Always check your order before you leave Popeyes

Nitr/Shutterstock
Nitr/Shutterstock
After a 45-minute wait, Mark Dixon gets the wrong order at a Popeyes restaurant in Buffalo. Just one problem: He doesn’t discover the mistake until he’s home.

Question: I’m writing to you about a wrong order and poor service I recently got from a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in Buffalo. I can’t get anyone at the location to respond, and am hoping you can help.

I recently visited a Popeyes and ordered a 12-tender box and paid $24. It took 45 minutes. We took the order home, only to discover they gave us the wrong order. I tried calling the store, only to have the phone ring and ring with no one answering.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines. The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

I tried again the next day. No one answers the phone. When I called Popeyes customer service line they didn’t know the location even existed.

All I’m asking is for a coupon for a 12-tender box or my money back. The gentleman I spoke with at the customer service number said he will forward my complaint to the store but it’s up to them to fix it. That doesn’t sound right. Please help me get this resolved.

Mark Dixon, Buffalo, NY

Answer: Popeyes promises you a “taste sensation” experience with its “bonafide” chicken, but it appears to have delivered neither when you visited its Buffalo restaurant. There were no tasty tenders in the box for which you patiently waited 45 minutes. (Wait, did you say 45 minutes? Isn’t Popeyes fast food?)

Some of you reading this are probably thinking, “What do you know about Popeyes? Don’t you buy your meals at Whole Foods?” Well, yeah, I’ve been spotted at that overpriced grocery store a time or two, but I do have a thing for fried chicken — and I have eaten at Popeyes. On numerous occasions.

I liked it. So there.

I don’t find it strange at all that someone at headquarters doesn’t know about the Buffalo location you visited. Franchisees come and go. I don’t find it unusual that no one answered the phone at that location. I mean, it’s a fast-food joint. What are they going to talk to you about?

I do, however, think it’s unfortunate that you didn’t check your order before leaving the restaurant. I mean, that’s the first rule of takeout: Always verify your order before you leave.

Food is the ultimate perishable commodity, so if you find a problem with an order when you’re miles down the road, your options for fixing it are limited. You can make a U-turn and return the meal or you can complain. Often, neither is a realistic option.

I think before contacting the corporate office, you might have given the franchisee a chance to make this right, but again, you would have needed to do that in person. And unless you kept the incorrect order, uneaten, and brought it back the next day (ewww) you might not have had much of a leg to stand on.

So, not to belabor the point, but check your order before leaving.

I furnished you with some executive contacts at Popeyes. You contacted the company and a representative apologized in writing and sent you a $25 gift card.

Did Popeyes offer Mark Dixon enough compensation?

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88 thoughts on “Always check your order before you leave Popeyes

    1. It’s $16 near me, but they don’t have a 12 tender box, they have a 3 tender box for $4. Maybe the OP got the 12 peace meal deal, which is 2 tenders, 2 sides, and 8 biscuits. They count the biscuits and sides as pieces, but the menu says “12 Piece Tender meal”.

      1. When I was a kid, I remember KFC being pretty good. But they’ve taken a nose dive over the past few years. The chicken has suffered along with everything else. They no longer even serve real honey, it’s some sort of artificially flavored honey spread. They’re going to cost cut themselves right out of business.

        1. You never heard about Harlan Sanders after he’s already sold the business? He was still on the payroll doing promotional visits. And the most hilarious thing was that he’d be complaining about the decline of the product. The thing he hated the most was the gravy that went on the mashed potatoes.

          1. I read somewhere that Col. Sanders tried some chicken at a Kentucky Fried Chicken a few years before he passed. He said it was like eating breaded cardboard.

          2. There were lots of stories. For one – he wasn’t really a southern gentleman. That was his own PR stunt since he was from Indiana.

            He was also apparently capable of extreme anger, including feuds with business rivals.

