McDonald’s and Wendy’s have successfully defended themselves against a lawsuit that alleged they misled customers by inflating the size of their burgers.
New York (Reuters) – In a recent Saturday decision, U.S. District Judge Hector Gonzalez in Brooklyn ruled that there was no evidence to support the claim that fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s were serving smaller burgers than advertised. The plaintiff, Justin Chimienti, who hails from Long Island’s Suffolk County, alleged that these chains’ advertisements depicted undercooked beef patties, as meat supposedly shrinks by 25% when cooked.
Chimienti’s complaint cited a food stylist who claimed to have worked with McDonald’s and Wendy’s and preferred undercooked patties because fully-cooked ones appeared less appetizing. Additionally, Chimienti argued that Wendy’s exaggerated the amount of toppings it used.
However, Judge Gonzalez, in a 19-page decision, determined that these efforts by the fast-food chains to make their burgers visually appealing were no different from standard advertising practices used by other companies. He stated that McDonald’s and Wendy’s were not legally obligated to sell burgers that matched their advertising imagery, and their websites provided clear, objective information regarding the burgers’ weight and caloric content.
Judge Gonzalez also noted that depicting fewer toppings than what the plaintiff personally preferred was not misleading. Lawyers for Chimienti had not responded to requests for comment at the time of the decision, and neither had McDonald’s, Wendy’s, nor their legal representatives.
In a related case, a federal judge in Miami had previously ruled that Burger King, a unit of Restaurant Brands International, must face a similar lawsuit concerning how it portrays Whopper sandwiches on in-store menu boards, although claims based on advertisements were dismissed.
Taco Bell, a unit of Yum Brands, is also currently defending against a lawsuit in the Brooklyn court, which alleges that it sold Crunchwraps and Mexican pizzas with half as much filling as advertised.
The case in question is known as Chimienti v. Wendy’s International LLC et al, filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, under case number 22-02880.