Why Won't Krystal Respond To Their Customers?

Hey! Krystal! Are you there?! Reader Josh sent two letter complaining about his local burger franchise and hasn’t heard a peep in response. Not even “we’re taking it seriously” or “your opinion is important to us.” Nothing!

Josh writes:

Hi guys…

My name is Josh, and a friend of mine suggested that I might come to you guys for some help. I’ve kind of engaged in some letter writing to the Krystal corporation all thanks to the restaurant down the road, and I seem to be being ignored. It’s weird; I don’t actually want anything from Krystal – all I want is an apology, or even an acknowledgment that someone’s bothering to read the complaint letter department. Anyways, I’ve written about it on my own blog, and he suggested I might try you guys. So here goes nothing.

I live in Donelson, Tennessee (a suburb of Nashville), right down the street from a Krystal. I love Krystals – for those of you not from the South, they’re very similar to White Castle burgers. Anyways, the Krystal down the street from me is pretty incompetent. Really, really incompetent. To the point where I finally did something I’d never done in my life, and I wrote a letter. Went to their website, found the complaint form, and wrote the following:

To whom it may concern:

I genuinely feel that you may be missing out on a magnificent opportunity to get some press for your Krystal restaurant in Donelson, Tennessee. It is rare that you see a fast food franchise attempt to take on such a massive challenge as this one, and even rarer to find them succeeding.

You see, there is an old phrase, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” The idea is to show that every person or organization, no matter how incompetent, how wrong-headed, is not wrong 100% of the time. It’s a noble, optimistic saying.

Your Donelson Krystal restaurant has taken on the considerable challenge of proving this saying wrong, and they seem to be succeeding (so to speak) magnificently. Of my last five trips to this Krystal, all but one of them have necessitated me returning to the store to fix my order. This is an impressive accomplishment. I have worked fast food, so I know that while mistakes are made, they are not as common as people feel, and most of the time they are the results of inattention or rushes. Yet, your fine employees have managed to bungle my orders at all times of the day, in any number of variations, no matter how busy or not they may be.

Adding to their style is the ridiculously slow speed with which they manage to bungle my orders. You would think that a restaurant so dedicated to such blunders would at least do so quickly, to have the pretext of being in a rush to keep the customers happy. However, this Krystal manages to take an eternity for even the simplest orders, rendering me not only late for whatever I was doing, but doubly late because I now have to go and get my order corrected.

You are thinking to yourself, “Surely this must be because your order is so complicated. Surely no restaurant could mangle orders so constantly unless they were complicated.” But no. This Krystal manages to even make a mockery of a request for plain burgers. That’s right. To get these orders right, all they have to do is to do nothing. And they still get it wrong. What commitment to their goal!

But to focus on their inability to follow simple directions is to sell the staff of this fine establishment far short. How could we not discuss their rude natures, their incivility, their lack of sympathy? On precisely no occasions that I have had to drive back from my house to correct my orders has anyone apologized, offered me a discount, or even asked if I wanted my drinks filled. Instead, I am greeted with withering stares and disdain, as if I am imposing by requesting that the food I paid for be correct. Especially with gas prices rapidly climbing, most people would succumb to regret or contrition, knowing that they have effectively raised the price of my meal by a decent percentage by making me waste gas. And yet your sterling staff crushes these human weaknesses, ignoring me for as long as possible before begrudgingly giving me what I asked for in the first place.

There are so, so many more issues I could discuss about this store. Could I discuss the time that they only had two employees at the store, but told no one, so the drive thru backed into the street, and people who walked in were greeted by a cook who politely inquired, “What do you want?” while rolling eyes? Or when a manager yelled obscenities at employees while coming in through the front door? Or their mysterious tendency to never have receipt paper, meaning that we have no way of confirming orders or what we paid?

But here is the most simple way to illustrate the impact this store has had on me: they have made me feel as though it is my job to check my order before I leave the store. Imagine being so successful at your incompetence that you have successfully made your customers feel that they are to blame for your mistakes, and that they bear the responsibility of making sure they get what they are asking for.

In the end, I am unsure if your restaurant is a massively successful performance art installation designed to prove how truly miserable a fast food experience could be. If so, bravo, good sirs. If not, then I can only applaud your employees and staff at their incredible incompetence, inhumanity, and miraculous consistency of ineptitude. Clearly they are wasted here; they should have themselves positions in the federal government. I think would fit in perfectly with the good people at FEMA, no doubt.

In conclusion, I find myself wondering tonight why I continue to frequent this Krystal. Yes, I love the food. Yes, it is close to my house. But with such incredible incompetence on display, you would think that I would have learned to stay away. Maybe I finally am.

