Ok…lots of thoughts spinning in my empty head about this. Some you’ll agree with and some…not too sure. Let’s start with the facts.
Fact: Moo Cluck Moo is a popular burger/chicken joint in Michigan that specializes in food with less hormones, preservatives and other chemicals. No high fructose corn syrup or other psuedo-foods. Hence their tagline: Eat. Better.. They have two locations and I believe they are also opening up another one in Ford Field (where the Lions play NFL games).
Fact: Their CEO, Brian Parker, pays his employees $15/hr. He says “I’m taking less money personally. My question is, how much do we have to make? How big of a pile of money do CEOs have to sit on?”
Fact: A few years back, the restaurants decided to go 100% gluten-free. Completely changed the menu. Called all manufacturers. Developed their own gluten-free rolls. They went so far with it that their employees were not even allowed to bring gluten into the restaurant. It was a celiac dream-come-true and from what I’ve read, everything was top-notch.
So based on the above facts, I love everything about this place. I guess you can now see where this is going.
They just announced that they are no longer a completely gluten-free facility as they are now making “Better Buns” in-house that are NOT gluten-free. They will still offer the gluten-free rolls but with cross-contamination galore, Moo Cluck Moo’s official statement is the following:
“We cannot guarantee that there will be no cross-contamination and it is recommended that celiacs do not dine with us.”
Yeah…total bummer. I get it. And we can mourn the loss of a place that took care of us.
But look, Moo Cluck Moo is a business. Their goal, like any other business, is to make money. And if they think they can make more money by serving non gluten-free items, well…the market will dictate if it was the right decision or not. They were celiac-safe for several years, and while it’s ok to be bummed, I didn’t love some of the reactions from the celiac community. Here are some of the comments on their FB page:
“Thanks for ruining it for us who are truly GF and who can’t risk cross contamination!”
“You just slapped your loyal customers in the face!!! I’m speechless!!!!”
“Your gluten free following built you. Thanks for the appreciation and consideration.”
“Hope you know you guys blackballed yourselves in the celiac community.”
Listen…it sucks, no doubt. But you know what…that’s also the life of a celiac. I had a burger joint close to me that was gluten-free as well. Unbelievably sinful. It closed down last year. I was devastated for a day. But mostly…I was sad for the owners. They were good people and put out good food, but could just never gain the traction necessary to stay in business.
I’d say let’s appreciate them for giving the community a few years of a safe establishment to eat and wish them well on their journey forward. Let’s appreciate the fact that they are being open and honest about it, as compared to other restaurants who say they are safe when they really are not. And hopefully, another restaurant will open that will fill the gluten-free vacuum left behind by Moo Cluck Moo.
I do have a few words of advice for Moo Cluck Moo. Please make it more than obvious that you are no longer a gluten-free establishment. The celiac community had your back for a few years and you owe it to them so nobody gets sick. Your website does not mention the news AT ALL. Please put it on the home page, front and center. Put signs on your doors for the next few months. When someone orders a gluten-free roll, tell them that you cannot guarantee it is completely safe. Go above and beyond for the next few months please.
Unless you have celiac disease, you have no idea what it’s like to lose a “safe” zone where you can eat. It’s beyond disappointing. Let’s hope another one takes its place. Anyone want to open a burger joint???