Saturday, April 14, 2012

The King has fallen

I happened into a Burger King Restaurant yesterday for a quick lunch. It has been a long time since I have eaten at Burger King, and, based on my experience, it will probably be a long time before I return.

It was around lunchtime and decided I should get a quick bite. A lot of times, I like to drop into Wendy's for a side small salad and a glass of water. $1.39 for a healthy lunch which tastes good and I can get fairly fast. I see the BK and figure I will visit "the King". I remember I heard a few weeks ago that Wendy's had finally overtaken Burger King among the big 3 in sales even though Burger King has more physical locations. I can see why.

Starting with my entrance, I notice the store is a bit shabby in appearance; dirty tables, chipped floor tile, faded posters advertising their specials, but, they do have a plasma or LCD order board. I guess they are in the 21st Century. The woman taking the order is either Middle Eastern Indian or some type of Persian and obviously has some sort of difficulty speaking and understanding standard American English. After relaying twice that my order is not to go and for eating inside the restaurant, I am given my receipt and the mumbled announcement that my order number is "duh-bruddy-tour". I have no idea what that means. Waiting approximately four minutes while NO ONE ELSE ENTERS THE STORE, I am across the counter from a surly Hispanic girl who repeatedly checks the order screen, grabs a to go sack, and crams my Jr. Whopper and Value fries into it before yelling across the counter "Jr. Whopper and Fries"! There is no one else waiting. I figure I will just take the sack and sit down. I go over to the condiment bar to get some napkins and ketchup and notice that the small portion cups are missing from the condiment station. I go back to the counter and mention to the Latina princess that the cups are missing over at the ketchup station and I would like to have some in order to get some ketchup. The astute reader will notice that the key word in this last thought has been the word "ketchup". Apparently the help at Burger King realized the same because she grabs four small to-go packets, throws them at me, and goes back to scanning the televised order board. So much for having it your way.

I really am a forgiving and tolerant type of customer. We all have bad days or days where we are overwhelmed. Mistakes happen. I get all of that. To consistently leave an unfavorable impression with the customer from the time they walk in the door until they exit, though, just doesn't seem to be the foundation of a successful business model. It's gonna take more than new Fresh Wraps and Mango Smoothies to regain 2nd place.


  1. Well stated KFRED. You might send this to Corporate as a helpful critique to show why they have lost ground. Attitude like that loses customers as you well know. Send it.

    Enjoy the weekend!!

  2. Thanks, Dickey.

    Of course, I would have to send this totally anonymously in order to retain job security. Sadly, I don't think it would make much of a difference, anyway. Got to please the shareholders, you know.

    Guess I will go golfing instead.


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