Sincerely,

Josh

Now, that was on May 18th. I got nothing as a result of this letter. Not an acknowledgment, not even an automated “We thank you for writing to us” letter. I don’t really want anything back; all I would like is some sort of comment that a) they listen to compaints and b) would like to apologize for how I was treated.

But nothing.

Now, this past Sunday, my wife ended up stopping at Krystal to pick me up some dinner. The resulting drive-thru trip took 30 minutes, over which period of time…well, here’s the next letter I wrote.

To whom it may concern:

I have complained about the Donelson branch of Krystal twice in the past, and been ignored. I would have thought that a long, detailed letter expressing irritation at your restaurant would have been responded to, but apparently not. Perhaps it’s because my letter was long. Here’s a simple version of tonight’s events for your apparently simple minds.

1. When we tried to order dinner, we were told that the restaurant had run out of fries. Then it turned out that they hadn’t really – he just hadn’t checked.

2. AFTER ordering, AFTER paying, my wife was told that it would take 7-9 minutes to get food. She was thus stuck in her car with a fussy child for ten minutes, rather than getting the quick dinner we were hoping for. And ten minutes for Krystals? RIDICULOUS.

3. Finally, they brought the Krystals, but told my wife that their heat lamp has broken. Did I still want cold fries?

4. We asked for our money back. SO THEY TOOK THE FOOD BACK WITH THEM.

5. There was no apology, no explanation.

6. It took FIFTEEN minutes to process a refund.

7. The manager chose to YELL at my wife for being interested in what was taking so long for the refund. His exact words were, “Bear with me. I’m working on it.”

8. He STILL did not apologize.

9. We were there for THIRTY minutes. We received no apology whatsoever.

10. We gave up on getting our money back. We finally got our food again and left. But, they lost the receipt and had to find it.

To give the devil his due, there was a single employee who was kind and understanding to my wife during all of this. Although he did not apologize, he did give my wife a pack of cookies, telling her, “Give this to the little one for having to wait.”

This is inexcusable, offensive, and disrespectful. This has managed to do what no amount of health talk or bad experience has done before – I will not return to a Krystal restaurant again until I have received either an apology, an explanation, or I have been assured that your entire moronic, pathetic staff at this restaurant has been replaced by someone more intelligent and sympathetic, like a dog or a cardboard box. I have eaten Krystal since I was a young boy, and I will miss it and the considerable amount of business I have done there, but I am sick of being treated with disrespect, disdain, and contempt by your corporation.

This time, I sent it through the complaint form, the question form, the suggestion form, AND the compliment form, just in the hopes of being read.

Nothing.

Look – I don’t want much. All I want is an apology, someone to say “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t treat our customers this way.” But I have gotten nothing, and I would have thought that my wife being YELLED AT by the manager might have merited such. But no.

It just seems to me that it’s disingenuous to have a complaint and feedback form if you’re going to ignore it.

Do I have a valid issue? Or do I need to just let it go?

Josh is clearly passionate about his concerns, and while he invested more time pursuing his complaint than we would recommend, it’s not unreasonable for him to expect some response.

C’mon Krystal, showing up is half the battle. Take a minute and crank out a form letter.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Comments

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  1. scoobydoo says:

    In their defense, even I stopped halfway through that letter.

    Still, they should at least purchase an automated responder…

  2. humphrmi says:

    Maybe a corporate executive type is waiting for a long flight to read it all.

  3. Preyfar says:

    The letter’s writer could use a valuable lesson in tact. Whether his orders were wrong or not, he sounds like the stereotypical problem customer.

  4. eyv says:

    I disagree. He sounds articulate and somewhat thoughtful, if long-winded.

  5. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    I never do this, but wow that letter was long. It took two and a half paragraphs to get to the problem. Even when my fiancee and I are arguing we make it a point to get to the point.

    Less is more my friend.

    Or maybe they got the orders wrong because you took 2 minutes setting up the story of what you wanted to order and they tuned out. I kid, I kid.

  6. jacques says:

    Not being from the south, are these the most awesomely delicious burgers one could possibly ever find, and do they only have them every 15 square miles? I would figure that after the first 4 times, he would find another Krystal or find a different burger joint.
    Unless they’re made of Krystal Meth, of course.

  7. mgy says:

    Maybe no one is responding because there’s absolutely no way they can win with the OP? The “Somebody owes me an apology” crowd is exactly the kind of customer they don’t want. However, the OP is not doing himself any favors by continuing to patronize the restaurant. They’d run themselves out of business eventually if you’d stop going.

