First, we should unequivocally state that the incident discussed here did not occur at a Waffle House. That little bit of information alone should be enough to make the risk management team at that august 24-hour a day institution jump for joy. They should all take an extra thousand out of petty cash and enjoy the rest of the day off. This time it is KFC’s problem.
A KFC employee in Florida (of course, it still had to be Florida) was arrested for battery after she hit a drive-thru customer in the face with a bag containing two boxes of chicken. The customer started recording the employee as she prepared his order after noticing they “weren’t being sanitary.” He told News 4 Jax, “She turned around and starting putting [food in the boxes] with no gloves on, no hair net after handling money.”
The employee did not take too kindly to being recorded, and confronted the customer over it. Words were exchanged, and the employee ended up swinging the bag into the car, striking the man in the face. According to the customer, “She didn’t throw it, she actually swung it and hit me in the face with it basically. It wasn’t a throw, it was a backhand pow. It hit me in the mouth and damaged my tooth and my glasses fell off. My tooth was bleeding.”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office eventually responded to the restaurant, and the employee was arrested.
You can watch the entire scene unfold in the video below. Then of course, you will get my own, inimitable commentary.
My first observation is that the customer shot the entire episode in a horizontal position while apparently leaving his phone locked in portrait mode. Perhaps he should have been severely beaten with a bigger bag of chicken just for making us crane our necks and place our heads on our shoulders for the entire 2 minute and 31 second ordeal. Secondly, and in no way presenting this as a defense for surly or abusive service, I note that she does appear to be using tongs when handling the food; somewhat negating the charge that she was being completely unsanitary. She should have a hat or some other hair restraint on, to be certain.
Still, whacking a customer upside the head with a bag of fried chicken generally goes against most social protocols. She should not have done that. There was no word as to whether the chicken was Original Recipe or Extra Crispy. Original Recipe is generally known for leaving softer, broader contusions while Extra Crispy can leave deeper bruises and localized swelling. It does that, you know, because it’s, well, Extra Crispy.
Since it apparently made his “tooth bleed,” we will surmise this was of the Extra Crispy variety. I’ve personally never seen a tooth bleed, so that had to be something. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of someone being battered with battered chicken.
I’m just glad this didn’t happen at Dickie’s Bar-B-Que. That would have been a real story. No one wants to be hit in the face with a giant bag of Dickie’s. Trust me on that one.
The lesson for risk managers everywhere is that employees must be better trained in conflict management, or minimally not to hit customers in the face with your product – at least while on camera. Of course, I suspect they haven’t heard the last of this one.
After the incident, the customer went inside the restaurant and told the manager what happened. He was given a refund for his food, and the employee has been fired. He also presented the video to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, who, as noted previously, arrested the employee. Personally, I wouldn’t have involved the police, but I suspect it would be helpful for the obligatory lawsuit that is no doubt headed their way. You can kind of hear that in the customers voice, as he exits the car at the very end of the video. He excitedly says, “got the whole thing on tape.”
Remember, your company is only as good as its worst or most poorly trained employee. And in the age of video, that is an ever-increasing challenge, as the risks go far beyond flinging Extra Crispy chicken through a window.