Friday, September 7, 2012

They yell a lot at KFC

Today was payday.  So, Anthony and I decided to get wild and go out for dinner.  We ended up at the KFC on Tanque Verde here in Tucson, about a mile from our apartment.

I think the food has improved at KFC in recent years.  However, the service there is odd.  It seems every time I visit one of their restaurants, there is an employee at the counter who struggles with the flow of how they get things ordered and made.  They get it done, its just a bit painful to watch.  And its usually a relatively slow process to get what is ordered.

Tonight's visit was the strangest I've ever had at KFC.

When we walked in, there were several people in front of us in line ordering, and one guy behind us.  And, there was one person eating in the dining room.  I didn't consider it very busy.

The guy at the counter must have been new or struggling with his job.  He was being yelled at every five seconds (no exaggeration) by the woman who was apparently the manager on duty.  Or just the bossy one there.  I'd describe the yelling as actual very loud angry yelling.  Anyway, the poor guy wasn't getting anything right if you believed the woman yelling.  But, he got our order right (according to the receipt) and we went to sit down and wait for it to be made.  I ordered a bowl that has chicKEN, mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy.  Anthony ordered their new Chicken Littles sandwich combo.

While we sat in the dining room, the yelling escalated behind the counter.  Apparently either the guy who was working the register had enough or he was relieved of his duties, because the yelling stopped and he was no longer at the register.

After waiting over ten minutes, a different guy behind the counter asked us what we ordered.  When we told him, he said "Uh oh.  Someone else took your food."  They didn't call out our number or anything so apparently somebody back there got a bit confused and gave our dinner away to some random customer.

I heard the woman working back there yell again.  And the guy told us that they'd get our food out shortly.  She said something about having to cook more of what we ordered.  I knew at that point it was going to be a while longer.  I wasn't in a hurry so Anthony and I chatted about his job while we waited.

The food was finally ready after a total of 20 minutes.  To their credit, it was good (and fresh).

I thought about an article I read last weekend about how Yum Brands (who owns KFC) is disappointed in KFC's recent sales.  Maybe my experience at that restaurant speaks volumes about why.  It also is a reminder about how much customer experience isn't valued very much at many places anymore.  I wasn't offered anything as an apology for the delay.  Although I didn't ask for anything.  We did get what we paid for, it just took a long time.  With a helping of yelling at no additional charge.

I'll return to that restaurant.  My experience didn't sour me from going.  Mostly because Anthony has found hair in his food at Burger King and Wendy's and there wasn't any at KFC.  So at least there's one restaurant that is still on the safe eating list (for now).