  8. RedSonSuperDave says:

    Josh should throw out his thesaurus. It doesn’t impress people when you use sentence constructions like, “If not, then I can only applaud your employees and staff at their incredible incompetence, inhumanity, and miraculous consistency of ineptitude.”, it just makes you look like a pretentious ass. Inhumanity? Give me a break.

    I’m not one to blame the consumer, but he needs to learn that clarity is more important than using a lot of big words, especially when his sentence construction is so tortured. It sounds like the staff at that particular Krystal is staggeringly incomptent, but he doesn’t need to write a doctoral thesis about it.

  9. Prions says:

    Perhaps insulting the entire company by calling the lot of them “simple minds” is not the best way to get yourself an apology or response.

    Also what type of entitled person would you have to be in order to ask that an entire store of employees be fired?

    And the manager simply saying “Bear with me. I’m working on it” is not yelling. I wish we could hear the second side of the story….

  10. dugn says:

    Carey – it’s a BAD letter written with weak sarcasm. A non-story if there ever was one. And you turned the headline into something akin to the Second Coming.

    Please ratchet your weekend articles down a bit. I’d love for Consumerist to stay relevant, not to lose its value over these bottom-of-the-barrel stories with larger-than-life headlines.

  11. muffinpan says:

    Wow man get to the point. The first letter was so snarky. If I worked for Krystals I would have tossed it in the trash. If you put as much effort into writing a proper complaint letter as you did writing that sarcastic heap of crap you might increase your chances of having a dialogue with the company. Instead they probably think your nuts. I know I do.

  12. B says:

    I think the OP is being unfair. A broken clock is right twice a day, or about 8% of the time, where as Krystal is right once out of five times, or 20% of the time.

  13. attheotherbeach says:

    @jacques: No, they suck. They run right through you… and not in a good way.

  14. crooshjef says:

    I’m the only person who thought his letter was funny? The performance art line was priceless.

    If you have to write a complaint letter, might as well have a good time doing it.

  15. Televiper says:

    Both letters look more like bad attempts at comedy routines than actual complain letters. He’s so busy with the snark he leaves out important details like dates, times, what he ordered (“dinner” doesn’t cut it), and the address of the restaurant.

  16. Televiper says:

    @crooshjef: If you have to write a complaint letter, might as well have a good time doing it.

    Fair enough, but you’re wasting your time when your fun completely buries the complaint.

  17. CMPalmer says:

    Well, the letter is a bit long, but the Krystal corp really doesn’t seem to care much about their stores.

    There are four or more Krystal stores around Huntsville, AL and all of them are poorly staffed and managed. They are still strangely appealing, just like in “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle” – when you have a craving for a Krystal, nothing else is quite right. They also have a really good new pomegranate slushy and free Wi-Fi.

    But, oh my god, the bad service. Most stores are open late or all night, but sometimes there is only one person there. My wife and kids went to one the other night around 8PM. They were the only customers and there were two people working. When they got their food, they asked for ketchup and the guy said, “We’re out of ketchup packets.” My wife said, well one of our burgers has ketchup from your dispenser in the back, can you just put some ketchup in a cup or on a lid for us? Unbelievably, the guy said, “No. If I did that for you, I’d have to do it for everyone.”

    And that was a relatively good trip in that they did get the food they ordered within 15 or 20 minutes – something you can’t always count on.

    So if anyone finds some good corporate contacts, let us know. I’ve got a lot of complaints :-)

  18. pigeonpenelope says:

    while i realize the letters were long, they were quite good reads. regardless of the length, it is Krystal’s responsibility to respect their patrons by a reply. apparently, they don’t care. i would say that if one has stock in Krystal, perhaps it is best to sell. they’re not going to be lasting much longer if this is the customer service provided.

  19. Frank_Trapasso says:

    In short, Josh, learn to fucking write.

  20. nyaz says:

    Wow, it’s really not hard to implement into exchange server an automated response to a certain e-mail address. But yes in Krytals defense, no wonder they didn’t respond if you wern’t so long winded maybe you’d get a response.

  21. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    A broken clock is right twice a day, unless it’s one of those like the one on my VCR that thinks it’s midnight as soon as you plug it in and starts counting off minutes right then and there as if I programmed it for midnight.

  22. Overheal says:

    OP if they dont check the freezer for a pack of fries what chance do you think you have of corporate checking the inbox on their complaint form?

    Well, thats one more company to earmark on my personal blacklist; at least until they can prove us all wrong with a show of faith.

  23. Overheal says:

    @nyaz: on the contrary I would assume a detailed response would receive better attention than Hey The Food Sucks.

    OP may I suggest trying your luck by sending them a fake compliment and see if they dont respond.

