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Wendy’s Boycott



On the issue of consumer boycotts, the general rule should be that if affected workers are calling for it, then it’s something we should support (the UFW grape boycott) and if it’s consumers calling for it without consulting the workers, we should probably find out what the workers think about it first (people saying we shouldn’t buy clothes from Bangladesh when the workers there say that doesn’t help them). So therefore I endorse the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ call for a boycott against Wendy’s, the only one of the 5 largest fast food chains not to sign on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program and a chain that has switched to incredibly exploitative tomato suppliers in Mexico after that program was implemented throughout Florida. The CIW has done this once before, a successful boycott that forced Taco Bell to join the program and set off the rush of all the other big fast food companies except Wendy’s also agreeing.

The CIW recently picked up a major endorsement of its Wendy’s boycott from the Presbyterian Church, which was also a critical supporter in the Taco Bell fight.

But the church’s support for the Fair Food movement extends well beyond the Wendy’s campaign. Indeed, the PC(USA) was among the first to endorse the Taco Bell boycott back in 2002, far before the Coalition had won agreements with now 14 corporations and before those agreements had made possible the implementation of the Fair Food Program. The church’s unwavering support was catalytic, generating endorsements from many other religious denominations for the boycott over the years and dramatically expanding the base of committed consumers. With its Louisville headquarters just across town from those of Taco Bell parent company Yum! Brands, the PC(USA) engaged executives, hosted massive rallies, animated and mobilized thousands of its members, and its representatives served as a guarantor of the CIW talks of that led to the first-ever Fair Food agreement in 2005.

By answering farmworkers’ invitation to work in partnership, the PC(USA) played a crucial role in the realization of the simple — but then seemingly improbable — vision cast by farmworkers: an agricultural industry free from abuse and exploitation. Fourteen years and fourteen agreements with corporations later, the farmworker-designed Fair Food Program is transforming the day-to-day working conditions of tens of thousands of farmworkers — not only here in Florida tomato fields, where the Program began, but now also in Florida strawberries and in six northern states.

“For so many years the PC(USA) has acted with fortitude and love in the Campaign– standing with us through thick and thin, speaking out consistently and courageously, and matching their words with deeds,” said CIW’s Gerardo Reyes Chavez. “Together, we know that it is not a matter of if Wendy’s will join the Fair Food Program, it is only a matter of when. And with the church’s support, we hasten the inevitability of that day.”

And unlike many other boycotts, Wendy’s actually is the only fast food chain I ever eat at, when I am on the road and need a fast meal. So this one actually is going to force me to find other options. Not McDonald’s though. Because really, who likes a burger that tastes like nothing?

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  • So therefore I endorse the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ call for a boycott against Wendy’s, the only one of the 5 largest fast food chains to sign on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program

    Looks like you forgot a “not” here.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I was about to post this – I checked the links and that is correct – Wendy’s has steadfastly avoided doing what all of the other big restaurant chains have done.

  • rea

    the only one of the 5 largest fast food chains to sign on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program

    Context suggests you mean “not to sign on”

  • Pseudonym

    Because really, who likes a burger that tastes like nothing?

    Are you saying that it’s the vodka of burgers? Unless you put some tomato ketchup on it?

    • Am I saying that ketchup actually improves their product? Yes. Yes I am.

    • Warren Terra

      Because really, who likes a burger that tastes like nothing?

      McDonalds has, I noticed in an advertisement, copyrighted the phrase “taste crafted” (or perhaps the word “tastecrafted”, or more likely both). So, really, that should be “a burger crafted to taste like nothing.

  • Juicy_Joel

    “So this one actually is going to force me to find other options.”

    Politics aside Chick-fil-a is the best national fast food chain.

    • My experience with the chicken based fast food chains is nearly zero. I have had Popeye’s once or twice when I got stuck at the mall waiting for my wife and KFC maybe twice in the last 15 years. But not sure I’ve had Chick-fil-a. Why is it decent?

      • Warren Terra

        It’s completely unacceptable politically, so I for one have never found out whether it is decent food.

        Though, I think some of the SoCal (or broader) burger chains also have terrible politics, that I just don’t know as much about.

