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This Week in Food News: Ex-Employees Sue Gordon Ramsay, Controversial Red Robin Ad Gets Pulled

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Photo by Ann Alto

Photo by Ann Alto

Chef Gordon Ramsay’s ex-employees file a class-action lawsuit against his L.A. restaurant, a Red Robin ad mocking vegetarians gets slammed, and Starbucks announces plans to improve its food menu. Read the full stories below!

Chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay is no stranger to controversy. This week, four ex-employees of Chef Ramsay’s Los Angeles restaurant, Fat Cow, filed a class-action lawsuit against Gordon Ramsay Los Angeles LP, the Fat Cow LLC, and FCLA LP. Among the grievances laid out in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that the Fat Cow “stiffed them of minimum hourly wages and overtime pay, failed to provide break times for meals and rest, and didn’t pay them in a timely manner.” According to the lawsuit, the former employees are seeking $25,000 in compensation. While the usually outspoken Chef Ramsay has remained uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the issue, a spokesperson stated that the Fat Pig has had its fair share of issues: “We are aware there was a problem with previous management which has since been changed, but this is totally unacceptable if any truth to it.” The lawsuit is expected to go onto a jury trial, as requested by the plaintiffs.

A Red Robin burger ad poking fun at vegetarians has incited a great deal of backlash for the restaurant chain. The 15-second ad featuring Red Robin’s meatless Gardenburger starts off by alluding to Red Robin’s diverse menu. The voiceover then states “They even have a garden burger, just in case your teenage daughter’s going through a phase.” That particular line sparked anger among many vegetarian customers, who called the joke “tasteless,” “offensive,” and “thoughtless.” In response to the criticism, Red Robin’s senior director of communications Kevin Caulfield stated that the ad was not meant to offend—it was simply intended to remind guests that Red Robin serves meatless options. The company has also stated plans to remove the ad sometime in the near future, in order to keep the campaign “fresh” with a rotation of several ads. A number of viewers have spoken up in favor of the ad, stating their support for its humor. Readers, whose side are you on?

Starbucks Corporation has already laid claim to the booming coffee business, but the chain has even bigger plans for expansion. In an effort to increase sales in the U.S., Starbucks is now focusing its efforts on improving its food menu. In the past few months, the coffee chain already started introducing new sandwiches and salads to the menu. Starbucks’s chief financial officer Troy Alstead has admitted that the food has not always “met expectations,” but the company plans on improving the quality of the food in order to get both new and existing customers purchasing food with their drinks.

  • Marie Parish Weathers

    I didn’t know Red Robin served meatless food, therefore I approve this ad. Lighten up people. Everything can’t be a national crisis. I am not a teenager, but I do go through phases when I don’t eat meat. Very helpful.

    • Sandra

      I agree; however, I have noticed that vegetarians often don’t have a sense of humor — must be the lack of red meat :-)

      • Marie Parish Weathers

        I just had a roast beef sandwich and I laughed at your comment. You may be on to something there.

  • Chris

    It’s not that vegetarians don’t have a sense of humor; it’s more like they don’t think the slaughter of millions of innocent creatures is funny.

Marisa Miyasaki loves to mix and match different cuisines and believes Korean Tacos are just about the coolest thing ever invented. She is a devout foodhist and has a borderline-crazy obsession with taking pictures of nearly everything she eats. As Menuism's Community Manager, Marisa hopes to share her passion for food with the world- one hungry foodie at a time.