  24. Funny – not only does Krystal taste like White Castle, they have the same kind of “dedication” to customer service. I once got violently sick after eating at White Castle. Not sick like “oh I just ate White Castle” but sick like “I feel really ill [vomit] I think I have food poisoning [more vomiting].”

    I wrote and complained. In their written response, they accused me of making up the story and enclosed a refund check that had under the endorsement a statement saying I wouldn’t sue them.

    It was all very confidence building.

  25. morganlh85 says:

    At least it’s only one restaurant. That’s how ALL the fast food restaurants are here in Detroit.

  26. Josh says:

    Hey guys…

    Well, I’m the guy who wrote the letter. I wanted to say that most of you were right about the letter being too long – I have no doubt that it factored into the lack of response. Honestly, with the first letter, I was taking crooshjef’s feeling about it; I figured that if I wanted to write a complaint letter, I might as well have some fun. Honestly, I was more just really, really irritated at that point rather than really angry.

    Anyways, I got the advice to try an EECB, and it worked perfectly. I did that Friday night, and by Saturday morning, I had a personal phone call from the district supervisor for Krystal, who took lots of notes and apologized profusely. Honestly, that’s all I wanted – I told him, when he offered, that I didn’t want any free food, and that I just wanted a) someone to say they were sorry for the way the restaurant was run and b) someone to at least pretend to read complaint letters.

    By the way, a couple of people mentioned that I didn’t mention the restaurant, the time/date of the visit, or the orders themselves – that was actually all taken care of in a form that attached to the complaint letter.

    In the end, you guys are right, but the first letter was just meant as a way of airing frustration and alerting people that there were some serious issues with the restaurant. My hope was that they might take the idea that if one person is taking the time to write (admittedly, too much time, but I don’t complain often, and if I had browsed this site first, I would have written it differently), they would at least understand that there was an issue. It was the lack of response – not even an automated one – that upset me.

    Anyways, a few responses:

    @jacques – they’re really great burgers, but there aren’t a whole lot around me. There’s the one right down the road, and then not another for a significantly further distance.

    @prions – it was very much the tone, not the wording. It was kind of hard to explain in an e-mail, but I was doing my best.

  27. jusooho says:

    ” I will not return to a Krystal restaurant again until I have received either an apology, an explanation, or I have been assured that your entire moronic, pathetic staff at this restaurant has been replaced by someone more intelligent and sympathetic, like a dog or a cardboard box.”

    If I got this letter on my desk, I’d throw it away without responding.

  28. Televiper says:

    The only fastfood restaurant I ever go to is Harvey’s in Canada. If you go into the restaurant they make everything to order in front of you. It takes a couple minutes but it’s worth it. At least as worth it as fast food can be.

  29. HungryGrrl says:

    TL,DR.

    Plus…

    Have 3 bad experiences with one restaurant? STOP GIVING THEM BUISINESS.

  30. SaveMeJeebus says:

    tl;dr

  31. pdxguy says:

    These might help:

    Brad Wahl
    bwahl@krystalco.com
    423-757-1515
    800-458-5841
    VP Marketing

    Glen Griffiths
    ggriffiths@krystalco.com
    423.757.5661
    (800) 458-5912
    VP Franchise Development

    Jo Price
    jprice@krystalco.com
    Franchise Development
    (423) 757-5601
    (800) 458-5912

    Toll Free Phone: (800) 458-5912
    Primary Contact: Ms. Carolyn Stringer
    Primary Contact Title: Assistant to President
    Secondary Contact: Mr. Fred Exum Jr.
    Secondary Contact Title: President/COO
    Info E-Mail Address: cstringer@krystalco.com

    Fred Exum Jr.
    fexum@krystalco.com ?
    President and CEO

    (I added the last one has it seems the email addressing convention they are using is “first_letter_of_first_name followed by full_last_name”)

    Personally, I’d start with Ms. Stringer and go from there. Good luck.

  32. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    @twophrasebark: I’m not surprised you got sick. Both Krystal & White Castle make tiny burgers that require the big sweaty goon in the kitchen to finger every square inch of the patty, bun and cheese in the assembly process.

  33. sjspiehler says:

    Oh my gosh, tl;dr. Get to the point, man.

    This is what happened.
    This is when it happened.
    This is who did it.

    That is your complain letter. Period.

    “We asked for our money back. SO THEY TOOK THE FOOD BACK WITH THEM.” That’s called a RETURN.

    I agree, Krystal is amazing, but it’s not worth this. Stop feeling so superior, and stop going there.

  34. egoebelbecker says:

    My dogs are much more sympathetic than a cardboard box, and I assure you that if there are fires to be found, they will find them.

