YAKIMA -- Yakima's two Wendy's restaurants were closed last week amid concerns about the franchisee's ability to follow food safety standards, according to an injunction filed by Wendy's International Inc.
The injunction filed in a Montana federal district court against the franchisee BZB Enterprises on Jan. 20 alleged it had ample time to correct the company's concerns, which included a refusal "to comply with Wendy's critical, non-negotiable food safety standards."
Restaurants in Yakima, as well as ones operated by BZB Enterprises in two other states, were closed because of "a failure to meet operational standards," a corporate spokeswoman for the chain said Monday.
The injunction says individual franchises were given time to cut their losses before closing, but BZB Enterprises continued to operate without regard to food safety standards. Wendy's International argues the franchisee put the company's name and goodwill at risk.
In addition to the two Yakima stores, located on North and South First Street, BZB Enterprises had restaurants on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick; Havre and Whitefish, Mont.; and Pendleton. They also were closed this past week.
A Wendy's in Walla Walla also was closed this past week.
According to online records for the Benton-Franklin Health District, the Wendy's at 3115 W. Clearwater Ave., Kennewick, was last routinely inspected on April 19, 2011.
It received 100 percent scores in hygiene, temperature, contamination (prevention) and food source with a score of 88 percent on the staff's knowledge of food handling.
Wendy's spokeswoman Kitty Munger in Dublin, Ohio, didn't offer more details about the closing but said the franchisee is in talks with the company to correct the issues and reopen the stores.
Ryan Ibach, an inspector with the Yakima Public Health District, said the Wendy's on North First Street failed two health inspections in September, prompting a third in October when inspectors finally found the store to be in compliance.
Ibach said staff were missing food worker cards, weren't washing their hands and had bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food.
The Wendy's on South First Street passed its most recent health inspection in February 2011, Ibach said.