Always check your order before you leave Popeyes

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By Christopher Elliott

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.

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? (Here’s what you need to know about travel food.)

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Preventing takeout mishaps

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. (Exploring solutions for dealing with mandatory restaurant tips and service fees.)

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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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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