    But seriously. A story about bad service at a fast food restaurant and a company that doesn’t know how to answer whiny e-mails?

    I guess you’ve run out of laundry scoops to measure and iPhone users to insult?

  35. Josh says:

    By the way, I wanted to, in a brief moment of self-defense, let you guys know (whenever this posts) that when I did the EECB, I followed the Consumerist’s e-mail complaint form to a T – very short, to the point, and expressed my issue.

    To be fair to myself, I’ve never frequented the site, and I’ll be the first to admit that I could have written the letters better. The first was trying to have fun while complaining, in the hopes maybe of being more memorable and getting the point across without being an ass. As for the second…I was really pissed, and tried to express myself, but I wasn’t really focused on getting my point across.

  36. Noris159 says:

    Sony won’t respond to my written letters either, asking why someone got their PS3 fixed via the Consumerist w/o receipt and I was rejected when I asked for warranty service.

  37. VeeKaChu says:

    Yes, the first “complaint” is horrible, yet strangely compelling in its grandiose over-reaching. Fun fact; it ends on a total non-sequitar. “Maybe I finally am.”

    Finally am “what”, exactly? “Learned”? Now, had you been “learning” to avoid their incompetence in the sentence prior, it would actually approach decent english, but your penultimate passage and your final one are, placed together, completely broken.

    Too clever by half!

  38. sickofthis says:

    I’ve been to that location once or twice and haven’t had any problems. After the first bad experience, though, I’d stop going. Returning after your first snarky letter and then writing a second one tells the management you’re not serious about not giving them your business. Plus, dude, there’s one on Murfreesboro Road not far from the one you’re bitching about. Give it a try.

    BTW, Krystals are WAY better than White Castles (it’s the mustard), but WC’s fries are better.

  39. Ein2015 says:

    Look in the circular file, and you’ll find your complaints! :D

  40. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Maybe the cashier got lost in the preamble and then missed the sprinkled parts of the ramble where Josh actually gave his order. There is something to be said about Soup Nazi etiquette when placing an order.

  41. a says:

    This guy is clearly not a goon. “Good sirs” is a bannable offense. Because it’s really annoying.

  42. Another question to consider is if this Krystal is corporate or a privately owned franchise. There was an absolutely HORRIBLE McDonald’s near where I used to work and, though there were regular complaints filed from everyone I ever knew that ate there, there was never anything done. I tried it 3 times, as there was not much choice late at night, and found out after my 3rd complaint that they were a privately owned franchise and McDonald’s corporate couldn’t really do anything as long as they were, barely, passing the health inspections.

  43. buyer5 says:

    Take your licks and never go back. ITS NOT WORTH IT.

  44. matt314159 says:

    Both letters have their problems.

    Letter #1: Far too long, doesnt get to the point quickly enough. Second, what exactly is the problem, and what does he expect them to do about it? I don’t feel this was clear. It kind of just rambled on and on about how they never get anything right.

    Letter #2: Starting the letter off by insulting the reader is going to get you nowhere. I understand the concerns, but to open the letter by insulting is not the way to vent your frustrations.

  45. TimSPC says:

    Someone want to shoot me over the Monarch Notes version of these letters?

  46. Cliff_Donner says:

    @twophrasebark: That’s why their slogan is “Buy ‘em by the sackful — puke ‘em by the roadside.”


  47. ByeBye says:

    Funny how no one ever ever sympathizes with the people who are complaining. Why did he not give up? Maybe he has dedication to their chain, or maybe he was too lazy. Who knows. I feel that attacks to the original posters are getting kind of weak, and is becoming the norm with all of these comments/talkbacks.

  48. rjgnyc says:

    Once I read the second paragraph of the first one, I stopped caring. Not that the second paragraph said anything dumb, just that it was the second paragraph of ten.

    So I skipped the rest of that epic and went to the one with a list,

    And now I don’t get what the second complaint is… well… complaining about. “my food took 10 minutes and then when I didn’t want it they took it back” or “they told us they were out of fries so it took time to make them but the heat lamp was broken so they couldn’t make them warm and they never explained why the fries were cold and late”

    The letters are clearly rude. I wouldn’t respond either.

  49. caj11 says:

    Well I can only guess that this a franchise that isn’t well run. As for the employees being rude and idiotic, well, it is a fast-food franchise, they probably make minimum wage, and Krystal corporate no doubt cares about them as much as they do these complaint letters, so what can you do?

    Find another location, or better yet, another restaurant chain altogether, preferably one that doesn’t sell fried, fatty and greasy food. You shouldn’t be eating that stuff anyway.

