Police: Zaxby's employee fired after soap in milkshake incident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Southside Zaxby's employee was fired after a customer complained that something tasted like soap in her milkshake she got Saturday night.  Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating whether something harmful was poured into the drink. 

Bernadette Hayes told police that she and her husband drove through the Zaxby's drive-thru and tried to place an order but that the employee taking the order kept getting it wrong.  Hayes said she went inside to place the order instead and overheard two female employees talking loudly in the back of the restaurant.  She told police she believed the women were talking about her.


According to JSO's incident report, Hayes was given the items she ordered but when she tasted the milkshake as she was leaving with her husband she thought the shake tasted funny.  Her husband tried it and agreed that it "tasted like soap."

"I got my order and walked out.  Once I walked out and we started to drive away and I went to taste my milkshake and it tasted funny," Hayes said. 

The couple went back to Zaxby's and spoke with two managers about the incident. The managers offered the woman a refund, but "she stated she was furious and called the police," the report said.

According to the report, the managers believe some sort of cleaning solution, used to clean the milkshake machine, was poured into the cup.  One female employee was fired on the spot.

Now Zaxby's and JSO are investigating the incident, and the employee could face charges for poisoning food or water, but charges have yet to be filed.  No one has been arrested.

"I'm disgusted.  She didn't know who that shake was going to.  That could've been a child that wouldn't have known any better and would've just drank the entire thing and would've been really sick.  I still have the taste in my mouth, I'm nauseous," Hayes said.  "I was very upset because I felt like you deliberately tried to poison us.  That's how I took it."


Zaxby's issued a statement about the incident:

"Food safety and exceptional guest service are always among our top priorities.  This employee is no longer at that Zaxby's location, and we are fully cooperating with local law enforcement." 

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