KFC Serves Up Nasty Pot Pie, Doesn't Even Send Me Coupons

Derek didn’t expect all that much from KFC. He picked up a chicken pot pie for a lunch treat, and brought it back to work. He found that it had what he calls “an extremely strong chemical smell and taste,” and wasn’t about to eat the pie. He’s not upset about the foul-tasting pot pie: he got on with his life. What he finds disappointing is that he reported it to KFC using the form on their web site, then called them on the phone, and received no response. Why bother having a form at all? Why bother having a customer service number if all the representatives are authorized to do is shrug?

Hi, I wanted to share a recent experience I had at KFC and the kind of customer service you can expect from them should you encounter a problem. This might seems like a long story for such a simple issue, but it is the principle of it that irks me most.

About 3-4 weeks ago I took a lunch break at my job to go visit a KFC in [redacted], MA to grab a quick bite to eat. I generally avoid fast food, but I do have cravings for their chicken pot pies, which I happen to find delicious for an occasional treat. I received the meal and went back to my work – as the KFC is quite a bit out of the way for me (I don’t mind going for a drive to get away from the office on my lunch). Once I got back to my work I attempted to eat the meal, but
the first bite was my last. I could not even eat the pie because it had an extremely strong chemical smell and taste, so much so that I didn’t even know if it was safe to eat. I say this with as least drama as possible – it did not ruin my day and I did not get sick or anything like that – but there was definitely something seriously wrong with the meal. I have had these pies many times before and know how they should taste.

Unfortunately, because my lunch was over, I was not able to return to the KFC to bring it back. I looked on their site to find a contact us form and they had one that had options to fill out problems with food, etc. I filled this out letting them know of my experience and possibly unsafe to eat food. Two weeks later I had heard nothing back.

I really am not a hard person to please. A simple response would have been sufficient, but after a few weeks when I had heard nothing I decided to give them a call about their lack of response. After sitting on hold for 5-10 minutes, I spoke to a girl on the phone and let them know that I was unhappy with my experience, but I was most unhappy that my complaint was completely ignored. She offered no apology or anything of use (why do they even have a customer service hotline?) and told me she would submit a second request for a response for me. From the sound and wording of her response, I got the impression this was a common occurrence for customers to not have any response to complaints. This was two months have gone by, and my experience and feedback has still been completely ignored.

I could[n't] care less about the money. All I wanted was some kind of response from KFC. Up to this day I have not heard a single word from them. It is clear that their customer hotline and issue submission are not something that KFC even bothers looking at or care about. I would have been happier as a customer to not have a place to submit an issue or call then have a place to do so then have the issue completely ignored. KFC has alienated a customer and I will not return. I feel that KFC thinks if they ignore issues they will go away. I would likeothers to know about KFC and its care of customers.

Could Derek have received a refund or at least an apology if he had driven back to the restaurant with the offending pie? Yes. He most likely would have had a better result calling them up and asking for the manager, too. If the company isn’t going to do anything useful with the information they solicit from customers, though, why don’t they just take down that contact form from their site?

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. kevinroyalty says:

    I had a similar complaint of KFC 2 years ago. followed the same procedures you did. basically the same response. no one from the store would talk to me, and no response from corporate.

  2. fsnuffer says:

    Add a line to your complaint that you are also sending a copy to the local health department and I bet you will get a little better response. Go to google maps and add a review also.

  3. carterpeartford says:

    do what I did the last time I ate at Burger King, call the store, ask for the manager, tell him the food he serves is inedible, and ask for a refund. I had my $7 back immediately.

    • Murph1908 says:

      This.

      My order was screwed up from some place a while back. I didn’t notice it until I got back to the office, making it too late to go back.

      I just set the food aside and waited for the end of my shift, then went back and got my money back. They gave no apology whatsoever, so I gave them no further business whatsoever. A simple ‘sorry’ would have been fine, but I didn’t even get that. They were more concerned that I was making a return 4 hours later.