        • N__B

          I ate some C-F-A at a conference at Texas A&M. If you’re into salt patties colored and shaped to resemble chicken, you might like it.

          • DrDick

            Salty cardboard, battered and deep fried, drenched in grease.

        • efgoldman

          It’s completely unacceptable politically

          My SIL is from North Ca’line, where Chick-fil-a is just part of the landscape (unlike here in New England), and the kids like it, so every time they eat there, they contribute an equal or greater amount to a gay-rights-support organization.

      • searcher

        I was unimpressed with the fries, and maybe you don’t go to a chicken restaurant for the fries, but when you combo meal is two things, a chicken sandwich and fries, and the fries are kind of “meh”…

        • This is what I don’t quite get about the love for In n Out. The burgers are pretty good for a fast food burger. The fries are the worst in human history.

          • Warren Terra

            I understand nothing at all about the love for In-n-Out. The burgers are as bland and flavorless as their competitors’ are, and if anything more overcooked. And yet people worship the place!

            • Brett

              They’re cheap. The burgers are good for the price (the fries are not), and that’s about it.

            • I don’t get it either. For a California-based chain, The Habit is so much better.

              • Pseudonym

                True. I’m also a fan of Gott’s Roadside but I’m not sure that qualifies as fast food.

          • Pseudonym

            In-n-Out is just trying to help you stay healthy!

          • Morat

            Yes, agreed. I’ve had friends who love that chain, and I always think, you live closer to better food that costs less. That is a failure of imagination. If my choice was an In n Out burger or McDonald’s, yeah, fine, but I don’t live in a highway rest stop and neither do they.

          • CHD

            FWIW InNOut pays relatively well. A friend’s high school aged daughter works there and makes $12/ hr.
            I like InNOut pretty well. I like 5Guys better, but kind of pricey.
            I like Carls Jr/Hardees quite a bit, though IIRC there is a political issue there too. Southwest chicken sandwich is very good IMO.
            Sonic is fun for the roller skates and the sheer number of things on the menu, but food strikes me as cafeteria ready.

        • efgoldman

          a chicken sandwich and fries, and the fries are kind of “meh”…

          The shakes, however, are very good.

          • postmodulator

            Yeah, I was just in LA and the shakes were the best part of our In-n-Out stop. But Fatburger was much, much better all around.

        • JL

          Huh, last I ate Chik-Fil-A, which was several years ago (I grew up in Chik-Fil-A country, but it doesn’t really exist here), the fries were part of the appeal, at least compared to other fast food fries. Maybe we just have different taste in fries, or maybe they changed their fries for the worse.

          I remember the lemonade being very good.

      • Juicy_Joel

        While YMMV (N__B’s comment duly noted) I find the chicken sandwiches to be quite tasty, and the waffle fries are a nice change from the traditional fast food style. They have a lot of different sauces you can dip things into, and every time I’ve visited the restaurant has been well staffed with friendly employees. I feel sorta gross after eating most fast food, but not CFA (yet).

        I’m way more of a hamburger guy than a chicken sandwich guy, but I’d take a spicy chicken deluxe over virtually any fast food burger right now, except for Dick’s (because its where the cool hang out).

        • Warren Terra

          Now Dick’s is an institution I can support. Sure, their hamburgers are at best an acquired taste, but they’re very keenly priced, and the fries are great.

          Also: they’ve paid their workers better than they had to, with scheduled pay raises, health insurance, paid vacation, and (minor) tuition and childcare support, since forever. Although I think they sided against Seattle’s $15 minimum wage …

          • Juicy_Joel

            Wait you think the burgers are bad and the fries are good? I’m in exactly the opposite camp.

            And you are unfortunately correct about being against the $15 minimum wage. Dick Spady’s granddaughter wrote an op-ed that was… interesting.

            Here’s my favorite part:

            “A smart minimum wage would also include the value of tax-free benefits and other compensation. Health insurance and scholarships matter. They provide thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation to employees. Just as important, employers can often purchase these benefits for their employees at a much lower cost than employees can for themselves.”


            • Linnaeus

              I’d like Dick’s fries better if they were crispier.

