Hardee’s Unfazed By Water Cut-Off

Bunnyspatial wrote to us about a local Hardee’s that was conducting business with its water turned off, and the fascinating implications that raises:

1) How were they mopping the floor?
2) How were they cleaning the counters?
3) How were they washing the dishes?
4) How were they washing their hands after taking dump?

I imagine the answer, much to our horror, is the same solution I turned to when my water was turned off: Windex everything.

When Bunny called Hardee’s Corporate and asked them how one of their restaurants could possibly be doing business without running water, they responded: “That’s a very good question.” Isn’t it, though?

Bunny’s email, after the jump.

There’s a Hardee’s down the street from where I work that I am positive only turns a profit at all because it is much easier to turn right off of Main Street. I head there every once in awhile when I have to leave the house too quickly to have a delicious bowl of Frankenberry, the cereal specifically made for grown ups whose parents never let them eat it. Some sort of temporal cereal paradox marketing strategy, but I digress.

This morning the local Hardee’s was taking a little extra time to get the food together. I ordered a breakfast burrito combo with a Diet Coke, only to be told that they were completely out of soft drinks. Ooookay. Specifically: “We are out of fountain drinks, but we do have tea and orange juice.” Odd. Perhaps they were robbed. Perhaps there was a gigantic ordering screw-up. Things happen. I shrug, get my total, and pull around.

I wait at the window for a good five minutes once I get there, watching the nice little old lady who works there puttering about randomly. I am not sure if this is true for all Hardee’s stores, but this one seems to attract the extremely elderly in droves. It’s like a very subdued version of Dawn of the Dead in there.

Finally a shaking hand delivers me a sack of foodstuffs, and an apology. “Sorry about the wait. We’ve had our water turned off – they didn’t get our check on time – and it is very tough for the store to function without it.” No worries! Been in that situation before myself! With a cheery wave, I drive off.

And then I make the mistake of thinking. How are these people washing their hands? Moping the floor? Cleaning the counters? Washing dishes? How the hell can a restaurant run without water!? The restrooms alone must be hideous! Granted, 95% of this location’s customers either have bag or diaper bathroom solutions in effect, but it only takes 5% to make a waterless bathroom a nightmare.

Wait, did she say they had tea? How the hell are they making tea!?

I ended up calling Hardee’s corporate to ask, “How can one of your stores operate without water?” Their reply? “That’s a really good question.” They passed my concerns upwards and are mailing me some free coupons for food that I don’t think I can ever imagine eating again. If that old cashier only told me as an afterthought, how many people didn’t know at all? Does this sort of thing happen a lot?

On a positive note, my mother suggested I eat the food and then poop in a cup if I get sick. My mom rocks.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hawkins says:

    Any city health department will tell you that lack of hot water is considered an imminent public health hazard, and cause for immediate closure, with a chain and padlock on the front door.

    Your story is revolting.

  2. Mike Fahey says:

    Yep, definitely revolting. This is obviously a franchise store…I am sure that coporate Hardee’s restaurants have some sort of ‘Paying the Bills on time’ standard that is upheld. This is either a case of greed, desperation, or just plain stupidity on the part of the franchise owner.

    There were people behind me in the drive thru, and people in the store eating food, and while I do poke fun at the amount of older people who eat there – aren’t they the most likely to fall prey to food related sickness from this?

    Kind of chilling. :(

  3. FMF says:

    “They didn’t get our check on time.”

    Any restaurant that is in this bad of shape financially (with the result being the water is turned off) is simply not worth eating at — even if it is much easier to turn right off of Main Street.

  4. aka Cat says:

    Report them to your local health department immediately.

  5. Hawkins says:

    The Hardees here in… well, never mind where, is partly staffed by mentally disabled folks. Some mildly retarded, some Down Syndrome. And it works reasonably well. Sure things are slow, and you may not get what you ordered, but it’s great that they’re providing a real employment opportunuity for these folks.

    But even the RETARD Hardees manages to PAY THE WATER BILL.

  6. Magister says:

    When did this happen? And let us know if you are going to report them.

  7. Mike Fahey says:

    Actually on the phone with the health department now.

    For those who wish to avoid this place, it is the Hardee’s off of S. Main Street in Alpharetta, GA.

  8. B says:

    Hardees has always been a horribly run operation. When they were bought by Carl’s Jr, the corporate side improved, but the old Hardees franchies tend to be incompentent and mismanaged.

