NEW YORK –
Justin Chimienti thought the Big Mac he bought at McDonald’s and the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger he bought at Wendy’s would be as big and juicy as advertised.
He says they weren’t, and now he’s suing fast food chains.
Chimienti sued McDonald’s and Wendy’s on Tuesday, accusing them of defrauding customers with ads that make burgers look bigger than they actually are.
The proposed class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn is similar to a lawsuit filed in March, by the same three law firms, against Burger King Corp in Miami.
Chimienti said McDonald’s and Wendy’s use undercooked beef patties in ads, making the patties appear 15-20% larger than what customers get.
The complaint says the meat shrinks 25% when cooked and quotes a food stylist who said she worked for McDonald’s and Wendy’s and preferred to use undercooked patties because fully cooked burgers look “less appetizing”.
Chimienti, who lives in Suffolk County, said both chains “significantly” overestimated the size of burgers, while Wendy’s also inflated the amount of toppings.
“The defendants’ actions are of particular concern now that inflation, food and meat prices are very high, and many consumers, especially low-income consumers, are struggling financially,” the complaint states.
McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Chimienti had no immediate further comment.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for alleged breaches of contract since May 2016 and violations of consumer protection laws nationwide.
In an April 28 conference call with analysts, McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski said lower-income consumers likely face “increased value sensitivity” as rents and prices rise. gasoline increased.
Meanwhile, Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor told analysts May 11 that “inflation is being noticed by consumers.”
Burger King, part of Restaurant Brands International Inc QSR.TO, has yet to formally respond to Miami’s lawsuit.
The case is Chimienti v Wendy’s International LLC et al, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 22-02880.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Marguerita Choy)