Philippine fast food giant Jollibee has temporarily closed a store following a complaint from a customer who said she received a deep fried towel instead of its famous crispy fried chicken.
Alique Perez claimed she was given the unappetizing object in a now viral Facebook post on Wednesday. The photos and video showing a deep-fried bluish towel covered in batter received nearly 100,000 reactions and almost as many shares. The posts were also flooded with comments from disappointed customers and fans of the fast food chain, the largest in the Philippines.
Jollibee said in a public statement later the same day that it ordered a store in the upscale Bonifacio Global City, one of the country’s top financial centers, to cease operations for three days to “thoroughly review its compliance with procedures and retrain its store team.”
Referring to “the customer complaint” from the area where the food was ordered from, the company said it was deeply concerned and pointed to “deviations” from standard preparation procedures by unnamed personnel.
“Jollibee has carefully developed and complied with food preparation systems to ensure that we deliver excellent quality products and customer satisfaction. We will continue to endeavor to deliver on the high standards we have set for ourselves and franchisees,” the company added.
In her Facebook post Perez said she ordered the meal for her son.
“How the hell do you get the towel in the batter and even fry it,” she wrote. “So disgusting and embarrassing!”
Reached by phone on Thursday, Perez declined to comment further.
Under food safety laws in the Philippines, mishandling of food may be punishable by a fine of as much as $6,300 and six-month closure of the establishment.
Jollibee is a local success story gone global. It operates 1,150 stores in the Philippines alone, more than McDonald’s, although the pandemic forced it to permanently close some stores last year.
The corporation has 58 stores in the U.S. and Canada at the end of 2020 and is planning to expand to 300 locations by 2024.
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