  9. odysseyzine says:

    I just wanted to confirm that this is true, at least where I live: Hardees “attracts the elderly in droves.” I used to work a night shift, and I’d swing in to Hardees for breakfast before going to bed… Whitehairs everywhere. When I was a kid, and I went on shopping trips with my mom and grandma, grandma always wanted to go to Hardees for lunch. On the rare occasion when I get the urge to have on of their cheeseburgers. The scene usually consists of an elderly fellow to my right, enjoying a strawberry milkshake. Another old gentleman on the left will be reading the paper and eating a burger–or just sipping coffee.

    I think this is funny considering the eXtreme, 20-something male clientele that they appear to desire. On my last trip to Hardees, as I sat there eating, I was read the cardboard *table tent,* which detailed the “burger slayer of the month” promotion, encouraging you to take a picture of yourself while you eat and send it to be posted on the burger slayer web site (http://burgerslayer.hardees.com). I imagined the site plastered with octogenarians, their dentures planted firmly in a 1/2 pound monster burger. I also imagined that a burger slayer of the month t-shirt, adorned with a jolly-roger styled burger and crossed-swords, would be hilarious.

    Now that I’m writing about this, I checked out the site and noticed that an elderly woman is indeed one of the featured burger slayers on the home page.

  10. conformco says:

    Incompentent, yes. But they do offer a cheeseburger topped with a cheesesteak. Now that’s good eating. http://www.hardees.com/menu

  11. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Just to add to what everyone else has been saying, I used to manage a McDonald’s in high school and the health department rule was that if you lost power or water for whatever reason you had to make everyone leave the store and lock the doors because it was a health risk to keep producing food.

  12. timmus says:

    The Fulton County (Alpharetta) environmental health agency’s website is a Geocities page! (warning: Java) And the Geocities link is right there on the county health site. This has to be the first time I can recall any U.S. based government agency using Geocities, Tripod, or the like. Given what this implies for their funding it will be interesting to see if they have any teeth.

  13. timmus says:

    Holy cow… I just now connected the fact that Atlanta is Fulton County. That’s bad! ATLANTA’s environmental health agency website is a Geocities page??

  14. Mike Fahey says:

    *stares* You are right, it IS a Geocities page. How bizarre is that?

    This occurred yesterday morning. The health department is sending someone out to have a chat with them. Maybe they will offer them some free food coupons. Yum.

  15. aka Cat says:

    Out of curiousity — does anyone know what this particular Hardee’s health inspection grade is?

  16. Triteon says:

    That page is frightening. That it’s accessible via a *real* government page is even worse. Atlanta is scary.

  17. exkon says:

    In the words of Peter Griffin:

    “The sign in the bathroom that tells you wash your hands, that’s only for the employees right?”

    Thank god there are only Hardee’s are on the east coast.

    Not only do they have 1,400 calories burgers, now no running water, health harzard for sure.

  18. Mike Fahey says:

    I’ll check that out at lunch, Cat. Brought a sack lunch with me today, so I need something to blow an hour on. :)

  19. FLConsumer says:

    I was under the impression that the main reason restaurants needed to close after a lack of water is sanitation — how are the employees to wash their hands? Of course, cleaning the equipment & building would be a challenge as well.

    In general, if most people saw the way restaurants were run, they’d never eat at one.

  20. Magister says:

    For a lot of the dirtbags at fastfood places, gloves = don’t need to wash hands.

  21. Magister says:

    For a lot of the dirtbags at fastfood places, gloves = don’t need to wash hands.

  22. Buga says:

    If it was Carl’s Jr I’d still go for the Super Star, Poopy Hands or not.

  23. benko29 says:

    i fail to see how anyone can find a restaurant that sells something called a ‘monster thickburger’ appealing. the photo of that burger on the website is absolutely disturbing.

  24. Mike Fahey says:

    Breakfast is key. Their breakfast is relative goodness when it doesn’t have employee crotch hands all over it.

  25. overstim says:

    Wait… why does having the water turned off prevent serving soda? Carbonated water is delivered in tanks. Any possibility that they actually meant they hadn’t paid their bill for soda water?

    I cant think of why that would cause pan-store problems, but then again I can’t think of why having the tap water shut off would prevent serving soda, either.

  26. DTWD says:

    I went to Hardees with my friend once; nothing but old people. I saw the “Burger Slayer” ad as well.

  27. Kat says:

    As for their hands… pray they were using hand sanitizer.