    • nicoleintrovert says:

      BK seems to be on point with complaints. Their location near my work is absolutely AWFUL. After a 15 minute wait in the drive through where no one told me their card machine (credit or debit) wasn’t working, and my food was sitting in their window the entire time getting cold I told them to keep it and drove over to Taco Bell. I filed an online complaint once I got back to the office. I got a VERY kind email from the manager and a phone call. Because I hadn’t spent any money I didn’t expect any compensation. My surprise about a week later, when a coupon for a free whopper with an apology letter showed up in my mailbox.

  4. carterpeartford says:

    also complaining to the corporate level for any fast food place is useless, I have gotten cold breakfast sandwiches and combo meals missing fries from McDonalds, chicken salads missing the chicken from Wendys, and nothing more than an OMG WE ARE TAKING THIS SO SERIOUSLY!!1 from corporate.

    • Dagny Taggart says:

      That isn’t always the case. I went to a Wendy’s once that was possibly the most disgusting national-chain restaurant I had ever visited – dirty dining room floor, garbage on all the tables (even though the place had no other customers, and there were plenty of employees standing around), a bathroom that was so vile that I held my child above the toilet while she peed, and a bad case of food poisoning for my husband.

      I called the national headquarters, and followed up with a faxed letter, and I got a written apology, several coupons, and a phone call from the manager of that store (who, by the tone of his voice, sounded like someone had torn him a new a$$hole).

      Because of the swift and serious way that Wendy’s Corporate handled my complaint, I remain a customer to this day (although I will take a pass at that particular location the next time I drive through Arkansas).

      • The Meathead says:

        May I ask, with no snark but legitimate curiosity why you proceeded to dine there after observing the awful conditions?

    • ashley440 says:

      I actually had a different experience also. I visited a Subway location near my work about two years ago, and was told by an employee there that I would not be able to customize my sandwich the way I wanted (long story, don’t ask) even though I had no trouble at that location or any other up to that point. I went back to work and filled out the contact form on their corporate website and received a call from the store manager the next day. She was very nice, promised to correct the problem with that particular employee and sent me a $20 gift card in the mail. Even better, when I went back I was able to get exactly what I wanted with no issues.

  5. Murph1908 says:

    I send emails and fill out forms for this on occasion when the need arises. If they send me a coupon, that’s great, but I don’t expect it (or at least I tell myself that). If they send me a form letter, I roll my eyes and move on. If they ignore me, I ignore them and don’t go there for an extended period of time.

    Don’t go there for an extended period of time. And tell people about your nasty pot pie when the topic of KFC comes up.

  6. kranky says:

    Had a similar experience to the OP last time I contacted a fast food outfit about a bad meal. I used their website to tell them of the poor food and got an automated email explaining how the regional manager would review my comments and contact me directly. Two days later I got a email from an actual person at corporate asking if I had been contacted yet by the regional manager, and I replied that I had not.

    A week went by, and I contacted the actual person again to let her know I had still not heard from anyone.

    Never heard another word about it.

  7. ninabi says:

    We had a similar experience with Culvers in May. My husband ordered a custard with mix-ins (Reese’s mini cups). One of the peanut butter cups was frozen solid- he bit down and there was instant pain, a broken bridge, a root canal. He ended up having 3K in replacement work done for a $3.00 dessert.

    We used the online form for Culvers- we didn’t ask them to pay, but thought it might be a good idea for the company to warn others that even semi-soft frozen custard can contain rock-hard substances that can cause pricey dental fractures.

    Didn’t hear a word back. Not even “We’re sorry.”

    • cactus jack says:

      While it would have been polite to have at least emailed you back, they probably were looking to avoid accepting blame for a potential lawsuit. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think it would look too good to have a documented apology for something like this.

      “I ate your product and broke my tooth!” leads to, “oh shit, someone is looking for a payout.”

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      So if they had written “Frozen food sometimes gets hard” on the cup, would anything be different?

    • Kisses4Katie says:

      Oh hell no.

  8. Overheal says:

    Ordered a meal from CFA and they left out the order of waffle fries. No problem, waited till the end of my shift and explained to them what happened and that I only had 30 minutes for lunch earlier and didn’t have time to address it then. Manager issued me a free meal coupon.

