Do you ever regret eating fast food?

With Burger King in a rollercoaster of emotions

Admittedly, we like to eat fast food. Here in Bonn, McDonalds and Burger King do the honors, unfortunately KFC is missing. Burger King has a long history in Bonn on Bornheimer Strasse. Sometimes they were there, then gone, then there was a KFC there, then again Burger King. And the management has also changed there several times. We (Nancy & I) drive by there every now and then and have bad experiences with the service every now and then. In our view, the main problem seems to be that employees seldom listen well. Every now and then you don't get what you ordered. If you point this out to the employees, they are usually completely confused and do not even know how to react.

Or the change is wrong. Or the employees are simply unfriendly. We noticed it especially with the drive through. And nobody can take the burger apart in the car to see whether the specially ordered slice of cheese is really on it. When you only notice at home that it is missing again, it's annoying. You have paid for it.

Since this has often struck us as uncomfortable over the years, we clicked the complaint link on the Burger King contact page and announced what we found stupid. At the end of the form you can tick that you want an answer. I did.

Lo and behold: you also get an answer. Herbert Gless, the responsible manager, wrote to me by email:

[…] Thank you very much for your email, which we received with regret. We are sorry that you were not satisfied with the service in our restaurant in Bonn. At BURGER KING® in particular, we want to offer our guests the best service and first-class product quality at all times and in all places. We would like to apologize for the fact that this was not the case with you.
We would also like to invite you to a meal in our restaurant in order to resolve the complaint directly with you in a personal conversation. Please contact me via email (xxx) so that we can make an appointment.

We remain waiting for your feedback

With best regards

Herbert Gless, CBM Area Cologne-Bonn

Thunderstorm, we thought. Sometimes someone listens to their customers and even wants to talk to them! We didn't expect that. Great! We then emailed a little to make an appointment and today, on Saturday at 6:00 p.m., it should be ready.

Well "Should" …

But unfortunately Burger King went wrong again. We were in the restaurant at 6:00 p.m. sharp. We didn't see a manager waiting for us. After standing around a little silly, I called Mr. Gless, he had his cell phone number in the footer of his emails. He also answered the phone. Unfortunately, it turned out that he “couldn't arrange it” to be there and that the restaurant manager, a Mr. Yusuf, knew about everything and would speak to us. Speak to you soon.


Pretty unprofessional! And: I can kid myself. If Mr. Gless could not actually set it up (could be), he - JUST as someone whose JOB is public relations - could have written that to me beforehand. He sure didn’t know that since this afternoon. As surprised at how he reacted on the phone (I had to explain who I am and where I am first), he had never intended to be there. THAT was never mentioned in his emails. And Mr. Yusuf - as nice as he was - may have been generally privy to the case. But if he had expected us, WE shouldn't have found him in the restaurant. If he'd had the appointment on his screen, he would have approached us. At least that's how we would have expected it.

Speaking of expectations. Mine was obviously way too high again. I had already envisioned talking to Mr. Gless about the changed customer behavior nowadays under the influence of the Internet and Web 2.0. I wanted to ask about Burger King's social media strategy. Whether he knows Gripe and Qype in addition to Facebook and Twitter and whether they track it. And much more. That could have been interesting. Instead, we were standing next to the order counter and spoke to Mr. Yusuf, who was actually "on duty" (serving a customer before us), so definitely not prepared.

What a shame, a great shame. The approach was great, but then unfortunately the topic was missed. Mr. Yusuf is not to blame. As we learned, he has only been the restaurant manager for about three months. And he definitely sees problems and wants to tackle them. Commendable resolutions. Let's see what happens.

Unfortunately, the impression we had of Burger King so far remained. The chance to correct him was wasted.

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Stefan studied math and computer science and works for a large telecommunications company in Bonn. He co-founded the Bonn Open Knowledge Lab and the first MakerSpace in Bonn. Stefan loves his wife Nancy, synthesizers, animals, music, plays various instruments, does the "iOS productive" podcast, takes photos and likes to do handicrafts.