The owners of a hot dog stand in Central Maine has had to deal with some seriously unhappy customers and even threats of violence after they made a slight change to their menu.
Leslie and Jim Parsons, the owners of Bolley's Famous Franks, an unassuming hot dog stand located in Waterville, became the targets of harassment and even physical threats after they decided to switch up the fries from crinkle-cut to straight-cut.
One man became so upset by the change in recipe, he even threatened to fight Jim after being kicked out for becoming disorderly around customers.
“People come in with a negative attitude that the fries aren’t going to be the same,” Jim Parsons told CentralMaine.com on Tuesday. “That’s a tough sale for us.”
“People think we’re changing tradition,” Leslie Parsons added. “We’ve given so much respect to the previous owners.”
The crinkle-cut fry was an original item served at Bolley's ever since the hot dog shop first opened in 1962. The eatery was handed down through three generations of the Genest family until it ultimately closed in 2014. The Parson's family purchased the restaurant, and re-opened it in 2017.
Last week, the owners posted on Facebook about their decision to make the change to the recipe and that threats to them and their family over french fries, would not be tolerated.
So recently, within the last week, we have encountered some pretty disturbing and hostile customers apparently very unhappy with our straight cut French Fry. While I fully understand the crinkle cut has been the long standing traditional fry of Bolleys, I was forced to make an unpopular business decision for reasons as a business owner one must make from time to time.
Leslie writes on Facebook they still continue to "use the best potato in Maine" and that they are still fresh cut daily.
"I just want to say I will absolutely not tolerate being sworn at, threatened physical harm to myself, my husband and children. It is unacceptable here at Bolleys and should NEVER be tolerated anywhere. I apologize to the customers whom I know would much prefer the crinkle cut fry and have graciously accepted our change."
According to Leslie Parsons, the change comes down to dollars and cents.
Cutting crinkle-cut fries requires the restaurant to purchase specially-manufactured blades for a heavy metal machine that cuts them vertically and horizontally. Those blades have to be purchased once a month and Parsons says have the money they took in every month on french fries went back into repairing or buying new blades.
"We spent about $2,000 last year on blades," Jim told the Bangor Daily News.
The owners added that they think it's ridiculous how heated people are getting over the issue and want to remind the public that they're just french fries.