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April 18, 2005

USA: Wendy’s ups reward for ‘finger in chilli’ information

Fast food chain Wendy’s has raised the reward it is offering for information on the case of the finger in the chilli to $100,000. The company says it believes there is “no credible evidence” linking Wendy's to the foreign object.

Fast food chain Wendy’s has raised the reward it is offering for information on the case of the finger in the chilli to $100,000. The company says it believes there is “no credible evidence” linking Wendy’s to the foreign object.

 “Our independent franchisees and their employees in the San Francisco Bay area are the real victims,” said Wendy’s president and chief operating officer Tom Mueller. “They have been especially hard hit by the negative publicity caused by the incident. They’ve done nothing wrong, yet they are paying a severe price with sales down significantly in the area. Our franchisees have had to lay off some employees and reduce workers’ hours.”

“Our brand reputation has been affected nationally. We are determined to find out what really happened in this incident,” said Mueller.

“There is no credible evidence that Wendy’s is the source of the foreign object,” he said. “We have conducted a thorough internal investigation and we remain very confident in our quality control measures. Law enforcement officers have interviewed our employees in the San Jose store and no one has suffered a hand injury. The employees passed lie detector tests. Furthermore, we confirmed with our suppliers that no hand injuries were reported in their production process. The Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health inspected the restaurant and gave us a clean bill of health.”

“Based on reports, the claimant is no longer pursuing a claim against Wendy’s, and her original attorney is no longer representing her,” Mueller added. “This individual has filed several lawsuits against other organizations in recent years.”

Wendy’s is now offering a $100,000 reward for the first person providing verifiable information into the origin of the foreign object found in a bowl of chilli on March 22, 2005, at the Wendy’s restaurant at 1405 Monterey Rd. in San Jose, CA. This is an increase from the original offer of $50,000.

The company is running newspaper advertisements highlighting the reward offer and its toll-free phone number. “We believe somebody knows exactly what happened and we hope the reward will encourage this person to come forward soon,” Mueller said.

Steve Jay of Wendy’s of San Jose said, “This terrible experience has touched everyone in the Wendy’s family. We’re a close group and we care passionately about our customers and our brand. It’s very sad that people’s livelihoods have been impacted by all that has happened since March 22.”

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