Judge Sides With Fast Food In Advertising Case

McDonald’s and Wendy’s were cleared in a lawsuit that claimed the fast food chains intentionally misled customers about the size of their burgers.

Brooklyn’s U.S. District Judge Hector Gonzalez ruled on Saturday, finding that neither the plaintiff, Justin Chimienti, nor any witnesses presented evidence that the McDonald’s Big Mac or Wendy’s Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburgers he had purchased was e smaller than advertised.

Since meat shrinks about 25% when cooked, Chimienti, a resident of Suffolk County on Long Island, claimed that the beef patties shown in McDonald’s and Wendy’s ads were undercooked.

One of the food stylists quoted in the complaint indicated that she favored uncooked patties since fully cooked burgers seemed “less beautiful” to her. This stylist had worked for both McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Additionally, Chimienti claims that Wendy’s lied about how many toppings it used.

Judge Gonzalez wrote in his 19-page ruling that the restaurants’ efforts to present their burgers appealingly were “no different from other enterprises’ usage of aesthetically appealing imagery to build positive associations with their products.”

He claimed that McDonald’s and Wendy’s were not legally compelled to advertise their burgers and that “prominent, objective information” on the burgers’ weights and calorie counts was readily available on their websites. He also said that the government had no authority to compel fast food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s to offer burgers.

In addition, Gonzalez argued that falsely advertising a smaller serving size than the plaintiff’s “personally favored amount” of toppings is not misleading.

A Miami federal judge ruled on the 29th of August that Burger King, a division of Restaurant Brands International, must defend itself against a similar allegation about how it depicts Whopper sandwiches on in-store menu boards.

Taco Bell, a division of Yum Brands, is contesting allegations in a Brooklyn court that its Crunchwraps and Mexican pizzas were advertised as having more than twice as much filling as they did.