Features Friday, October 10, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | September 29, 2014 | 02:21 pm IST Shilpa Suresh, a home maker from Bangalore, had made reservations at McDonald's, HSR Layout, for September 26, to celebrate her daughter's eight birthday, and had invited many including her daughter’s friends and their parents. When Shilpa and her daughter reached the venue, they noticed cockroaches scurrying on the floor at the fast-food restaurant. She brought it to the notice of the staff who cleaned the area. However, it was of not much help, since some more pests returned in a while. The guests started pouring in, and the food arrived. The jolly mood was interrupted when one of the kids eating French fries, suddenly screamed. To her horror, she had found a cockroach in her fries.  “The cockroach seemed to have been fried along with the potato fingers. The legs and antenna of the insect were all sticking out”, says Shilpa.When asked about the cockroaches, McDonald's said they were 'investigating' into the matter. The kid had already consumed most of the fries when she noticed the cockroach lying at the bottom of the packet. “I totally went blank for a while; I didn’t know what to do”, asserts Shipa.  Some of the kids, after witnessing the incident, did not eat all and soon the guests left. When Shilpa demanded a response from the staff, she was told to report to the manager, who was not present in the outlet at that point of time. One of the staff, Shilpa alleges, even offered her a discount. “He said “I’ll give you a good discount on the French fries”. I was appalled at their audacity. They were not even apologetic of what happened. There was no sorry”, she said. When she asked for a bill, the staff refused to comply. When she informed the customers present at McDonald's of what had happened, one of them also questioned the staff. Following this, the staff ‘very politely showed him where the exit was’. A customer also got into a scuffle with the staff in the meanwhile, added Shilpa.  The manager walked in after a harrowing three hours and told the management would look into the matter and at the end of the day, Shilpa and her husband, had to leave without a bill. McDonald’s says that Shilpa walked away without paying the bill after “manhandling and assaulting our staff”. The next day, while on her way back to McDonald's to fetch her bill, Shilpa received a call from the Bomannahalli Police who informed her that they had received a complaint against her and so she had to report to the police station. “I told them that I would collect my bill and then go to the station”, said she. This time when she went back for the bill, the manger called a cop and told him that it was Shilpa who "did not want to pay the bill" and that "she had demanded a discount" and that she was creating a ruckus because her "demands had been turned down." Shilpa got the bill and after making the payment, along with her advocate, she headed to the police station. A few people from the management of McDonald's had complained against her. “They complained that I had disrupted their business and that I had got people to beat the staff, which is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t even know who the person was who hit the staff except that he was a customer there”, states Shilpa. Shilpa claims that after she presented her paid bill and pictures to the police, they asked those who complained against her "whether they'd like to go to jail". Following this everyone agreed to disperse since Shilpa feels she had done nothing wrong and there was nothing to hold her back in the police station. McDonald's response, to the alleged incident, is quite on the contrary of what Shilpa had to say. The News Minute contacted the HSR Layout McDonald's outlet, but the staff there refused to comment on the matter saying they did not have the authority to do so. But the organisation sent a response to our queries through its PR firm. A spokesperson for McDonald’s India (West and South), in a response through email, said, “A customer at our HSR Layout outlet at Bangalore claimed that certain food there was not up to quality standards. The customer continuously kept insisting on discount and later began creating disturbance in our restaurant operations followed by manhandling and assaulting our staff and later left the restaurant with a group without paying for the birthday party (captured on CCTV). The Restaurant Manager had no option but to file a formal complaint with the police. While the matter was subsequently withdrawn by both parties, given the customer's continued disruptive actions even after the incident, McDonald's was compelled to approach the police and the matter is currently under investigation. We now look forward to a quick resolution of our complaint. McDonald’s India ensures that the highest level of food safety standards, for which it is renowned the world over, are consistently maintained right from farm to fork. For us, our customers are at the core of what we do and we are committed towards their health, safety and happiness.” The News Minute sent another email requesting them for a response specifically asking whether a cockroach was found in the fries, following which McDonald's sent another reply. “We are currently investigating internally the claim of the customer. All our suppliers are HACCP certified, which further ensures the food served at our restaurants is of the highest quality. At McDonald’s, our customers are at the core of what we do and we are committed to their health and safety.”

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