Monday, August 10, 2009

Letter to John W. Chidsey, Chairman and CEO, Burger King

July 31, 2009

John W. Chidsey
Chairman and CEO
Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

Dear Mr. Chidsey:

In your letter on corporate responsibility posted on the Burger King website you write:
As a corporation, we define corporate responsibility as looking beyond a strong bottom line to consider the impact of everything we do. It’s about doing the right thing as a corporate citizen in today’s global marketplace while successfully meeting business goals and objectives.
Unfortunately, a recent experience of mine with one of your franchisees has proven otherwise.

Earlier this year I cracked a tooth while eating one of your hamburgers at a Burger King in Mankato, Minnesota. At the time it occurred I didn't realize I had cracked the tooth, though I distinctly remember biting into something hard and small in the sandwich and hearing a distinctive crack. It wasn't until several weeks later when I went into my dentist that I learned the tooth had been damaged.

In dealing with your franchisee, Duke and King Acquisition Corp., the response I got was (and this is a direct quote), "You can't prove that," which was repeated to me several times by the company's representative. Nevertheless, he agreed to pass along a claim to its insurer, Travelers Property Casualty Company.

The Travelers representative stated that she felt Duke and King was not liable but that she would pass along the claim to the company's suppliers. They, of course, denied any negligence.

After this I called Burger King's Consumer Relations department to relay the incident. They said they would get back to me within a few days, but the only response I received was a form letter from a Quality Assurance Analyst saying that I should contact Duke and King.

My tooth is capped though still painful. While my dental insurance picked up some of the cost, I am still out several hundred dollars — a value equal to about 100 Angry Whoppers, the cause of the problem. (What did this Angry Whopper have against my tooth?)

While I'd love to have my money back — and my insurer would probably like its back as well — there is a larger issue involved, and that is, as you write, "doing the right thing as a corporate citizen."

In this case, Duke and King Acquisition Corp., Travelers Property Casualty Company, and Burger King Corporation have all done the wrong thing.

This is a difficult time for the United States. Many of its major corporations, once long admired in the world, have not lived up to their corporate responsibility. I need not list them by name as they have been foremost in the headlines over the past year.

While my recent experience with Burger King hardly measures to the level of a derivative-induced market meltdown, it is indicative of the buck-passing mentality — and the refusal to accept responsibility — that has poisoned American corporate culture.

Actually, I have fond memories of my earlier experiences with Burger King. I often took my sons there when they were small, where they spent countless hours in the play areas in between bites of french fries and burgers. I also met friends there, other parents with whom I have maintained contact for nearly 20 years. So my thoughts of Burger King are not all bad. It's just that this re-cent experience has left a very bad taste in my mouth about a company that once provided the opposite.

I am copying this letter to those involved in this unfortunate experience, to my Congressional representatives, and to others who have expressed an interest in this story.

I would certainly look forward to a response from you, as well as an appropriate action commensurate with the corporate responsibility report entitled "BK Positive Steps" that you so proudly advocate. Perhaps then we can both create a positive result out of what has now turned into a truly unfortunate experience.


Leigh Pomeroy


  1. It was such a painful experience to get your tooth chipped off due to someone's negligence. I once broke my teeth because I accidentally bit the bone of a turkey last thanksgiving, and let me tell you this for starters, it is totally painful and vexing. On the next day, I went to the Colorado Springs, CO dentists to get my tooth fixed. For a few hours, the dentist checked my damaged teeth and fixed it like it was never damaged at all, due to that, I am really lucky that at Colorado Springs, cosmetic dentistry services are very reliable.

  2. I just had tooth pulled today because of eating Burger King hotdog, there was a tiny bone in it that I chewed. My molar tooth got damaged all the way. The cracked split into two. I complaint to the store and I was just
    offered with a free meal which I didn't take it. I hate Burger King specially in that Crystal Lake, IL

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