            The one thing he wasn’t was racist. There were a lot of totally untrue rumors that he was. My favorite story was about the Heublin (owner of KFC at the time) exec (a guy named Ray Callender) who used to accompany Sanders on these promotional visits. He was black and they got along fabulously. However, they’d typically rent a limo for these events. Sanders didn’t like riding in the back and would sit in the front next to the driver to talk. Callender would sit in the back like a bigwig. Sanders would open the door for Callender and even carry his bags like he was a servant. And when people asked him who this guy was, he’d say:

            “That’s my son, but we don’t talk about that.”

          3. Thank you! No one ever believes me when I tell them he was from Indiana. When I lived there for a while, I had a neighbor who worked for the chamber of commerce, and had Col. Sanders old office from when he worked for the chamber.

      2. Depends on the location.

        I remember being in Salt Lake City on a Sunday and not finding a place open. So we kept on driving. Found a sign for a Wendy’s (one of those freeway signs with only logos) that said “open Sunday”. Turns out it wasn’t. So we kept on driving until we found a KFC open on Sunday. Woman at the counter was on the phone and took about 5 minutes to take our order. There didn’t seem to be a manager. I guess this is who is available to work on a Sunday in Utah.

    1. It depends on the location. I have had really bad and really good chicken. I think it is just timing on when you arrive and when the chicken was cooked and who cooked it. But I don’t care for most of the side dishes they serve – too salty/greasy/over cooked.

      The Popeye’s near me when I lived in Houston had the best chicken ever, but only when two specific cooks were doing the cooking. They were ignoring the corporate commandment on what temperature to cook the chicken and were running the fryers hot (meant they had to replace the oil more often than specified). They got fired, the chicken got greasy/slimy and I have never gone there again.

  1. If I was determined enough to wait 45 minutes for fast food I would have checked the order before leaving. Or I would have promptly taken it back. A couple choices that the OP did not think were the right ones for him.

      1. I’ll pretend you didn’t write that with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.

        I thought my comment was the most polite thing I could post. In high school, I worked for 2 years at a fast food place that also sold fried chicken. (Off-topic: Haven’t eaten fried chicken for nearly 40 years now.) As an adult, I’ve had several fast food orders not turn out the way I’d like them to have. From both vantage points, I truly cannot imagine why a grown man would write to a consumer advocate about a messed-up fast food order. And I truly cannot imagine why said grown man would think he was entitled to more compensation than the amount of his order.

  2. OK so what did the OP receive in the order? Was it something worth the same amount? Was it acceptable and edible?

    I have taken food back when it was wrong. But then I don’t go miles out of the way to get it to start. And as far as getting good service at any fast food place, as long as I get what I ordered and don’t get overcharged I feel service was good enough. But I would never wait 45 minutes at any fast food place for my food. Unfortunately that is something I am finding at many chicken places – they don’t have any chicken cooked! Even when you arrive at what should be prime dining hours. I just go somewhere else when that happens.

    1. One time I went to my local KFC in the drive-thru and placed my order. By the time I got to the window to pay, the order from the car in front of me had taken up all the cooked chicken. It was around the dinner time too, so it surprised me that they would be so unprepared.

  3. Just the story that I needed for this snowy, sleet filled day in Philly. My first thought when I saw the lead was, this is trivial. My comforting thought was, why not. Trivial stuff piles up and messes up the whole week. I really like the happy ending of 25.00 coupon issued. I prefer to cook my own chicken but I’m happy that someone else is happy today.

    1. It is nice to read about a complaint that is not life-threatening and just kind of fun.
      It was just the story I needed to brighten my day.
      Will this winter ever end?

  4. If it’s any consolation, the slow service, incorrect order fulfillment and indifferent/sullen attitude when the mistake is discovered (I always check the order, never buy via drive-through because of the frequency with which mistakes are made) at Popeye’s isn’t limited to just this one store. A new opening a few months ago close by was welcomed because a competing hot chicken franchise had closed. My experience with the store on three occasions was unhappy with slow service and order errors on all three. Haven’t been back, won’t ever go back not only to this particular Popeye’s, but any Popeye’s anywhere.

