Not Loving It: McDonalds, Wendy’s Sued Over Burger Ads

Fast food restaurant patron Justin Chimienti filed a complaint against McDonald’s Corporation and Wendy’s International LLC on Tuesday, accusing the defendants of false and misleading advertising concerning the size of beef patties and the amount of toppings contained in their food items, particularly cheeseburgers.

The complaint cites various Wendy’s advertisements to demonstrate that the fast food chain advertises its burgers and beef patties as larger compared to its competitors The burgers in the advertisements are also stuffed with toppings to make the burgers appear larger than the actual burger Wendy’s serves to customers, per the plaintiff. The complaint then cites a photograph of a burger purchased at Wendy’s.

Wendy’s advertised Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger can be seen in the first photograph below, from the complaint. Below is the actual product according to Chimienti.

A bacon cheeseburger as advertised by Wendy's, from the complaint.
A bacon cheeseburger as advertised by Wendy’s, from the complaint.
A customer-received bacon cheeseburger according to the complaint.

The complaint then cites a Food Stylist (i.e., someone prepares food for photo/video-graphing for advertisements). The Food Stylist quoted admits she uses undercooked patties so that the advertised burger appears much larger than a cooked one. The complaint then alleges this Food Stylist also worked for McDonald’s.

The complaint continues to display a variety of photos of Wendy’s advertised sandwiches next to Wendy’s actual sandwiches to demonstrate the contrast. The complaint also cites various social media posts from Twitter and YouTube, in which customers complain about the dissonance between the advertised and received product.

The complaint repeats the same arguments and comparisons for McDonald’s and alleges the defendants are guilty of Violations of State Consumer Protection Laws, Breach of Contract, Negligent Misrepresentation, and Unjust Enrichment.

The plaintiff seeks class action status, compensatory damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and an order for the defendants to cease the sale of falsely advertised items, among other demands. 

The plaintiff is represented by The Law Office of James C. Kelly, The Russo Firm, and Panzavecchia & Associates, PLLC.