I have been a loyal customer of hardees in myrtle beach and columbia sc, charlotte, nc, and chattanooga, tn, eating there nearly every morning for 25 years. Until several years ago, when I had occasion to travel into alabama and had the misfortune to stop, as usual, at hardees.
I pulled up to the drive-through at hardees in bridgeport, al and ordered a sausage biscuit with mustard, and they handed me a bag containing a sausage biscuit. I was three miles down the road before I opened the wrapper, and realized that they had neither put mustard on the biscuit, nor put a mustard pack into the bag.
So I returned to the restaurant and went inside and asked the surly clerk who had waited on me if I could please speak to the manager. After a five minute wait, a pleasant looking manager spoke to me and I showed here the sausage biscuit and bag and absence of mustard. She politely apologized, and took the bag from me, went into the back and returned the bag to me and said she he had taken care of that problem, and smiled again, and I left the store feeling that my problem had been taken care of satisfactorily.
A mile away from the store, I opened the bag and pulled out my now cold sausage biscuit, unwrapped it, and found mustard leaking from every portion of the circumference of the biscuit.
Obviously, the biscuit now contained more mustard by weight than sausage. I returned to the restaurant, obtained a comment card, and completed and mailed it and got no reply from either the franchisee or franchisor.
Three years later I have still not gotten an apology from hardees, and I have taken my business elsewhere. I estimate that I have reduced hardees gross revenue by $4500 since this happened, and I would bet that the franchisee who hired the smiling manager still doesn’t give a rip about his customer’s satisfaction with their service levels in bridgeport. (Where hardees is the only fast food restaurant. )
I smile every time I pass through that town, however, since every single person I meet there is told my “mustard story”, and they tell similar tales about their experiences there, and explain that the guy who owns the franchise doesn’t care because he sleeps with the manager. So much for franchise standards and quality assurance at hardees.