  5. Is there an option for too much compensation? Wow, first world problems. I personally have made this mistake the OP made on numerous occasions, sometimes I forget to check my order, and it ends up being wrong. My bad. Going through a consumer advocate for such an issue seems embarrassing. And yes, I have seen fast food restaurants have a 45 minuet wait, the fried chicken joint near me had a two hour wait during the Broncos Patriots game. I didn’t get my chicken until half time. And its hard to fault this place, I worked in Fast Food in college, and with 3 people running the whole place, and hundreds of orders coming in, mistakes can easily happen to the best of us. Check your chicken, or forever hold your piece.

  6. It is fast food, They hire minimum wage workers. They quit on a dime and most could care less about a phone. Now the Franchise owner cares. That is the person to talk to. BTW, the closest Popeyes is 100 miles from me and I never miss the chance to eat there; it’s great.

    1. And these minimum wage workers think they should be paid even more to screw up your order after waiting 45 minutes for fast food. Really? Someone actually waited that long for their order instead if demanding a refund an leaving? Musta really been jonesing for that chicken. Popeye’s is the shiznit!

  7. Always check your order before leaving (food, medicine/drugs, etc…) ! It’s more simple for all. I hate tofu and carrot and don’t want a vegetable meal later at home.
    “My prescription is VIAGRA. I don’t want to find out it’s LAXATIVE later when open the bag”…just kidding.

  8. I went to a Dairy Queen last summer when I was on a 200 mile drive, it was 100 miles from my home, and 100 miles from my destination. Two people were working. I ordered an oreo blizzard, and waited 30 minutes. I asked several times, and was told that the drive through had priority, so those orders got filled first when they were short staffed. Also, it was a small town, and friends kept coming in and chatting with the two employees, and the friends orders always got filled first. Finally, they gave me a small cup of ice cream with oreos on top. I told them this wasn’t what I ordered. They told me it would be another half hour to fix it, I asked for a refund, and was told they can’t since no manager is on duty. I finally gave up and left. My Blizzard was $3.49 and the small cup was $1.49. I was annoyed. But I never thought to call Chris 🙂 Maybe I should have. I still need to give them a bad review on Yelp, but I keep forgetting. I did fill out the survey on the receipt, and even checked the box to be contacted, I never was.

    1. Was there a grocery store nearby? Get a bag of oreos and some vanilla ice cream…… 🙂

      I also would have considered walking up to the drivethru!

      1. i tried walking up to a BK drive thru years ago, (try getting their attention since you don’t weigh as much as a car to trip the drive thru thingy!) and they told me that they weren’t sure they could serve me as i had walked, not driven!
        they did, but it was kind of funny!

          1. lol, omg. sometimes i have to wonder about that when go thru a drive thru and my total is 4.76 – and i hand the clerk a 5 plus 01¢ and she/he looks at me like “ummmm, ummmm, now what am i supposed to do??

    1. OK, Chris a guy from Fl. should know it snows up north, glad it is you in the snow and not me.
      My DH was severely sickened after eating at a national Chicken chain. I called the hot line and no one ever called back. He was in bed a day.
      Same DH was in another national chain w a friend having a hamburger and the friend took a bite of the hamburger, then saw legs hanging out of the rest of the hamburger. WOW. They took it to the counter and the burger was replaced 🙂 It was reported to the national office but to no avail. So why do you all eat at these junk places. Lord knows what they are doing with the food before you get it. Doesn’t anyone eat homemade meals anymore. if we are on the road, we have a homemade packed lunch with us. Much better for you too.

        1. Oh, forgot to include it…It was a Spider, cooked Spider, found when they opened up the burger. The famous fast food restaurant did not even offer him a dessert.
          Should have said they found the rest of the Spider when the opened the burger.

