No one expects four-star service at a fast-food joint, but at the same time you expect service to be, well, fast. And somewhat competent. McDonald’s currently faces falling sales, and 20% of the complaints they receive are about customer service. Customers complain about “chaotic” service and “unprofessional” employees. Logical conclusion: time to work on their customer service. The chain is overhauling their ordering system in an attempt to make fewer mistakes and speed things along. Will it work? Maybe. [More]
Reader M. is currently (under-) employed at a Subway franchise. M. has a college degree, and is bright enough to be able to see the economic indicators that show they’ll still be working at Subway for a while yet. Fortunately, we like to give employees a soapbox to educate the public about the things we might not understand about their jobs. That way, Consumerist readers are less likely to act like entitled jerks, treat front-line employees better, and the world is a happier place. In theory. [More]
Fast-food restaurant promotions exist to get customers in the door and to keep them coming back. When Steve and his wife showed up at their regular Burger King for a tasty dinner of Whoppers, they brought along a coupon they had printed from Burger King’s website. It turned out that their local franchise couldn’t accept that coupon. Okay. They could deal with that. It was when the cashier talked up a different promotion, then explained that the restaurant was actually out of game pieces for that promotion, that Steve became annoyed enough to write to Burger King corporate. [More]
“Torpedoing.” “Toasted.” The food that Quiznos is having trouble selling is full of metaphors for how its business is going. Crunched by the recession, its own policies towards franchise owners, competitors adding toasters, and an “everyday value” strategy that ran counter to its position as a purveyor of premium sandwiches, Quiznos is on the edge of violating its loan terms and could go into default. [More]
Al Yeganeh, the man who inspired Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi character, closed up shop six years ago, but this week he re-opened his business at the same location on 55th Street in NYC under the name “The Original Soup Man.” The company is now a franchise with locations in nine states and Washington, D.C., and unfortunately (for us, but probably not for him) Yeganeh doesn’t actually do any counterwork–he’s just the brand at this point. [More]
Like Quizno’s and KFC before them, Papa John’s went and set up a cute promotion without making sure that all of their franchisees have signed on. Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was reunited with his long-lost 1971 Camaro, and to celebrate, promised free pizza to anyone who drove up to a Papa John’s restaurant in a Camaro. Except, you guessed it, not at all Papa John’s locations.
Mandatory binding arbitration, which corporations use to dodge accountability for their discrimination, negligence, or harassment, is a caricature of justice that offers no protection to consumers or employees. It’s also terrible for small business owners, as one couple found out.
Readers who had problems with the Quiznos million free sub campaign and wrote in to the email address the sandwichery supplied to Consumerist report they’re receiving $5 gift card in the mail along with a letter of apology from the marketing director. One reader reports that on the back of the card it says that a $1 service charge gets applied to it each month you don’t use it. To see what some franchisees are saying are the *real* reasons for the problems, check out the comments section on this post at UnhappyFranchisee. Quiznos’ letter is posted inside.
According to tipster Rich Piotrowski, a former Quiznos franchise owner who won a counter-suit against the company, the big reason why some Quiznos were being jerks about taking the free sandwich coupon is that at first corporate was making the franchises pay for all the sandwiches. (Quiznos mandates franchises buy all their ingredients from HQ, often at above-market rates…). Then it looks like they decided to reimburse up to 400 coupons, then bumped that up to 700 to meet the demand, and now they’re going to reimburse all coupons. Don’t give away free stuff in these times unless you’re ready for an onslaught of interest, at the outset. Corporate seems to have realized this and contacted us to say that if you have any problems redeeming coupons you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tipster’s comment, and an internal Quiznos memo, inside…
After an eight-month investigation, the Humane Society of the United States accused Petland, the national pet store chain, of selling dogs bred under appalling conditions at puppy mills around the country.
Papa John’s wouldn’t let reader Adi redeem her coupon for a $9.99 extra-large pizza online, so she trekked over to the nearest store in Weymouth, Massachusetts, where she met the franchise owner from hell. The owner insisted that the coupon didn’t apply to online orders, so Adi asked to cancel her online order and re-order her pizza in person to get the discount. This prompted the owner to angrily throw the coupon at Adi, before throwing away her ready-made pizza. And was just the start of the fun…
New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson has proposed tying a Cable Consumer Bill of Rights into the 10-year franchise renewals Time Warner and Cablevision are expected to sign later this year. The proposal would force cable operators to disclose information about their expenses and service goals—which sounds nice and important on paper—but wastes an unrivaled opportunity to end the cable operators’ most hated practices.
A coffee shop in Montreal has removed a “dud” security camera from its bathroom after news of it hit the local papers. Corporate headquarters asked the franchise owner to take it down, and apologized/avoided blame in a press release that said they were “not consulted in advance.” The franchise owner had installed it as a sort of junkie scarecrow, to frighten away heroin users who were leaving dirty needles in the bathroom stall.