  50. teapot37 says:

    “This Krystal manages to even make a mockery of a request for plain burgers. That’s right. To get these orders right, all they have to do is to do nothing. And they still get it wrong.”

    If Krystal is as much like White Castle as the OP says, then the burgers are grilled on a bed of onions, so the cooks have to scrape the onions off to give you plain burgers.

    Being concise and not insulting your target audience are good rules to follow in writing complaint letters (or any letters, really).

  51. rjgnyc says:

    @Manator Will Show You the Promised Land!: It’s hard to feel sympathetic toward someone who acts overly arrogant toward customer service.

    Maybe I’m hoping for real complaints, like “The insurance company won’t pay for my cancer treatments” or “the bank tripled my interest rate without telling me” or “I was accused of stealing something because of my nationality” or something with a bit more meat to it.

    “My fries were late and they didn’t put a pickle on my burger” is such a vapid first world problem that it makes my head spin.

    Shit, one time when I ordered tex-mex from a local place they gave me two tacos instead of three and left the tomato on. They didn’t seem to give much of a shit but neither did I. Clearly I should email Consumerist because this is a news-worthy issue

  52. timmus says:

    Remember when the Consumerist would actually get on the phone and go up to bat for readers, rather than just paste the complaints on their blog? Let’s drink a toast to those days.

  53. NAMEUNKNOWN says:

    I pray for a 10 minute wait at my local Krystal’s (Mobile, Al-The Loop). I am lucky to get in and out of the drive thru within 20 minutes (with no more than two cars ahead of me).

  54. akede2001 says:

    Didn’t bother to read it all. Way too long, and my only impression of the guy is that he’s a sarcastic and condescending prick.

    It’s one thing to say “Unfortunately, the contents of my order have been incorrect nearly every visit.” as opposed to “You guys always manage to bungle my orders. Quite an impressive accomplishment.”

    If I was with this company I’d write you back– but it’d also be my last day at that job because of the response you’d get from me.

  55. Tsk tsk tsk.

    Getting a burger with the wrong fixins is worth two sentences at most. Three sentences if you want to complain about repeated the errors.

    Corporate is not ignoring the letter…. corporate trashed the letter.

  56. Give me a letter with dates and times (+ ticket numbers) and the “every visit” becomes meaningful.

  57. nsv says:

    Too long, didn’t read. Can’t blame Krystal, either.

  58. Not Alvis says:

    “We asked for our money back. SO THEY TOOK THE FOOD BACK WITH THEM.”

    What did you expect? Them messing up entitles you to your money back, sure, but what makes you think you deserve free food?

  59. chutch says:

    First off, Krystal is good, even addictive, but not worth this. I’m from TN also. I understand the love for Krystal in the South. But I’ve had to overcome my love for the burgers in response to bad customer service.

    My own greatest complaint would have to be with a problem I’ve seen here for years. “Sorry for your wait.” They would say it no matter if I literally gave my order and almost didn’t have to stop in front of the window. They also liked to say the same thing if I’d waited in their line for 15 minutes. That was what was happening here. I’m really not sure if that’s a nationwide thing.

    The art of complaint writing is really an odd art form. You can’t be long-winded along with overly negative and sarcastic. Most places that are even doing a decent job get complaint letters like that. I have successfully written long-winded complaint letters, but you really have to butter up the reader before you explain why this will result in your never going back again – along with trashing the company’s name whenever possible. Sarcasm and being overly negative don’t really work in this situation though.

    If you use the EECB I suggest honestly that you calm down before you do it. If sarcasm is your personal strong point, have a person close to you help you rewrite it.

    @Corporate-Shill: If I gather correctly, the reason he can’t provide ticket numbers is because he also complained they NEVER give receipts at this place. I find this odd personally, but I’ve been to other places that didn’t automatically print one. Dates and Time though should be high on the list of things to include. Names are the only thing that rank higher as far as complaint letters go.

  60. scerwup says:

    I loved the OP’s letter.

  61. Nstef007 says:

    I’m seriously craving Krystal now.

  62. bonzombiekitty says:

    Just echoing what others have said about the length and tone of the letters. I don’t deny that the OP received bad service, but there are ways to write effective complaint letters, and those letters isn’t one of them.

    Frankly, the letter is written in a way that I’ve seen in a lot of chronic complainers who complain about nothing at all. If I was working in customer service for this company, my immediate inclination would be that the situation had been heavily embellished and that there’s absolutely nothing to gain in trying to even deal with you.

    The first letter way too long and rambling and comes off as nothing more than bitch session. You didn’t write it in a way that would make the reader think you really wanted a reply. The second letter, you start off by insulting the reader – not a good way of getting them to respond.