  9. do-it-myself says:

    My experience at Smashburger was the complete opposite. A burger I ordered did not come with 2 items I requested. I was only told one was unavailable at the time of delivery. I ordered the Miami burger with is supposed to come topped with potato sticks (Fritas). I also added sauteed onions. The only reason I got the damn burger was because of the Fritas! I then noticed my onions were not there and they gave me a fresh side tray on the side AND a coupon for a free burger.

    Pei Wei and Smashburger are on my elite list. They dissolve dissatisfaction immediately.

  10. speaky2k says:

    Not to blame the OP here, but what he should have done is call the number that was listed on the receipt for that KFC and talked to the manager, while still on his lunch break. The store is much more likely to have said “come back in on your next lunch and we will give you either coupons, free food, or both.” If the manager didn’t seem to care, then take it to corporate.
    Now that it is too late to deal with the local branch, and corporate doesn’t seem to care, it is time to vote with your wallet & post a bad review of the place, including why you aren’t going back, on as many places as you can.

    • Kusac says:

      Yeah, I had a problem with KFC as well, and had attempted to contact the number on the receipt. What I had received was a message (firstly) that the number was long distance, and when trying that, received that the number was no longer available. Really messed up there.

      Upon finding the corporate number here in Canada, even within the time frames listed, I could never get more than a message stating that no one was in the office. I ended up using the online form to send a message, and did get a free meal out of it. It’s just the process is completely screwed up.

  11. TheOnlyBob says:

    Most of those food hotlines go to a call center somewhere where the people take calls for a multitude of food providers. So i would never expect anything from them. going back to the place where you got it is always the best bet.

  12. Jane_Gage says:

    I used to find follicle samples in KFC. Boston Market, problem solved.

  13. zyphbear says:

    I had issue with my local KFC one time about 2 years ago: My Partner and I stopped at a KFC before we had planned to see a movie (that we had arranged to see with friends for a specific time in another part of town). We placed an order for 2 combo meals (chicken strips and popcorn chicken meals), was given the cups and went about waiting for our food. Shortly after us, another person placed their order, was given their food about 3-4 min later, while we were still waiting. 5 Minutes after that the manager had to replace another person’s order due to them changing their mind about what they wanted. After 15 min of waiting (from the receipt), the manager noticed we were standing around still waiting with our drinks, re-verified our order. Then walked off. It looked like the cashier was going to get our order, but didn’t. The Manager had to return AGAIN about 5 min later, noticed we STILL didn’t have our order, Quickly got our order within a minute, said “sorry about the wait” and dropped the tray of food on the counter. We were starving, we went to go eat it hoping to put something in our stomach before we had to run for the movie, but both types of chicken were very bland and tasteless and the fries were as well, neither of us finished our fries nor our chicken from the lack of taste (and we are big guys with big appetites). We decided it was not worth staying to complain and being late for the movie, so we just left. (We ended up having to get snacks at the theater to make up for our less than stellar dinner). The next day we decided that I would file a complaint on their site for that store and what happened, I did get a call from the store manager about 3 days later saying they apologize for the issue and had 2 combos on file for anytime we want to use them. We waited a few months, and then realized we would be heading to that part of town, but when we went by, the KFC had been closed down. I don’t know if it was from too many complaints or what exactly.

  14. Fishnoise says:

    That’s odd — a week ago I got a hand addressed postcard from my local Donato’s pizza with an groveling apology for the late delivery (“Please give us another chance”) and discounting my next order.

    I order pizza maybe two or three times a month and have never noticed a late delivery, much less complained about it. Oh well . . .

    • Murph1908 says:

      Mmm. Donato’s is one of the things I miss having moved from the Midwest.

      I, quite by accident, found myself at the exact same Donato’s during 3 subsequent road trips home. “Hey. This exit has a Donato’s. Let’s stop there. Hey, I’ve been here before.”

      • Fishnoise says:

        Donato’s isn’t bad at all — my wife even looked into getting a franchise because she liked it so much, but we would have had to move to another state to do it. Speaking of midwest pizza, I’ve got great memories of Leonardo’s when we lived in Peoria, Illinois.

