America’s 7 Biggest Restaurant Scandals – Eat This Not That


If you like to dine out, you probably want to know what’s going on at your favorite restaurants and chains. You appreciate being notified when exciting new dishes hit the menu or when a scandal rocks an establishment, which can change your restaurant behavior.

Like anyone currently watching the bear on Hulu knows, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes at restaurants that diners may never find out about. From drama in the kitchen to health code violations, mistreatment of customers and even disgraceful or criminal behavior that results in heated lawsuits and cases, the restaurant industry can be rife with scandals. .

Read on to find out about the biggest scandals that have rocked the American restaurant scene in recent years. And then don’t miss the 8 worst fast food burgers to avoid right now.

Melissamn / Shutterstock

In 2021, everyone’s favorite salad restaurant got into hot water when CEO Jonathan Neman posted on LinkedIn what many considered a rude comment. “What if we made the food that makes us sick illegal,” he wrote, seemingly pensive. “What if we tax processed foods and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic?” Sadly, he followed that up with “78% of COVID hospitalizations are obese and overweight people,” and wondered if there was an “underlying problem” with that statistic.

mcdonalds coffee cup

If you don’t remember that ’90s scandal (which late-night talk show hosts had a lot of fun with back then), here’s a refresher. A 79-year-old woman sued McDonald’s for $20,000 over burns she suffered from accidentally spilling her coffee on her lap. In reality, she actually suffered third degree burns who sent her to the hospital, nearly killed her and required two years of medical treatment. McDonald’s had a policy of keeping its coffee hot – between 180°F and 190°F, apparently to avoid refills – and had received hundreds of complaints before this lawsuit. McDonald’s lost and had to pay $600,000 and lower the temperature.

Cheeseburger Shake Shack
Shake Shack / Facebook

Recently, chefs and restaurateurs have denounced one of the biggest burger staples: Martin’s iconic potato rolls. Why? Reports have shown that members of the Martin family have ties to far-right Pennsylvania state senator Doug Mastriano. Shake Shack is one of the biggest bun buyers, and despite promoting itself as a champion of LGBTQ+ rights and racial equality, the chain hasn’t made any moves or publicly announced to change its relationship. with Martin’s. They are still under fire as of this story.

Daddy Johns
JB Lacroix/Contributor/Getty Images

The Papa John’s pizza founder already had a reputation for being controversial, and in 2018 it cost him his business. Schnatter made comments in 2017, saying the NFL hadn’t done enough to stop players kneeling in protest during the national anthem. He was kicked out of his job as CEO in January 2018but was still chairman of the board, until it emerged he had used the “n” word during a conference call in May 2018. He was kicked out of the company and his image has been removed from all marketing materials.

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For 15 years, Jared Fogle was Subway’s inspirational and popular spokesperson, sharing his before and after photos and telling the world he lost over 200 pounds just by eating the chain’s sandwiches. However, Fogle used his fame and non-profit The Jared Foundation, for which he went to schools to talk about obesity, for really dark and disturbing purposes. In 2015, he was convicted of child pornography and paying to have sex with minors. Subway immediately dropped Fogle when the charges were brought, and Fogle will be in jail until 2029.


The Denny’s chain of restaurants suffered a major fire in 1993 when six Black Secret Service Officers breakfast would not have been served in the restaurant, while their white colleagues received their meals quickly. The agents provided security for President Clinton at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. The chain eventually settled a class action lawsuit in which they were accused of failing to serve black customers or forcing them to pay in advance.

RELATED: 5 Major Fast Food Items Losing Popularity With Customers


In the 2000s, the burrito chain had a whole host of food safety issues, but the one that really scared diners was the 2015 norovirus outbreak in Boston that sickened 141 people. At the time, prosecutors said the outbreak was likely the result of an ill staff member “who was ordered to continue working in violation of company policy after vomiting in the restaurant “. Raw. The chain ended up paying $25 million for this and other food safety violations.

Tanya Edwards

Tanya Edwards is a veteran food and health journalist, who has held positions at Yahoo Health as Editor-in-Chief and Food Network as Director of Programming. Read more


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