They say in life you only get one golden opportunity to give someone a great first impression about yourself, your education, house, business, etc. Well I experienced the worst first impression one Saturday when I left my coastal village area to venture out to Rose Hall town to experience the ‘New Mall‘ – really it’s a shopping plaza – with a friend since it was her birthday, it was the weekend and there is nothing to do in Berbice on Saturdays. After exploring the clothing boutiques we decided to go to Church’s Chicken which is located downstairs and upstairs in the mall, and I must commend the mall proprietor here for setting up a comfortable seating arrangement area which is also attractive for Church’s customers.
The issue at hand started here when I entered the franchise front door and went straight to the cashier, since no one was in line; everyone had finished purchasing and was waiting on their meals. I ordered from the cashier a fish sandwich combo, paid, and waited patiently in line. They said they didn’t have any sandwiches prepared so I had to wait on them to prepare one for me. After me there was another man who ordered a sandwich as well. They had me waiting for a while in line. I didn’t like the situation standing up in line, in a very small choked environment where you could hardly breathe, because there were a lot of other customers surrounding me and also an irritating noise came from the oven, I think. The staff told me then that I had to wait on fries as well. I continued waiting being pleasant since it was my friend’s birthday and I didn’t want to cause a scene.
An idea as usual quickly came into my head to count the staff working there. There were twelve females not volunteering to help one another to get the job done in a timely manner. They finally finished serving me about twenty minutes later, and since my friend and I were hungry we both headed upstairs ready to have a good lunch together. I must mention here that when I unwrapped my sandwich I found it to be a chicken sandwich instead of a fish one, and it was cold instead of being hot right out of the oven. Whilst eating some more of it I realized that the sandwich also tasted ‘spoiled.’
I am a journalist, university graduate, overseas-based Guyanese, a role model in my society and a woman who pioneers in 63 beach developments, and local and countrywide development. My mother being a chef by profession who knows a lot about food, told me that the sandwich was perhaps a leftover one and they did not reheat it because it would have spoilt with all the other ingredients and toppings on it. I did not eat much since I was scared of getting food poisoning, and ate my fries instead.
Church’s Chicken employees ought to improve their customer skills as the one in New Amsterdam gave me burnt chicken once and told me while handing it over to me, “Enjoy the brown chicken,” with a smile. The only Church’s branches I see operating briskly and with no complaints are the Corriverton and Georgetown ones.
I must conclude that I will never go back to that franchise again; that was my first and last visit and I do not want a refund or a free meal but an apology.
Ebony Narpatty (Brijbassi)
We sent a copy of this letter to Ms Simone December, Director of Administration at Church’s Chicken for any comment she might have wished to make, and received the following response from her on behalf of Camex Restaurants Inc:
“We are grateful that you sent us a copy of this letter and gave us an opportunity to respond.
“We also wish to use this opportunity to remind and encourage all of our customers that we welcome their feedback and would like them to feel free to make our administration their first point of appeal in any instance of dissatisfaction as this would allow us the opportunity to address their concerns with urgency. Additionally, with franchises like ours, the Franchisor would be another level of appeal that may be pursued.
“On behalf of the management and staff of Camex Restaurants Inc we express sincerest regret at the dining experience Ms Narpatty has reported. This has been discussed with the management of both branches and we are taking every action to address the breaches of our service standard.
“Ms Ebony Narpatty raised several issues in her letter which we are pleased to address. First, at Church’s we serve over one million meals per year and whilst we strive for excellence every time, infrequently inconsistencies may occur and we take these very seriously. It is important that we assert that our franchise does not serve left-over or reheated meals. On the issue of size and space, while this is the area we were allocated in the Mall’s plan, we are in the process of negotiating additional space for our customers’ convenience.
“Camex Restaurants Inc is the only company in the local fast food industry that has ventured, in any significant way, outside of Georgetown. Very often, we are faced with several critical business challenges in our efforts to deliver our products to communities across Guyana. Significant among our challenges is the availability of human resources, where we have been unable to obtain either the quality or the quantity of employees we desire. We nonetheless remain focused on our objective of customer satisfaction. The feedback received from a majority of our customers, assures that we do rank very high in this area and compare favourably with the global experience.
“In our field of business, the greatest advertising we have is word of mouth from a satisfied customer. It is our goal to retain Ms Narpatty as a satisfied customer. We would like to offer her a refund for the meal she purchased and extend an open invitation to her and a guest of her choice to dine, free of cost, at any of our locations.”