        • scott_theotherone

          I agree–I think their chicken sandwiches are…well, quite tasty is the perfect way to describe them. I’m not crazy about their waffle fries, but their lemonade and milkshakes are outstanding. Alas, I haven’t been in a half dozen or more years, or however long it’s been since I learned about their political activism.

    • royko

      I don’t know if it’s gone national, but I’d take Culvers over CFA.

      • Schadenboner

        Nah, I think it’s a Wisconsin thing.

        The rest of the country doesn’t “get” frozen custard, to the dismay of some on the left (for example: my sisters in NYC).

        • wjts

          They definitely have Culver’s in Texas.

        • Docrailgun

          They have frozen custard in North Carolina – at least in Raleigh. There’s it’s called a “concrete”.

      • les

        They’re in KC, and better than most, to me. Burgers are ok, pot roast sandwich works, tenderloin is ok or better. Burger with swiss and mushrooms is pretty tasty.

    • Karen24

      If you can find one, Whataburger is quite good, and despite the godawful ads, Sonic is okay.

      • I thought David Foster Wallace made them up, until you or someone else mentioned them very recently here.

      • wjts

        I liked Whataburger pretty well when I lived in Texas. I could never bring myself to eat at Sonic on account of how much I loathed their ads.

        • rea

          I’ll put in a good word for Wok Box–a family member manages one, and they seem to have good, healthy food.

      • Humpty-Dumpty

        I like Sonic burgers (and their tater tots!) but every time I eat there it repeats on me all. damn. day. As I’ve gotten older and more prone to reflux I’ve had to regretfully cross them off my list.

    • cpinva

      “Politics aside Chick-fil-a is the best national fast food chain.”

      sure, if you don’t mind clogging an artery every time you eat there. aside from that, it’s wonderful.

      • efgoldman

        if you don’t mind clogging an artery every time you eat there.

        What the hell do you think fast food is for?

    • DrDick

      Yuck, just yuck! They are the MacDonalds of chicken places.

    • witlesschum

      Based on eating there once and thinking it was indistinguishable from any other fast food chicken, I’ve developed the theory that it’s all a joke being perpetuated by Southerners upon the rest of the country. They know it’s no different than McDonalds, but they’re taking the piss out of the rest of the country.

      I’m on to y’all.

    • los

      local deli?
      the rotisserie chickens at grocers is supposed to be good.
      i don’t eat at restaurants, so …

  • And here we are about to get the first Wendy’s in town, very soon.

    The Chik-fil-a opened a few months ago. Apparently people slept in the parking lot to be first in line.

    • Warren Terra

      Apparently people slept in the parking lot to be first in line.

      I remember when the one near me opened: apparently the first n customers at a new location get a card that entitles them to something like (iirc) a free sandwich every month (week?) for a year at that location.

      • Juicy_Joel

        100 customers get “one free meal” per week for a year.

        My favorite chick-fil-a opening fun fact is that to be awarded a franchise corporate has to interview your pastor.

        • Is a rabbi a “pastor” for this purpose?

          • Warren Terra

            Pretty sure an imam isn’t …

            • njorl

              Only Shiite Twelver imams.

          • Schadenboner

            I think we’d be lucky if “Priest” qualified.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          Is that even legal? I would think it would be religious discrimination.

    • witlesschum

      The Kalamazoo cops had to be on hand for a week after Popeyes opened here to direct traffic. I went there by bike because fuck sitting in that and thought it was okay. Fast food chicken is fast food chicken, but I don’t think you can get red beans and rice with your KFC.

  • Stephen Frug

    When we travel & have to eat fast food, we always do Subways: healthiest, a lot of control over what goes in your food, easy for vegetarians, and perfectly tasty as these things go.

    • The problem with Subway is the bread is so bad and the meat is pretty terrible too, although I guess the roast beef is at least something approaching decent. It’s always an option, but never one I am happy with.

      • Warren Terra

        The sliced meat is terrible, but the meatball marinara or tunafish is basically the same as everyplace else. Not goot for you, but predictable, reliable, and without the greasebomb effect you sometimes feel from a burger, especially a bad burger. All of this makes Subway my road trip highway exit food stop of choice.

        • JS

          Yep — A Subway tuna sandwich all the way. But the bread is surreal, and not in a good way.

