Something very, very bad seems to have occurred at a wholesale bakery in Texas this week. Details are skimpy, but they seem to revolve around an "unbalance in the yeast." Whatever it is, it's not a health and safety issue, it seems to be a very-bad-tasting-bread issue. And it's affected three beloved fast food chains in Texas, and in at least one case, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well.

First Bad Bungate hit In-N-Out Burger, a California-based chain that promptly responded by closing all 37 In-N-Out Burger locations throughout Texas. It won praise for the move, not least from my Inc.com colleague Chris Matyszczyk who called In-N-Out's decision "brilliant." I don't often disagree with my favorite Inc.com columnists, but this time around--sorry, Chris, you're wrong.

That became evident earlier today when the same unbalanced yeast disease hit two more chains in the region, Whataburger and Raising Cane's. Perhaps because, unlike In-N-Out, they're not from California, they had a less dramatic and more pragmatic response: They simply stopped serving white bread in the affected stores. Whataburger released a statement explaining that it had voluntarily stopped serving buns and Texas Toast in some of its stores due to the quality issue. 

Then they did their best to make good:

We understand this is frustrating to our loyal customers and apologize to those impacted by the shortage. We're happy to make any burger or sandwich using a wheat bun, flour tortilla or bun-less on a platter at no extra charge. Customers visiting a restaurant experiencing a shortage of buns can enjoy extended breakfast hours until 1pm today. 

Raising Cane's had a similar response, removing toast from its menu and inviting diners to choose a different side dish in its place. 

I get In-N-Out's commitment to quality and concern for its brand and all, but really--what would you prefer, especially if you have a limited lunch hour, and you run out to your favorite fast food place to grab a burger--the choice to put up with a whole wheat bun? Or a closed sign and no choice at all?

One reporter from a local NBC affiliate made his preference clear.

Besides, just as Whataburger promised, Bad Bungate was short-lived. By evening, a reporter at a Dallas-Fort Worth Fox affiliate reported that the crisis was over.

Meantime, In-N-Out Burger stores in Texas are now reopened, after being closed for two days. 

When the news of the In-N-Out closures first came out, one Whataburger fan tweeted this:

Apparently, he was right.

Published on: Jun 13, 2018
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