  15. mulch says:

    One of my friends was poisoned at Bojangles when workers put caustic cleaning solution in the dirty rice. One bite left him with esophageal burns which still prevent him from eating solid food, despite multiple surgeries. If it tastes like chemicals…take it with you to the hospital.

  16. cigsm says:

    Came to say the same thing. Had a problem with them (they were out of Chicken at 6:30pm on a Tuesday) & were out of about 4 other things, not to mention the horrible customer service I received. Followed the same procedures as OP & got no response whatsoever. Since they don’t bother to respond to customer inquiries / complaints, I don’t bother going there anymore.

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

    Original Star Trek set designers labelled some pipes and conduits with GNDN. Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing. This is a GNDN comment box.

  18. JollySith says:

    KFC is really bad about responding.
    But my least favorite response was from Sonic.
    I sent a letter via there website a couple of months ago informing them of problems at a location. I was impressed that the regional manager called my cell phone himself the next business day. However his solution was to send an email to the store in question telling em to put me in their “book” for a free combo meal.
    1. This forces me to go back to the trouble location.
    2. By putting me in the book and making me ask the employees to check the book when I go in (as opposed to emailing me a coupon or voucher) I am basically going up to a bunch of teenage min wage workers and saying. “Hi, I am the guy who complained and got you in trouble. Now please go make me some food and hold the bodily fluids please. “

  19. acw123 says:

    Seriously? It is that important to get a form e-mail saying “we are sorry you are not satisfied”… We should storm our local KFC with torches, burn the stores, and build a massive catapult to launch every KFC employee into the sun for this great injustice. Ahh the mighty participation trophy generation has finally found it’s great cause…one of us has not been duly acknowledged..we must right this wrong before his self esteem is impacted and his inner child must be put on Ritalin….

    • kranky says:

      No, in the big picture it’s not that important. But I do think that when companies solicit feedback but don’t acknowledge it, it’s much worse than if they didn’t ask for it in the first place.

      The KFC contact page says “If you need more info, or just want to give KFC some much appreciated feedback, please give us a shout.” In order to demonstrate that the feedback is much appreciated, there needs to be some type of acknowledgement. To not acknowledge the feedback they claim to appreciate says just shows they don’t really care about the feedback. It would be better if they didn’t ask for feedback.

  20. JayBents says:

    I complained to KFC corp years ago about the local store and they must’ve leaned on the franchise to respond. I got back a letter on notepaper written in pencil that looked like it was written by a grade school kid. The words were three lines high, misspelled, and everything.

    Pulling up to the drive through to get a “What the f**k do you want?” greeting was less than awesome. Also the store manager had a loud cellphone conversation in the lobby with another store manager about how shocked she was that they passed their health inspection. During this conversation, seated right next to two people that just ordered and were waiting for their food she listed things that the inspector didn’t look under and said she’d have failed if they had.

    Somehow people are still confused as to why that location closed down.

    • acw123 says:

      All future apology letters are to be written on that paper with the lines spaced one inch apart with the dotted line down the middle. Also, approved writing implements are crayon or a stamp carved from a potato. The use of finger paints is no longer acceptable. The word “anything” is not to be used, but the word “nothing” must be used in any context where the word “anything” would be used. Also, the word “broken” is not to be used, but the word “broke” must be used in any context where the word “broken” would be used. An example of an acceptable letter: “We didn’t do nothing wrong but is oftly sorry that the milkshake masssheeen was broke; when you was here!”

  21. Jawaka says:

    It sounds like Derek is assuming that just because he didn’t get a response that KFC just ignored his web submission. Who’s to say that corporate didn’t follow up with the store’s GM but just not keep Derek in the loop?

  22. samjung23 says:

    Why didn’t you just go back to that location and complain? Can you say, passive-aggressive? What a shocker that you didn’t get the desired response!

  23. TacoDave says:

    I had a chicken pot pie from a local KFC that had a ton of cartilage in it. Gross. I filled out the complaint form online and got a call from the manager the next day offering me a free meal. This was about 6 weeks ago.

