun (even from being handled), and no one made a fuss. I even called ahead and was assured they’d take care of me. They have a separate toaster for the buns and while I can’t see what they’re doing (which annoys me), I had no problems. The cashier didn’t really know anything (but she was obviously new) but the manager was excellent. I’ll go again.

    Author:
    Mary Thomas
    Written:


    One more reason not to eat fast food.

    Author:
    food challenged foodie
    Written:


    Recently we had a last minute food emergency and my daughter had to eat at Wendy’s. We went through the drive through and there was no sign or information any where stating the new change. I was so glad to have known about the buttered rolls as my daughter has a dairy allergy. I confidently ordered a sandwich without the dairy and was told that was an impossible order. Given the knowledge I had, I explained this could be done and asked again. I was then screamed at through the intercom that they couldn’t possibly do this and then mid sentence, a very kind sounding voice, cut off this lunatic and apologized profusely and assured me I was correct and that my order would definitely be made without dairy. I was so glad I knew this information up front. Will only go there if I am forced to.

    Author:
    Food Allergy Mom
    Written:


    In Canada, dairy allergic kids can safely eat the chicken nugget meal. Hopefully they won’t change the ingredients in that.

    Author:
    David
    Written:


    I encourage folks to call and express your dismay about this menu change.

    Not only are they about to lose a whole population of existing and potential customers, the addition of “buttered buns” to their menu does nothing to improve the general health of our society. It’s hard enough for Americans to find a healthy meal from a fast food restaurant, and now they’ve made their food selection less so….

    Their corporate number is:

    1-614-764-3100

    Author:
    meg
    Written:


    I believe they don’t care about excluding people with food allergies, because anything that increases sales period, works, regardless of who it marginalizes. I’m still trying to figure out why Green and Black organic chocolate put milk into their dark chocolate that previously did not have it. It seems as if sneaking in minute amounts of dairy, that don’t perceptibly improve the product, but make it off-limits to those with food allergies, forces those people to buy specialty niche-market products that are deliberately, instead of incidentally, free of dairy.

    Considering how conglomerates tend to own innumerably many brands, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that were a dishonest tactic to squeeze just a little bit more profit margin out of the public. Why else, in a time when food allergies are rising meteorically, would we be seeing products phasing IN dairy and such, when they didn’t contain it before? You would think they’d be phasing it out. Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but I have seen so many products I relied on, suddenly change their formula to include dairy in particular, that it begs explanation.

    Author:
    jenniferB
    Written:


    We went to Wendys just last Friday and yesterday (the day afterward), my son had horrible belly cramps all afternoon, very close to vomiting. We had a dollar menu chicken sandwich — I’d bet the bun was buttered. I’d not heard about it until today. I don’t trust “no butter please”, so we won’t be going to Wendys anymore. :( So sad.

    Author:
    AshleyH
    Written:


    I recently ate at Wendy’s a few days ago and asked about the buttered buns. I was assured my bun would be handled “extra carefully” because I am a breastfeeding mother whose son has dairy allergies. After a few hours of eating there, my son screamed and vomited, couldn’t sleep and flailed about for the rest of the night. When I called Wendy’s to tell them what had happened, the worker gave the phone to the manager after telling me I was wrong and the manager ended up firing his worker while I was on the phone and said next meals on him. I declined nicely, as I just can’t have that risk again.

Leave a Reply