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Infractions close Havre Wendy's

 


A local business has shut down, strangled by regulatory standards, imposed not by any government entity but by their own corporate parent.

Just more than two weeks ago, Havre's Wendy's restaurant was shut down by Wendy's International Inc., which filed an injunction in U. S. District Court in Great Falls.

The closure is not just in Havre. All 11 of the Wendy's restaurants owned by BZB Enterprises and BZB Multi-State LLC were shut down, including those in Havre and Whitefish, two restaurants in Oregon and seven in Washington.

Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson

A Tuesday afternoon view of Wendy's, located on the corner of 5th Avenue West and 1st Street West, in Havre.

Calls Tuesday and this morning to Brad Dugdale Sr., a principal in the business owning the Wendy's, seeking comment had not been returned by deadline this morning.

According to Wendy's International Inc. 's complaint, "Defendants have continuously ignored Wendy's directives and refused to comply with Wendy's critical, non-negotiable food safety standards.

"Defendants' continued operation of the Restaurants, especially in light of the critical food safety concerns, constitutes a breach of the franchise agreements and will cause irreparable harm to the consuming public. "

The defendants are Bradley Dugdale Sr., Zachary Dugdale and Bradley Dugdale Jr., the owners and namesakes of the various BZB entities.

Bradley Dugdale Sr. is a partner in the Havre law firm Bosch Kuhr Dugdale Martin Kaze.

Zachary Dugdale, who lives in Whitefish, is the main name associated with Montana's Wendy's, according to Jennifer Hatch from the Hill County Sanitarian's office. Every number associated with him, or the stores in Havre or Whitefish have not been answered since the closing.

Hatch said that the sanitarian's office, whose head, Clay Vincent, is out of town until Thursday, were caught off-guard by the sudden locked doors with signs that claim they are briefly shut down for maintenance.

"Nobody knows why they're closed, " Hatch said. "It wasn't a health infraction. "

But it was, just enforced by inspectors from Wendy's International's Quality Assurance inspectors rather than government inspectors.

According to the complaint, their trouble in the Havre restaurant started causing problems for all the stores in 2007 when the "defendants became increasingly operationally delinquent. "

An audit by Wendy's QA Department "uncovered 265 serious and ongoing food safety issues, including, among other things, numerous missed opportunities in hand washing, failure to thoroughly clean food preparation equipment, containers and utensils, and failure to thoroughly remove food soil from cutting boards, tomato slicers, Kutletts, Slicer Chiefs, pans and can openers, failure to complete the food safety log, and food soil and grease build-up on the non-food contact surfaces. "

The owners were given until October 2008 to correct at least 80 percent of those violations, and they did.

"However, given the seriousness of the prior operational deficiencies, Wendy's placed the Havre Restaurant on an operational 'watch list, '" the complaint states.

Another audit on Nov. 8, 2010, found 111 problems, mostly with cleanliness and food safety.

Wendy's told them they had 30 days to fix their problems or they could "cancel and terminate the Franchise Agreement and Licensed Rights for the Restaurant in their entirety and in that event you (BZB Enterprises) will be required to close and de-identify the Restaurant."

Over the next year the entities grappled over "continuing failing QA Audits. "

On Nov. 23, "Wendy's issued a Termination of Franchise Rights Confirmation Notice for the Havre Restaurant. "

"The Notice of Termination specifically reminded Defendants that '[u]pon receipt of this Notice, you are... required to immediately close, and promptly... de-identify the [Havre] Restaurant … If you fail to immediately close the Restaurant upon receipt of this letter and complete de­-identification promptly … Wendy's will take legal action to protect its trademarks from any unauthorized use and will seek appropriate damages, '" the complaint states.

The Havre Wendy's stayed open.

On Nov. 30, Wendy's lawyers "advised Defendants that 'Wendy's will not tolerate your continued breach of the post-termination provisions of the Unit Franchise Agreement [for the Havre Restaurant] and expects immediate compliance. '"

The complaint says that on Dec. 5, BZB began talking to Wendy's about how they could make amends and stay open, or at least negotiate for time to wind down the restaurant's operations.

After those talks, the Dugdales had until Jan. 9 to close the Havre restaurant, "however, Defendants have wholly refused to comply with their post-termination obligations. "

The Havre Wendy's stayed open.

"Instead, on Monday, January 16, 2012, employees at the Havre Restaurant stated that it would be closed for a two-day maintenance period but may be re-open for business as early as Wednesday, January 18, 2012, " the complaint says.

Hatch said she had heard employees were told to look for new jobs, because the "remodelling" could take a while.

Kitty Munger, a spokesperson at Wendy's headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, said Tuesday afternoon that the future of Havre's Wendy's and the 10 other BZB locations is uncertain right now.

"We have been working with the franchisee to address the issues in the complaint, " Munger said. "Part of that is to determine if and when the stores will reopen. Our long-term goal is to have that store open in the community. "

Havre Wendy's timeline

From the complaint filed by Wendy's International Inc.

1996 — BZB Enterprises signs franchisee agreement to run Havre's Wendy's Restaurant

2007 — "Defendants became increasingly operationally delinquent at the Havre restaurant, among others. "

May 22, 2008 — "QA Audit uncovered 265 serious and ongoing food safety issues"

Oct. 15, 2008 — "Defendants achieved an 80% correction rate... however, given the seriousness of the prior operational deficiencies, Wendy's placed the Havre Restaurant on an operational 'watch list. '"

Jan. 9, 2009 — An audit shows 50 percent improvement

March 18, 2009 — Another audit shows 59 percent improvement

Nov. 8, 2010 — QA audit found 111 problems, mostly "relating to cleanliness and/or food safety"

Dec. 22, 2010 — Wendy's tells local store to clean up in 30 days or face closure.

Nov. 23, 2011 — Wendy's terminates franchise rights for Havre restaurant, but the owners keep it open anyway

Nov. 30, 2011 — Wendy's lawyers tell Havre they "will not tolerate" them continuing operations.

Dec. 5, 2011 — Local owners start talking with Wendy's lawyers about how to wind down the store.

Dec. 14, 2011 — Wendy's gives local owners until Jan. 9 to wind down.

Jan. 16, 2012 — Havre employees are told the restaurant will be remodelled and could "re-open for business as early as Wednesday, January 18"

Jan. 17, 2012 — Wendy's files complaint with the U. S. District Court in Great Falls to shut down BZB's Wendy's restaurants in Havre, Whitefish, two in Oregon and seven in Washington.

Infraction examples

  • Employee placed raw grilled chicken on grill without gloves or hand washing. She then proceeded to carton fries without hand wash after touching chicken.
  • Steam well on bun board is heavily coated with layers of food and grease. Interior is black/brown color instead of silver.
  • Expired products: beef patties, chili meat, sliced apples, pepper jack cheese, salad dressing, Oreo cookie crumbles, carrots and Caesar sauce.
  • A manager was handling a ready-to-eat food (lettuce) without wearing gloves
  • In the Kennewick, Wash., resturaunt owned by BZB, auditors found issues "including but not limited to the front and back hand washing sinks not working, the front chili well being inoperable and the ice machine not working. "

Read how and why the local Wendy's led to the closure of 11 resturaunts across the region in Wendy's International's full 200-page complaint online at www.hiline.us.

 

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