SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Wendy’s claims a former franchisee serves unapproved and possibly tainted food, continues to use the Wendy’s name though his franchise was revoked, and says he hurled equipment and obscenities at an auditor.
In its federal complaint, Wendy’s claims that Jacob Zachariah threw a laptop and other equipment and shouted invectives at an auditor sent to check on reports of use of unapproved foods and lax temperature controls on meat coolers at the Wendy’s in Ukiah, Calif.
Ohio-based Wendy’s International claims Zachariah continues to operate the restaurant, using its registered trademarks, though Wendy’s terminated the franchise agreement almost immediately after the alleged assault on the auditor.
Wendy’s claims it received reports in 2008 of problems at the Ukiah location, one of three run by Zachariah in the past 23 years, when a “Sparkle Evaluation” showed the restaurant did not follow meat-storage standards and used unapproved foods.
A subsequent audit revealed 200 deficiencies at the restaurant, including unacceptable temperature deviations in meat coolers and soiled equipment, according to the complaint. Wendy’s claims it sent Zachariah two notices of default demanding he fix the problems and attend a “serve-safe” certification class, but he failed to do either.
Wendy’s claims it then sent the auditor to the Ukiah restaurant, who insisted Zachariah fix the food safety problems immediately, at which point Zachariah shouted obscenities in the auditor’s face, grabbed his shirt collar, shoved him against a wall and threw the laptop tablet, hitting the auditor in the back of the head, necessitating medical treatment.
The fast-food chain sent a notice terminating the franchise agreement and demanding Zachariah close the restaurant and stop using Wendy’s trademarks the day after the altercation with the auditor, according to the suit, but the restaurant remains open.
Wendy’s International alleges trademark infringement and breach of contract. It is represented by Jeffery Hamerling of DLA Piper.