    One thing in particular struck me:

    4. We asked for our money back. SO THEY TOOK THE FOOD BACK WITH THEM.

    Well, yeah, of course. What would you expect? I know it stinks that your fries would have been cold, but they’re not going to just give you free food if you haven’t touched your food yet.

    And frankly, if 4 our of 5 trips to the store meant you had to go back to get your order fixed, then why do you keep going?!

  63. arsbadmojo says:

    I like a snarky letter as much as the next guy, and have written a few myself, but with those I never expect a reply.

    If you’re looking for action you’re using the wrong tool for the job. Stick to the facts; date, time, order, cashier – and what you expect.

    As far as the differences between White Castle and Krystal, I like them both about the same for food, but I think White Castle has the edge as far as customer service because the workers are happier. They get higher pay than average for fast food, and even part timers get benefits. All the stores are privately owned too, not franchises, so that helps.

  64. Pro-Pain says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Exactly.

  65. Josh says:

    @chutch: Thanks for the constructive feedback. It’s something I tried to implement when I did the EECB – like I said, browsing this site has been a big education, and I don’t doubt that I would do things differently if I did this all again.

    @bonzombiekitty: You know, the more I think about the food thing, the more I realize that I shouldn’t have gotten pissed about that. It seemed logical at the time, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I would have taken the food back too. I think I was just really ticked at the time – I probably should have waited a day or so before writing that e-mail.

  66. pegr says:

    It’s Krystals, for crying out loud. They’re a White Castle wanna-be. I doubt anyone at corporate can read above a 3rd grade level.

    Being a staunch White Castle supporter, the sooner this abomination can be eliminated from the face of the Earth, the better.

  67. dmann99 says:

    Josh, Krystal is just not that into you. Take the hint.

  68. chrisjames says:

    Judging from the length of that letter, and the word count before he finally gets to a vague description of actual poor customer service, he seems to be getting quite a bit of satisfaction out of the act of complaining without really caring about his treatment at Krystal at all. I started reading the second complaint before I realized I was finally into the oily, diluted, gelatinous meat of the letter.

    As Boss Krystal, I would have at least added a rule to my form letter robot to bounce this back with the request “Please limit your complaints to 300 words or less.” And maybe added a “Beeyotch” for the really long and flowery ones.

  69. caj11 says:

    @arsbadmojo: I don’t quite understand what you mean by “privately owned” vs. “franchises”? Are all White Castle stores owned by corporate and not franchised?

  70. caj11 says:

    @Clold:

    I sure as hell hope that the Krystal wouldn’t have actually served the food that they took back with them. This being a fast-food place though, I wouldn’t doubt it. Yuck! Makes me think twice about going to any fast food place.

  71. Hellblazer says:

    Josh, the Consumerist Consensus seems to be that Krystal’s is ignoring you because instead of using your letters to deliver a concise complaint, you were too busy using them to be a douchebag.

    Let this be a lesson to you for the next time this happens, which is sure to be in the none-too-distant future.

  72. scooby76 says:

    Is there a condensed version of this story for the reading long winded post impaired viewers?

  73. Josh says:

    @Hellblazer: I definitely get that. And, like I said, I think I learned my lesson…even though it’s too late to stop a shitstorm from arising. Hey, if it helps, at least I not only eventually got an apology, but I learned how to write a good complaint letter from all of this!

    Oh well.

  74. mariospants says:

    I think – if anything – this post and the ensuing comments serves to educate: consumers should send shorter, more concise letters of complaint. You know, “honey, can you please read my gripe letter to Sears? Do you think I’m sounding too much like Josh?”

    BTW, word out to In-N-Out and Harvey’s (Canadian franchise).

  75. arsbadmojo says:

    @caj11:

    Exactly. Almost all, anyway; I read that there a few franchises outside the US.

  76. Josh says:

    @chrisjames: If I had gotten a letter back that said “Beeyotch,” I would forgive Krystal anything, and love them forever.

  77. incognit000 says:

    They clearly want you and everyone else to go eat somewhere else.

  78. k4ffy says:

    there’s no need for the seething sarcasm.
    if i got that email, i wouldn’t respond either.

  79. mizmoose says:

    Jumpin Jeebus Cripes on a Broken Pogo Stick.

    The real performance art isn’t what has happened to the OP, it’s the amazing number of comments here that are simply whining about the OP’s letters.

    You (the whiny ones) are making Fark posters look like poster children for helpfulness.

    Really, peoples. If you can’t say something helpful and constructive, will you please STFU and go play with the other snarkbabies on the goofy websites?

