A former KFC manager from Manukau has taken to Reddit to answer people's questions about what it is like to work for the fast-food giant.
Reddit user daivestephen spent Monday evening answering questions from internet users about his stint as manager of a KFC store.
KFC has responded to the Reddit discussion, saying the comments make a "number of incorrect claims" and that the company's internal food safety standards are "even more stringent than the external standards we have to meet".
The first and most common complaint he heard from Reddit users was about how understaffed most KFC stores are.
"The shifts are always poorly planned. People call in sick all the time. Especially citizens and international students can only work 20 hours a week," he replied.
He added that "upper management aren't into" hiring more casual staff to solve the issue.
"I work within the umbrella and have also seen first hand how much they give zero f***s about the staffing numbers, but have plenty of time to complain about lack of sales and the cleanliness of the establishment when we're constantly operating on bare bones numbers," Reddit user vakda wrote in a reply.
"That's why I left at my branch," another Reddit user, exxxoskeleton, said. He added that "with studying, freelance work and KFC shifts", there was no point staying and "dealing with the stress of being alone on front counter on say a Friday and/or Saturday night [busiest nights]".
"The lines would be out the door and the team members would have to take orders, pack and hand out by ourselves. Not to mention deal with the customers throwing tantrums about the wait. Bruh, just lay a complaint that we're understaffed to upper management rather than complain about the team member? It makes no sense? And we've had multiple people quit in their first week of training due to the manager leaving them alone without any help," he added.
High staff turnover means workers don't care about their job. That's the reason shared by former KFC employees on the thread for the state of some restaurants.
When asked why some restaurants were never clean, the former manager blamed "pure laziness more than anything".
The chicken restaurant that runs out of chicken
Reddit users asked daivestephen about the lack of chicken that some of them experienced when visiting the restaurant, famous for its fried chicken.
"Often on Sunday nights everything seems to be out of stock. I have been and there is no chicken left at 7pm," Reddit user noface said.
"Stock arrives on Tuesday so stock is low Sunday and Monday," the former manager replied.
Another user said his mother used to be a KFC manager nearly 20 years ago. "I remember her store had run out of chicken halfway through one day. It happened a few times that I was aware of," hellivioze said.
Other reasons for running out of chicken include a manager not ordering enough or sales being higher than the same time in the previous year. "A store usually runs out of product when the demand is higher than the stock available that's how it works," daivestephen explained.
Slammed for unrealistic targets
A number of Reddit users shared their own experience working for the fast-food chain and a common issue raised was the lack of staff on at any given store, along with the "unrealistic targets" set for each one of them.
"One of the main shift targets is customers per staff members per hour and the target is set just below what is bare minimum to run," Reddit user Fallenae said. "And if you don't hit that target there's an area manager whose job it is to threaten your livelihood the next day."
Pre-recorded drive-through messages playing at odd times
"I went through the drive thru once at 10.30 and they closed at 10 [Good Friday was the next day]. Problem was the drive thru message still played. Cars lined up for a while before realising it was closed, one guy even drive up to the window banging it at the staff that were just cleaning up," user snomanDS posted.
"Do managers really think we are stupid and that we can't tell the difference," Soviet Macguyver asked about the recorded greetings.
"Yup," the former manager replied.
A customer who loves "hot 'n spicy" KFC burgers asked daivestephen why this popular item isn't sold all year around.
"It's just marketing schemes so we have got and spicy over winter and increase demand," he explained.
As a bonus, daivestephen also revealed that the code PLU50 "gives a buy one get one free twister".
With the lack of cleanliness blamed on low staff numbers and "laziness", daivestephen also added that, during his time at KFC, he always saw "cockroaches around the back area in the morning as well as mice in the stock lifts".
Best time to order
"Only order during peak times that's when things are the freshest if the store is quiet the food is probably old and dry," the former manager recommended.
Additionally, to avoid being given old chicken, ask for chicken to come from the warmers instead of the display unit.
KFC rejects claims
Contacted by the Herald, KFC said that the Reddit AMA has "a number of incorrect claims" .
"Each KFC store is audited five times a year, both internally and externally. KFC's internal food safety standards are even more stringent than the external standards we have to meet," the company said in a statement.
KFC denies that there are any pest issues involving cockroaches or mice. "The restaurants are constantly audited to make sure that pests are not able to enter the stores and there are specially designed features in our stores to stop pests getting in."
The company also said that the food is prepared fresh and according to customer demand. "All chicken arrives at KFC store fresh six days a week, from field to fork in less than 48 hours."
"KFC chicken is cooked at very high temperatures, and is then only held in cabinets for a short period at over 60 degrees. It is discarded if not sold," the company added.