          Other option of course is to pop into a town along the way and get mediocre pizza or a sandwich at a local joint. Works pretty well on the eastern seaboard / New England, possibly less so elsewhere.

          • Really, the problem with that is the extremely variability of time. Sometimes, trying that works out wonderfully, other times it takes 45 minutes to get my food.

            • Denverite

              Other option of course is to pop into a town along the way and get mediocre pizza or a sandwich at a local joint. Works pretty well on the eastern seaboard / New England, possibly less so elsewhere.

              This is what Mexican food is for out west.

          • Warren Terra

            possibly less so elsewhere.

            My last few long road trips have been on I5, between Los Angeles and points north. I5 pretty much doesn’t come within 20 miles of a local joint between LA and Sacramento. I did get good pizza in or around Yreka, though.

            • sparks

              I started to understand why truck drivers did amphetamines when I first took that dreary stretch of I5 from Sacramento to LA.

      • DrS

        That bread! Why, why does it smell like that?

        • Last spring, I was running (which I am not doing this spring because I want to die at 50 evidently) and I ran past a Subway as the smell of the bread was emanating from the building. I wanted to puke.

        • AB

          Perhaps the distinctive smell was the “yoga mat” chemical, which they are or were phasing out?

          • Just_Dropping_By

            It would be nice to think that was the source, but my local Subways still stink despite having eliminated that chemical.

          • witlesschum

            That was all bullshit dreamed up by a not-particularly thorough woo peddler who calls herself The Food Babe.

            She actually had the wrong chemical, if I remember correctly, but it was apparently easier for Subway to just change. Or was that the one where there was some evidence it harms workers in the production process, but she was screaming about how it was going to harm people eating it, where there was no evidence that was a problem? She has a lot of fails, so it’s hard to keep track.

        • njorl

          I haven’t noticed any funny smell from the bread at the one I go to. It’s almost completely insubstantial, though. Once it’s cut open and had some meat slapped in it, you can watch it deflate.
          That’s pretty common. Most of the country considers bread to be something to prevent your hands from getting dirty while you eat a sandwich. Most people think “good bread” is as important as “good napkins”.

          • los

            those are tortillas :-)

      • efgoldman

        The problem with Subway is the bread is so bad and the meat is pretty terrible too

        I’ve never been in a Subway that didn’t have a freshness problem.

      • For sandwiches, I like Jersey Mike’s, though I don’t know how widespread they are.

        • JL

          There’s a chain in Kentucky and Ohio called Penn Station that was a staple for me all through high school, and makes my favorite sub sandwiches ever. Good fries too. I miss them. I ate there last time I was visiting my mom, stepdad, and brothers, and it was great.

          • witlesschum

            They’re in Michigan now, too. It’s pretty good.

            Not as good as our local place, to be that guy, but they don’t serve fries and Penn Station is closer to my house.

      • JMP

        This just really makes me miss the East Coast. I’m in the Bay Area now, and it’s almost impossible to find a place that makes a decent sandwich; Subway actually is usually the best place to get a hoagie, and they suck. I had thought that they were made everywhere in the country but just had different names, but no, out here there are few local places that make them, and the ones that do are almost all awful. A number of them only offer mayo or mustard for condiments, meaning you have to go dry for it to be edible – they don’t even have vinegar or oil.

        • joel hanes

          The SF Bay Area sandwich place you’re looking for is Togo’s:
          good bread, generous portions, rigorously clean and fresh, vinegar and oil. Pepperoncini on request. Try “The Italian”, which I believe is #16, and has been on the menu unchanged for 30 years at least.

          • sparks

            I can’t speak to Togo’s now since I haven’t eaten one of their sandwiches since they closed their big location here years ago, but there were good into the ’90s. Subway and I were never on good terms.

          • los

            reportedly, quiznos are ok, too. I don’t know their territory…

      • Rob in CT

        D’Angelo, then?

        Though, given that I think Subways’ bread is fine, I’ve probably just recommended something you hate.

    • The other thing I’d say is that as a vegetarian from 1998-2008, Subway was a functional option in that way. I know others who relied on Taco Bell but I always find their food kind of scary in the sense of “what the hell is in this.”