    2. While I personally wouldn’t wait more than 5 or 10 minutes, I can see why the OP just kept waiting; after all, it’s not like a restaurant where you eat first then pay. In a fast food establishment, they already have your money. So, even if it’s been a while, you think “well it can’t be much longer NOW” or “I’ve waited THIS long, might as well wait a little longer” etc..But, after waiting THAT long, I’d have damn well been sure the order was correct BEFORE leaving that store. THAT is what I don’t understand.

    3. Happens all the time, near by park had a soccer game that just got out, there is a football/baseball/hockey/basketball game about top start on TV. Fast food is only as fast if its not over crowded.

      1. I know I am in for a long wait if the place is packed and I can deal with that.

        But going to a chicken place at 6 pm and being told it will be a 45 minute wait for chicken and you are the only customer is unacceptable. Happened to me a few times recently at my closest chicken shacks, so I started going elsewhere when I really want chicken. Probable why I was the only customer!

  9. I was at the Cake Boss store on 42nd street back in July. They screwed up my order (two napoleons instead of two mini-cannolis). By the time we found out we were in Jersey. Two days later I went back, showed them the receipt told respectfully told them my story. I didn’t know what to expect, we ate the napoleons, and enjoyed them, but I thought they should know. They gave us two mini-cannolis for free.

    I think as long as you are respectful, and understanding of the situation (it is pretty sketchy) you’ll be taken care of.

  10. Why is everyone so surprised he waited 45 minutes for his food? Popeye’s and every other fast food place has you pay for your food when you order, not when you get it. He waited 45 minutes for his food because he’d already paid for it!

    Would you just drive down the street and throw $24 out the car window? No? Then why would you walk away from $24 at a fast food restaurant? At best, he should have cancelled his order, gotten his money back and left, but being a lover of Popeye’s Chicken, I get his waiting.

    1. I made a restaurant do that a couple years ago. The owner was riding the staff about getting orders right and when she took my order forgot to give it to the kitchen after I paid. I noticed people coming in after me getting their food. I asked about my order and she never apologized…just said it was a mistake. I asked for my money back and she kept saying it would be just a few minutes for the food, but I insisted on a refund. The staff gave me a satisfied look and smile because someone finally put her in her place.

  11. I went to White Castle last week and was shorted two orders of fries…ordered three, got one. Chris, you will be receiving an email from me.

        1. Do you feel your arteries hardening just thinking about it? I’m so in the mood for that though I know it will taste greasy and gross but the memories of those smells..mmm……….

          1. I can’t tell you the last time I went, but I am sure craving to too! I feel like it was when I was a teenager. And we don’t have them in Colorado and I never have time to go when I go back to NY visit family.

    1. I’m dying to know too! I bet he ordered the 12 piece chicken tender meal that I describes above and actually did get what he ordered. I also think I might go to Popeye’s for lunch tomorrow (I brought my lunch today). This story has me craving their chicken.

      1. Referring to your description, all the chicken places in my area call a 12 piece dinner a 12 piece only if it has that many pieces of chicken in it. I would feel it is false advertising if I ordered a 12 piece dinner and only 2 pieces were chicken!

  12. Expect bad service from fast food and you’ll never be disappointed.

    KFC, Popeyes, Bojangles.. They amaze me to no end the bad service you get from them. I’ve gone into a Wendy’s before, and been told it’ll be 5 minutes while they cook my chicken sandwich.. I’m OK with that. It’s NOT ok when you go into a freaking chicken place and are told it’ll be 30 minutes to cook chicken. And it seems that they always tell you this right after they take your money, so if you want to leave, it’ll be 20 minutes while they get a manager who can do a refund.

    Or.. You order an 8 piece box of chicken and find that they’ve substituted thighs for breasts. Or, if you have kids.. Thighs for drumsticks.