    (Just to be clear — most people that did say negative things about the OPs letters did it constructively. Because, yeah, they are a bit long, and they really should stick more to the facts and less to the bitter.)

  80. JessicaJessica says:

    You lost me at “hello”

  81. bobfromboston says:

    If I’m an executive at Krystal and I get a smarmy, sarcastic, condescending letter like that it goes right in the shredder. It tells me the writer doesn’t really want a serious response.

  82. carbonmade says:

    His letter, although amusing, was a bit rude and condescending. I find simple, short, kind letters do the trick much better.

  83. mazement says:

    I hate to join in the pile-on, but I’ve got to put in a plug for John Kennedy Toole’s wonderful novel “A Confederacy of Dunces”. The book’s hero writes complaint letters in that style, and they’re not effective, either. Reading the whole book might be educational.

  84. PDX909 says:

    What a wordy ass. I stopped caring at the end of second paragraph.

  85. You-Me-Us says:

    I have been to that very same Krystal. It’s been exactly that way for more than a decade. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon and anyone who still goes there should expect that kind of “service.” On the plus side, if your air conditioner breaks this summer, it’s always about 62 degrees in that place.

  86. econobiker says:

    Pick your battles, obviously you shouldn’t care about this Krystal’s service just like you shouldn’t care about Denny’s service at 3:20am…

    Based on your written prose, you do not strike me as the target market Krystal’s is trying to attract…

  87. GothGirl says:

    We have Krystal’s in Memphis, TN as well… and they all suck. The food is awful, the service is slow… and everyone around the town knows it. I have eaten there once and got extremely sick. I think the complaint letter in this post might have been a little too clever for the Krystal’s corp….

  88. parrotuya says:

    Do business elsewhere. Don’t get all stressed over these clowns. When I get bad service, the next time I eat out, I spend my money at the competition. Makes me feel better.

  89. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Jeebus Josh…it’s a complaint letter, not the Congressional Record. I was bored after the first paragraph. Additionally, both letters are dripping with sarcasm. Sure, it feels good to call everyone who works there a stupid moron, but just maybe, instead of sympathizing with you, whoever is on the receiving end of your incredibly long and incredibly sarcastic missives might be taking some bit of offense and instantly deleting them!

    I will not return to a Krystal restaurant again until I have received either an apology, an explanation, or I have been assured that your entire moronic, pathetic staff at this restaurant has been replaced by someone more intelligent and sympathetic, like a dog or a cardboard box.

    A simple explanation of what happened and why you were upset, minus the litany of insults would have the way to go. Implying that the staff is less intelligent than a cardboard box isn’t going to generate any sympathy for your plight.

    Plus..it’s fast food..prepared and served by people making minimum wage and barely making a living, not a five-star French restaurant. Go in with low expectations and you won’t be disappointed. Maybe learn to like onions, or just go somewhere else.

    It’s really a bad idea to commit anything to print when you’re really angry…at the very least, your letters will be ignored…at worst, it could get you fired, divorced, or arrested.

  90. Smashville says:

    I looooove Krystal. Pretty much the only fast food they eat. I go for the food…not for the customer service…they have notoriously awful customer service everywhere…But honestly…there’s something like 15 in Nashville alone…go to another one. There’s the Antioch one…go to that one.

  91. Smashville says:

    Wait…I also love In-N-Out…but the closest one to Nashville is 1,400 miles away in Tucson…although it’s not so much fun with the Bushman jumps out at you when you leave and makes you drop your milkshake…

  92. WickedTribe says:

    Well for starters the first letter was so vicious and sarcastic that no one could take it seriously. But more importantly, as a Krystal employee, I’d like to address some of your misconceptions.

    First off, “plain” burgers are the most difficult to make. They do not require the employee to “do nothing.” Krystals are cooked in onions (forced by corporate policy). When you order them plain, the employee is forced to “scrape off” the onions from each burger. Ordering “plain” or “no onions” takes LONGER than any other kind of order and is the most difficult to make.

    And as far as the order taking 7-9 minutes, exactly 8 minutes is the cook time of Krystals. If you come at a slow time of day, you either wait 8-10 minutes for fresh Krystals (including prep time) or you get old Krystals. They are only considered fresh for 20 minutes and then they have to be tossed (or held onto and served anyway when they’re not fresh). If you haven’t noticed, Krystal is the only “fast food” restaurant that gives you a marker and asks you to wait in the dining room for your food (at least in my experience). This is not a fast service restaurant compared to standards like McDonalds, because nothing is held around in a warmer and it’s literally all made fresh.

    Also since you didn’t already know these things, I do not believe that you have been a Krystal fan since you were a young boy, or even since recently. The people reading your letters probably got the same impression.