WAREHAM – Town residents are up in arms after a district manager for a fast food chain in town insulted Wareham in an email exchange with a disgruntled customer.

“The town of Wareham has little to no talent pool to hire from,” the email said, noting that qualified candidates are hard to come by, “as most are recovering addicts, and we cannot hire them.”

Matthew Rose said he visited the Wendy’s location at 3025 Cranberry Highway back on Saturday, August 3 at about 12 noon. He said he waited 30 minutes in line to have his order taken, which he feels is because of the way the restaurant was utilizing its staff.

“They had eight visible employees on and only one working the lobby, two doing menial tasks, the rest handling drive-thru and making food,” Rose said.

He said he made a formal complaint to the company via its online chat feature, and then returned to the restaurant at 7 p.m. that same evening to do the same. He said when he arrived, the restaurant was closed. He said he visited the restaurant again on Tuesday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. and again found the restaurant closed. He again reached out via the online chat to issue a formal complaint.

“And I stressed the obvious issue, where the customers were not the priority, even with the additional staff you could see there,” he said.

Rose says over a week went by before he finally received an email back this morning at 10:32 a.m. from Keith Helger, the district manager for The Wendy’s Company that oversees the Wareham store.

In the email, Helger apologizes for the experiences Rose had at the Wareham location, and said, “Not an excuse but the town of Wareham has little to no talent pool to hire from. This is an ongoing issue in that area,” he wrote. “We are constantly interviewing and hiring any and all qualified candidates. Unfortunately, those candidates are hard to come by, as most of them are recovering addicts, and we cannot hire them.”

Courtesy Matthew Rose

After receiving the email, Rose sent a response calling the Helger’s rationale “a very poor excuse.” He said he has not yet heard back from Helger following that return email.

Just over a year ago, the Wareham Wendy’s location received a $500 fine from the Board of Health for “multiple violations over time” regarding sanitation and cleanliness issues as the restaurant. At that time, Helger went before the Board of Health and said staffing was an issue then. 

But staffing issues aside, Rose said he is most aggravated by Helger’s claims against the people of Wareham.

“Comments like that about our town and the people in it should not be tolerated,” Rose said.

The Wendy’s Company responded by saying it Helger’s comments do not reflect the company’s hiring practices.

“These comments are inconsistent with our Company’s values and do not reflect Wendy’s hiring practices. We work hard to create a welcoming and inclusive environment in our restaurants, and will address this appropriately,” The Wendy’s Company said in an email to WBSM News.

An email to Helger inquiring about his comments has not yet been returned. 

We will update this story if and when more information becomes available.