Last week, Rory Matthiesen posted on Facebook some photos and screenshots of documents that he says detail some bad practices at Fuddruckers in Great Falls. Here are some of the screenshots:
His post quickly went viral (by Great Falls standards), and people started flooding the Facebook pages of KRTV, KFBB, and the Great Falls Tribune asking them to look into it. As of today, no media outlets have mentioned it, perhaps wisely.
But quite a few people also tagged me in similar posts, and I checked into it. First of all, the photos don’t look particularly bad to me — I worked in quite a few restaurants in my younger days, and these pictures appear to be pretty routine for a busy restaurant. Just some regular wear-and-tear, a few spots need a little extra elbow-grease, etc.
Then I looked at the official Fuddruckers page on Facebook (for the GF location) and found this:
Seems like a reasonable response — although I noticed that Fudds has since removed it from Facebook, along with the initial posts on its page about the allegations, which was probably a good move (and quite likely “suggested” by corporate HQ).
Then I found out that the City-County Health Department had received an anonymous complaint about Fuddruckers, and they sent a sanitarian over there to conduct an inspection on Friday.
I went to the CCHD on Monday and talked with inspector, and he told me that the inspection revealed nothing to substantiate any of the allegations in the complaint.
The sanitarian also said that the didn’t see anything alarming or unusual during his inspection — just a few routine items that are commonly found during restaurant inspections and are quickly fixed. He also said that Fuddruckers exceeds the state requirement for serving refrigerated food, including meat.
On Tuesday, I visited Rory’s Facebook page again, and saw this comment from Nicholas, a Fuddruckers employee, which includes this: “I assure you neither my mentioned coworker or I have never extended an expiration date or sold expired meat products period. As a serve safe certified employee, I know full well the importance of these dates and pass down all knowledge I have to the cooks I train. My cooks and I have never been instructed by Paula, Dan, or Management to extend the expiration date on our meat products nor sell it regardless of its date.”
On Wednesday, I stopped by Fuddruckers and talked with the owner, who explained that on the advice of corporate, he wasn’t really at liberty to discuss the incident other than stating that he and his crew take pride in their work practices and serving good, safe food, and he also confirmed that Fuddruckers’ internal standards for food-handling exceed the legally-mandated standards.
The bottom line, from my perspective: during my dozens of meals at Fuddruckers, I’ve never had a bad meal, and never seen anything or any food that appeared unsafe or dangerous.