UPDATE ON MAY 4, 4.30 PM: As of 2.30 pm (GMT +8), Wendy’s Singapore’s website is now offline. However, their Facebook page remains active, and Company is still listed as “Live” in the Singapore directory of registered companies.
After news broke of Wendy’s pullout of Singapore with the closure of their National University of Singapore (NUS) UTown’s Town Plaza outlet yesterday, there was a huge flood of comments on the Internet, with many speculating reasons for their sudden departure.
At the top of the list of reasons for why they left our shores was allegedly because of its rapid expansion from 2009 to 2012. Many people speculated that when they grew from one outlet to a total of 12 in 2012, Wendy’s Singapore encountered a drop in service and food standards.
23-year old Joshua Lee, a student at Singapore Institute of Management Global Education’s University of Buffalo shared his experience with Popspoken eating at Wendy’s Singapore Jurong East outlet in early 2014.
Joshua, who had previously ate at Wendy’s outlets without any incidents, described how he had bought the outlet’s baked potato with cheese and Oreo ice cream. After paying less than $10 for the meal, he walked around Jurong East to shop with his friend.
About an hour later, he had a strange feeling in his stomach, which grew to become so unbearable that he had no choice but to head home. Once he was home, he described how he started having diarrhea.
While he thought it was no big deal initially, the diarrhea continued long after. What’s more, when he tried to drink and eat something, he vomited them out.
Joshua then went on to describe how over the night, he had to wake up every hour to go to the toilet to vomit. He said: “I had diarrhea about five times that night, and vomited every hour. I vomited until there was nothing left to come out, and still felt the urge to vomit.”
Because of this, Joshua missed an important event in his army stint, had to see the doctor, and was given a bunch of medicine, together with about four days of medical leave. Even then, he did not fully recover. Said Joshua: “It was literally the worst food poisoning I ever had. So bad that I swore I would never eat from Wendy’s again.”
According to various comments online, Joshua was not alone in his experience. Nur Azman, a committee member at Vespaclub Singapore, shared a similar experience in a comment on the story: “Had my worst case of food poisoning from Lau Pa Sat outlet last year. Nvr stepped into another Wendy’s ever since. This is what happens if you expand too fast. You’ll lose the demand factor as well as quality control. In the end Wendy’s went tits up.” (sic)
While many people said that Wendy’s departure was inevitable due to a drop in their food and service standards, some felt that other factors were at play, such as the rise in rental and manpower cost.
Said 57-year-old Charles Lim, a business development manager at Richshore Marine Supplies Pte Ltd: “The point is not about how good or bad the restaurant chain performed, it’s about the ridiculously high rental and labour (gov levy) that are driving these big operators out of Singapore and more are closing down to come.” (sic)
“It’s so obvious with the ever increasing rental here and high workers levy imposed, how do you expect labour intensive MNCs (multinational companies) can barely survive through, we are not even talking about the SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) yet…” Charles elaborated. (sic)
Despite the deluge of comments online, with public interest in their closure high, Kopitiam Group of Companies and The Wendy’s Company have both kept their silence on the matter, and as of press time, have yet to release any statements on it. There is no mention of the closure on Kopitiam’s Facebook page.