  13. Fast food places make a huge number of errors. I don’t think the telephone is really the best way to solve it. Unfortunately, if it is bad, you have to take the “hit” of driving back to the place to get it fixed. I’ve never had a place refuse to fix it, but I’ve always been polite about it. And furthermore, you never recover the time and effort to return something.

  14. Okay, I’m still thinking the comments are better than the actual complaint. Still snorting at the snarkiest comment so far, which was posted on Facebook: My airline took me to the wrong destination and I didn’t know until I’d gotten into a rental car, driven away and checked into a hotel. Now the airport doesn’t answer the phone and when I called the airline, they said that they don’t fly to that location. All I want is a ticket to my original destination or my airfare back. Can you help?

  15. This weak chicken story has convinced me to write Chris and complain about the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. I was for the Broncos. I’d like reasonable compensation. Should I write?
    Yes
    No

  16. My thoughts
    1. Is it April Fools already?
    2. If this is indicative of what Chris and his team have to wade through to get to real issues I am horrified and saddened.

  17. And pleasepleasepleaseplease tell me someone else knows about Rhett and Link’s videos of their drivethru orders. I know of three, so funny.

  18. I voted “no” because of his LONG wait, disappointment and frustration at not being able to get anyone to pick up the phone or help. He should have been sent 2 $25.00 gift cards. That would have been a real apology instead of a “break even”.

  19. I don’t know who is more pathetic – me for enjoying the comments on this story (and the movie clip) or the guy who really thought it necessary to write Chris about this situation. Guess the lack of sunshine and abundance of snow has turned my brain to mush!

    1. It’s about 70 degrees F with a few scattered clouds where I am right now. My wife is talking about heading up to Tahoe this long weekend so our kid can play in the snow. Even there it’s unseasonably warm. The ski resorts are hating the lack of snow and the poor conditions they’re getting as a result of the temps.

  20. This made me remember that some years ago my husband drove through a local Taco Bell on a freezing cold & snowy winter day to get lunch for the kids and us as a “treat.” (don’t judge, we were young and poor) When he got home we discovered several items missing from the order. I called and a woman answered, I explained what had happened, she said they were too busy to talk to me, I replied I thought our business should be important, too. She said “oh shut up” and hung up on me.
    My husband got a refund for the missing items on his way back to work. I called later and asked to talk to the manager. You guessed it – that’s who hung up on me!
    I have not eaten at Taco Bell since. [I should probably write them a thank you note!]

  21. My favorite Popeye’s is in Concourse C (I think) at ATL. Of course, it probably just seems better because I don’t eat breakfast when I have to fly, so I’m starving by the time I get to a layover in ATL.

  22. I don’t mind Popeye’s, but if I want fast food chicken, my preference is for the regional chain El Pollo Loco. I heard they barely branched outside of California and the Southwest and ended up closing locations near Chicago and Connecticut.

  23. Just to add, the Buffalo, NY location opened recently (if I recall, in December or January). It always has at least 20+ cars in the drive thru line and is always incredibly busy inside as well. Just another good reason to double check your order.

  24. That’s hilarious! Popeyes should have paid you to eat that scary food. $24 would have bought two organic free range chickens, you could have fried them at home and had enough for a eight people. Do you really believe fast food restaurants care about anything besides their bottom line? How much do you think those Popeyes employees were paid to cook and sling that slop?

  25. And if you order “mild” not “extra spicy”, you can tell it by checking at the drive thru window? nope – not until you get home and bite into that “burn your tongue/mouth stuff.
    I can’t count the number of mis-made orders I’ve gotten from fast food places – most of mine have been under $10 – but I’ve always called, and asked to speak to a manager. I write down the manager’s name on my receipt along with the promise that my next meal will be free. (always honored.)
    But for the restaurant to not even answer the phone? geez

  26. When I was a trucker, this would happen more often than not. If I bought something at a fast food place, it was because I was in a hurry. I learned the hard way to not be in such a hurry that I didn’t check my order while at the register….

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