A resident of New York and other closely located residents demanded a jury trial for fast food restaurants, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s with the complaints that their burger ads exaggerate the sizes of the patties. Attorneys Anthony J. Russo and James C. Kelly represents Justin Chimienti and others. Similarly, an allegation was made against Burger King in March.
One of the representing Attorneys, James Kelly told FOX Business that “there is no good reason why Wendy’s and McDonald’s should be allowed to use trickery in their advertising”. Both attorneys also sent a copy of the filing to the news outlet after its submission to the United States District Court for The Eastern District Of New York on May 17.
The complaints referenced food reviews on YouTube and publications that showed the discrepancy between the advertisement’s patty sizes, and the patties served to customers. Moreover, this has spurred social media protests.
One of the citings is a 2014 interview of a food stylist and ex-worker of both Wendy’s and McDonald’s. She had the interview with Money Talks News, a personal finance website. In the video interview, the stylist works with “a simple burger purchased from a grocery store” and claims to undercook her burger patties so it appears fuller and bigger. The class action complaint alleged that Wendy’s and McDonald’s burger patties appear “approximately 15-20% larger” in their ads, compared to their real servings, meanwhile meat is supposed to shrink by 25% when cooked.
Wendy’s and McDonald’s Burgers
Wendy’s Bourbon cheeseburger was named for exaggerated ad depictions of patty size and topping amount. Other Wendy’s burgers in the complaint include the Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, the Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger Double, the Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger Triple, the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Double, e.t.c.
The McDonald’s complaint alleges that their ads overstate the size of their beef patties in almost every menu item, specifically mentioning that they show “the beef extending all the way to the edge of the bun”, but in real servings “the patties come nowhere near the edge of the bun.” The complaint names the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder, the McDouble, the Cheeseburger, the Double Cheeseburger, and the Hamburger.
Consumers need to be protected from deceptive ads
Attorney Kelly told FOX Business that consumers need to be protected from materially deceptive advertisements, as they cause consumers to feel disappointed and cheated after getting high expectations from the ads. “We hope that through these class actions, these iconic companies will recognize the unfairness of their advertising and make positive changes”, Kelly wrote to FOX Business.
“Defendants advertise larger portions of food to steer consumers to their restaurants for their meals and away from competitors that more fairly advertise the size of their burgers and menu items, unfairly diverting millions of dollars in sales that would have gone to competitors,” the complaint further states.
With the complaint pointing out how concerning it is that the marketing tactic of exaggerating food portions is being used “now that inflation, food, and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower-income consumers, are struggling financially”, there is a demand for monetary damages, injunctive relief, and any other relief that the court finds appropriate as a correction to the overstated ads.