    • royko

      Ridiculous non-compete clauses aside, virtually every Jimmy John’s employee I’ve encountered has seemed relatively happy, while most Subway sandwich artists seem a bit suicidal. I’ve never worked for either, so I have no idea what the deal is, but man a lot of unhappy people work for Subway.

      • ASV

        Jimmy John is a big game poacher, FWIW. That’s what got them on the list for me, even though they’re a convenient highway option where I live.

      • los

        “bit suicidal”

  • BruceFromOhio

    And unlike many other boycotts, Wendy’s actually is the only fast food chain I ever eat at, when I am on the road and need a fast meal.

    Ack! We have our fav Wendy’s picked out on most of our travel routes, at locations good for comfort breaks, and something to eat if close to a meal time. We can pack for trips and skip the food, that’s not a problem … though it inclines me to write shitload of letters and let em know they should just sign on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program. Until they do, no sale. Still happy to use the facilities, though. ;)

  • kped

    I eat way too much fast food, and Wendy’s is my favorite burger chain. But I have no problem at all joining this boycott. I’ll take my business elsewhere.

    • efgoldman

      I have no problem at all joining this boycott.

      I have no problem boycotting Wendy’s because every franchise I’ve ever gone into in New England has really, really sucked.
      The one nearest my house was so bad, they tore it down and didn’t replace it with anything.

      • cpinva

        “The one nearest my house was so bad, they tore it down and didn’t replace it with anything.”

        maybe salted the land, so nothing would ever grow on it again?

        • efgoldman

          maybe salted the land

          If they were preparing it for another fast food outlet.

  • EBT

    Look at all the people making poor life choices and not making their regrettable fast food purchases at Sonics.

    • rea

      Sonics=waitstaff on skates!

  • Docrailgun

    Has Wendy’s CEO not recently threatened to add in lots of self-service kiosks because the eeeeeeeevil liberals are going to destroy ‘Murica with a $15 minimum wage?

    • Warren Terra

      Wendys is run by an adorable fat man who just wants to make his redheaded granddaughter happy! The teevee ads tell me so!

      • There’s a good agitprop play waiting to be written about how Wendy is forced to make ends meet through prostitution because the wages at Wendy’s are so low.

        I think I half worked this out in my head during a road trip a decade ago and hadn’t thought of it since until right now.

        • Warren Terra

          a good agitprop play

          Such a thing is possible?

          • I love agitprop.

            • Malaclypse

              That seems so out of character for your subdued, subtle discussions.

              • People are frequently surprised when I say this.

      • wengler

        I remember Dave Thomas was the one who went crazy when Ellen DeGeneres came out on her TV show. Of course he’s long dead now.

        Also first in the google search was this.

      • Dave Thomas died, and is now sitting on his throne of flames in hell.

        • Warren Terra

          I’d thought they eventually cast someone to portray the “Dave Thomas” character, much as KFC has had a bunch of people wear the Colonel Sanders suit. Looking around, it’s not clear they ever did recast Dave Thomas for the ads, though they have more-or-less recast Wendy; the real Wendy Thomas hasn’t been in their ads for five years.

          ETA there’s a flame-broiled joke to be had with your closing line, or whatever Wendy’s ad copy similar to “flame-broiled” was.

          • JMP

            They did have the real Wendy Thomas for a bit, and then decided to replace her with someone younger and thinner, because this is America.

          • njorl

            They should add poutine to the menu and get this guy:

        • los

          Dave Thomas was replaceable..?

  • Docrailgun
  • Karen24

    I’m very proud that my denomination was an important part of this campaign! Yay Presbyterians! We have something besides a name that’s really hard to spell!

    • Captain Oblivious

      You also have T-Rump, IIRC. Or so he claims.

      • joel hanes

        The Donald lies about pretty much everything.

    • My mom goes to a PC (USA) church, and I’m not surprised in the least at this.

    • JL

      Presbyterians seem generally somewhat favorably inclined toward left boycotts of things. I have no idea why as I know little about y’all or your governing structure, but I’ve noticed it before.

    • N__B

      I’m currently waiting for a train in NJ to go look at some failing Presbyterian masonry. Nice looking church.

