The incident took place on December 20, at an Applebee’s eatery, located at 2341 Theater Drive, in Paso Robles, California. An expectant mother, identified as Cathleen Martin, from Atascadero, California, had planned to dine at the restaurant in the company of her husband and her small child.
Their order consisted in an Oriental Chicken Salad, which was supposed to contain noodles, fried chicken, almonds and a vinaigrette dressing.
Instead, after consuming around half of the meal, and removing one of the salad leaves, the family was shocked to see a fingertip covered in blood.
They immediately notified restaurant managers, who confirmed the unsettlingly gross discovery, and promptly launched an inquest, so as to see if the fingertip had indeed belonged to one of their employees.
Eventually, it was confirmed that one of the kitchen chefs suffered a hand injury while preparing the salad, and that is how the small severed fragment reached the food served to the Martins.
Representatives of Apple MidCal, the California franchise pertaining to Applebee’s Grill and Bar restaurant chain, have extended their apologies to the family, following this unprecedented mishap.
Area director Alan Knapp qualified the kitchen employee’s negligence as “unacceptable”, while emphasizing that Applebee’s executives have always been preoccupied with ensuring that all their staff is in good health, and that customers aren’t exposed to any risks while dining at the chain’s establishments.
As Knapp explained, all the kitchen personnel will now go through an extensive training process, in order to be aware at all times of all the safety and hygiene standards that must be met every working day.
This way, the area manager is confident that no such regrettable incidents will ever occur at Applebee’s, and that customers will continue to have a pleasant and satisfying experience when choosing this dining place.
These words however may be of little comfort to Cathleen Martin, who took a blood test in order to see if the food she ingested triggered any contamination.
The fingertip is also being analyzed by medical staff: while the Applebee’s employee wasn’t legally obliged to be subjected to such tests, the decision was taken, so as to prove to the pregnant woman that no disease was transmitted because of the bloody fingernail.
While waiting for the lab experts’ verdict, Martin is still fearing the worst, being worried not just for herself, but also for the growing baby she has in her womb.
The family has also started legal proceedings against the restaurant chain, having already contacted their lawyer, Eric Traut.
If Applebee’s is proven guilty following this civil lawsuit, the restaurant chain will have to pay out monetary damages, in order to compensate the family for the medical tests they had to take, for the revenue they lost after this incident turned their lives upside down, and for the emotional trauma they have suffered.
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