Hot Beverages at Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Drive-Thru Windows

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The Liebeck hot coffee case is discussed, showing that the court’s decision was not whimsical, but predicated on the knowledge and behaviour of McDonald’s as represented and displayed by their employees and agents. Subsequent research establishing consumer preferred temperatures for consuming hot beverages is reviewed, as is the literature considering that such temperatures are above medical literature thresholds for injuries, yet not causing injuries. Past and current quick service restaurant (QSR) drive-thru window practices regarding hot beverage service temperatures and warnings are established and examined. Finally, circumstances and conditions under which QSR management need to practice due diligence in providing for their customers are addressed.

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2007-04-01
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coffee; McDonald’s; Stella Liebeck; product liability; Lieck v. McDonald’s Restaurant; drive thru windows; beverage temperature
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Required Publisher Statement: © Cambridge. Final version published as: Borchgrevink, C. P., Sciarini, M. P., & Susskind, A. M. (2007). Hot beverages at quick service restaurant (QSR) drive-thru windows. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 14(1), 37-46. doi: 10.1375/jhtm.14.1.37 Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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