  24. sphantom111 says:

    Years ago I went to our local KFC about 30 minutes before closing. As I placed my order the cashier checked to make sure my items were available. As I’m watching the cashier gather my order another employee (taking drive-thru orders) walks over and starts taking items that they were out of from my order and putting them into a drive-thru customers sack. The poor cashier was uber apologetic. I demanded a refund which meant the assistant manager (and also the person stealing my food!) had to get involved. I ripped her a new one. Her response was to laugh and tell me I needed to get there earlier. I complained to corporate and left a message for the local store manager. Never received a response.

    Two months later a Popeye’s opened up just down the street. I was one of their first customers. Better food, better prices, super service. And to this day the owner greets me with “Hello, my friend” when I walk in the door.

    I will never eat at KFC again.

  25. do-it-myself says:

    Pei Wei and Smashburger have the best preventative mentainence customer service I’ve ever seen! One time Pei Wei had some sort of coupon deal that completely over ran the restaurant. The OWNER stood at the door giving out free coupons for an appetizer to be used in conjunction (or not) with the current deal…which was extended for all.

    I ordered a Miami Smashburger specifically for the potato sticks on top (Fritas) and upon delivery they were missing. I would not have ordered it otherwise. Soon after, I noticed that I was also missing the sauteed onions I requested….strike TWO. Fortunately, I was soon brought a fresh batch of sauteed onions (probably more than what I would have gotten had it been on the burger) AND a voucher for a free burger.

    Customer service ain’t THAT hard.

  26. Melancholy43920 says:

    I’m kind of lost on these 2 parts of the story:
    “About 3-4 weeks ago I took a lunch break at my job to go visit a KFC…”
    “This was two months have gone by”
    Did he somehow go back in time to complain about his poor service 4-5 weeks before it happened?

  27. samjung23 says:

    I’m beginning to think this man got oven cleaner in his pot pie. That’s the only rational explanation for what happened. I’m not sure about how toxic oven cleaner is, but given that it’s for food service machines, it’s probably not lethal. He should have just gone back and gotten a new pot pie, or called the number. This is one of the lamer articles the Consumerist has posted. He’s obviously fishing for freebies…give me a break.

  28. glater says:

    there are two KFCs in my town. The southern one I once went in and the place was a wreck, like a storm of chicken and corn had flown through the dining area and upended the trash cans, while the employees loafed around. I didn’t notice until after I got my food as the dining area was around the corner from the order counter. I shrugged, whatever, it’s a crappy job and they’re lazy. Then I went to wash my hands and opened the door right next to the counter going to the bathroom. It smelled foul as I entered the doorway, and when I opened the door the scent of fresh feces hit my nostrils; rather like someone had unloaded in the overflowing trash can right inside the door, and the floor was strewn with… used paper products. I backpedaled and got the hell out, and wrote to corporate about it. I never heard back, and I never went back.

    Fast forward two years and I’ve gone to the other store in town for a takeout order for a picnic. The employees were… one young lady who has been there a couple years, and one stoned trainee who didn’t know a biscuit from a hole in the ground and had to be told what to do from “the chicken goes in the bucket” to “put the bucket in the bag”. The food ended up producing stomachaches, and several pieces were apparently… defective, being watery and mealy on the inside, they’d watered down the gravy, and so on, really a hideous display. The AC was also broken in the store, and it was generally dirty and grubby inside.

    So, I emailed corporate again. This time, I got an email and phone calls from two managers – the first one from the (apparently new) manager of the shunned south store, to whom the district manager had erroneously forwarded my message; he re-forwarded the message appropriately and I received a call from THAT manager who offered me a free family meal, which I declined. I’d specifically said that I don’t want a free anything, just to fix their food and get someone over 17 on staff.

    Blegh. So, I don’t eat at KFC any more. Which is sad, because their mashed potatos and gravy have always been great when my stomach is sore. But they did at least respond to my complaints. But I haven’t been back to see if they’ve cleaned up or not, and I don’t plan on it for a good while.

  29. nodaybuttoday says:

    I had an issue with a very rude drive thru server who forgot part of order. I contacted KFC via their website. I received a phone call about 3 days later from the manager who offered me free food. Since I plan to never go back there I declined, but at least they responded to me. Must be the luck of the draw.