    • witlesschum

      Your co-religionists in Kalamazoo have a helluva pretty church, with a cooler looking organ than all the others on the organ crawl.

  • dbk

    There’s a certain cringe factor involved in recommending a fast food restaurant to strangers, but here goes.

    (1) Steak ‘n Shake, which started in Illinois and now operates in 31 states. The steakburger and the milkshake are their trademarks, hence the name. I like the fries, too.
    (2)Arby’s. Their roast beef sandwiches always tasted pretty good to me.
    (3) Culver’s (mentioned above). They’re throughout the Midwest primarily and expanding westward and to a couple SE states.

    I haven’t researched these companies’ labor policies/records, so these recommendations are offered with a touch of reserve ketchup.

    • joel hanes

      Dunno if it’s still the case, but Arby’s used to boil all the flavor out of their beef, and then sprinkle bouillion powder over it before closing the bun to give the illusion that meat itself had some flavor.

      Culvers: mediocre, but they try hard. Avoid the pork tenderloin, which is very heavily breaded and dry, an indigestible meal. People like the frozen custard, but I don’t do dessert, so have no opinion.

      • witlesschum

        I’m putting a bunch of that horseradishish sauce on mine anyway.

    • SamChevre

      My favorite (and still a family favorite) fast food chain is Hardees; biscuits and burgers are both good. (Classic Hardee’s breakfast; sausage biscuits with strawberry jelly. You have to ask for a packet of jelly.) (Dairy allergies make most fast food off-limits now; I pretty much stick to Subway.)

      But New England doesn’t have them.

    • UserGoogol

      New England tends to be passed over by a lot of a lot of less-than-national food chains. So if you’re in Boston (or Providence) and want to go to Arby’s you have to take a bit of a trek, which hardly seems worth it.

    • JL

      Steak ‘n Shake! Our traditional spot for prom-night dinners because they’re open for all hours!

      I only didn’t mention them upthread because I don’t really think of them as “fast.” If you’re looking to get your food in 5 or 10 minutes they are not what I’d go with.

    • leftwingfox

      “If moist is a word you want associated with food, then Arby’s is damp.”

    • wca

      (1) Steak ‘n Shake, which started in Illinois and now operates in 31 states. The steakburger and the milkshake are their trademarks, hence the name. I like the fries, too.

      This has to be a regional thing. Admittedly, I have only been to two Steak ‘n’ Shakes – one in South Carolina and the other in Florida. Both were the worst burgers I have ever had in my life, and I’m including McDonalds in that list. So I’m just going to assume that there’s a region they are good in (and it ain’t the Southeast), since people keep bringing them up.

    • witlesschum

      Steak and Shake is definitely the chain place to hit for shakes.

  • wengler

    Just ask around or use some non-Yelp review sites to find someplace local. They are usually about the same price and taste a lot better.

  • CP

    Five Guys. Pricy but tasty.

    • njorl

      Not really fast, though.

      • witlesschum

        Yeah. There’s a categorical difference between the McDs/Burger King/Wendys fast food and places like that.

    • efgoldman

      Five Guys. Pricy but tasty.

      Tasty but un-crisp fries.

  • Lurking Canadian

    Do you have Harvey’s in the US? Their grilled chicken sandwich is (in my considered opinion) the best fast-food option currently on the market. It seems to be an actual piece of chicken, rather than something made from pureed chicken feet that was extruded from a nozzle then formed into a circle in an injection mold machine, and (like everything at Harvey’s) you can put whatever you want on it. (Their ads claim more than eight million possible flavour combinations, which I assume means they have 23 things you can put on or not.)

    It does not, I hasten to add, scratch that good fat itch that brings some people to fast food joints, but if you are looking for reliable, fast, cheap and reasonably healthy on the road, you can’t beat it. If you want the fat, they also have the Double Angus with Bacon, but I haven’t tried that one.

    • Linnaeus

      I’ve never seen a Harvey’s in the US. We used to eat there a fair amount on road trips to Toronto.

  • Well, shit.

    The Wendy’s Bacon Portobello Mushroom Melt, Add Lettuce Add Tomato is the finest of all lower-tier fast-food burgers.

    So much for that. Whatever you do, don’t buy any of those Burger King novelty burgers with the colored buns.

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