Why Is KFC So Inefficient?

Today we waited 45 mins for 6 pieces of chicken at our local KFC. Did all the right things, ordered via the app, got to the restaurant and there were approximately 20 people waiting inside. It looked like a COVID swamp in there.

When order came up on as “ready” on screen, it turned out that the order was nowhere near ready and staff informed that it automatically changes to “ready” after a certain time, they had no control over it. Staff didn’t even know how to recall older orders that were completed because of this automated system.

I felt sorry for the staff as they were clearly young and lacking direction - yes like headless chooks.

On the other hand, McDonald’s also gave young staff but runs like a well oiled machine.

Why is KFC so poorly operated? Is the phone app causing more pain?

Related Stores

KFC Australia
KFC Australia


  • +15

    McDonald’s also gave young staff but runs like a well oiled machine.

    Not my local. It's uncontrolled chaos in peak times.

    • +5

      My local runs well, helps when there is high turnover too so food is fresh most of the time.

      • +1

        High turnover of staff or food?

    • +6

      Same here, local maccas during peak time is stupid. Drive thru out the carpark and if you walk in it takes forever because they priorities drive thru orders to maintain their stats.

      • +2

        Yep, your mistake was not going through the drive through. That line moves 10x faster than the one inside. I'm surprised you were even allowed inside, must be a lucky one not in a red zone LGA.

        • +2

          Dunno why some numbat negged you. You're 100% right. Drive thru is given absolute priority over in store customers.

        • Made the first and last mistake of ordering through the app & rocking up on foot to collect my order. By the time I was handed my zinger box (20 minutes) they would have served 10 - 12 drive through. After that day always did the drive through even though KFC is across the road from me!

    • +1

      I experienced something similar a quiet weekday night. Waited 15 mins for a simple cheeseburger.
      Staff outback were having a meltdown, one even swore at the girl at the front infront of a ton of customers.
      Was very awkward for everyone.

      • +6

        How is it quiet but there are a ton of customers?

        • +3

          A weekday is quiet compared to weekend. There was a large build up customers because the orders coming out of the kitchen ground to a halt. By the time he swore there was heaps of people waiting. I explained it poorly but it makes sense when you think about it.

          • +4

            @zombrex: I've thought about it and it now makes more sense. Cheers

            • +4

              @MS Paint: Wow you must be new to the Internet, so let me help you. You're not suppose to have manners and be civil like that. You're suppose to double down and start abusing the other guy. :-) ;-) ;-)

              Of course I'm kidding and the civility is refreshing to see!

        • They were mesmerised by the experience unfolding in front of them, confused that no food seemed to be emerging from the chaos, and suffering low blood sugar from the wait.

    • Same KFC can be bonkers busy and you can wait 10 minutes or so but at Maccas there will be only a few people waiting and it can take 15 minutes to get a coffee and Sausage McMuffin

    • My sounds like it's the set of a submarine movie and the sub is under attack. Alerts and alarms going crazy, and grim looking customers who've been waiting too long. They always manage to screw something up. I rarely go anymore.

      • Getting what you ordered at KFC is a gamble. If you know that going in, you can embrace the inevitable surprises.

    • Macdonalds can get (profanity). Of all the fast food places, they are the only one who habitually dont give you the full order

  • +26

    How many times have you been to KFC where things have worked out properly vs the number of times it doesn't? Sometimes things can just go wrong.

    • +11

      Everytime I’ve ordered on the app, it’s always gone wrong, at least 30 min waits each time.

      • +23

        Yet, you still keep going back?

        • +11

          I believe in 2nd chances lol

          • -1

            @beagem: that's the second time? From what you wrote above, it sounded like you've ordered stacks of times and it's always late. I was going to say that if that's the case, try ordering a bit earlier?

            • +3

              @bobbified: I’ve ordered at least 5 times, but I’m not going to use the term, I believe in 5th chances…

              Have you ordered from the KFC apps before?

              • @beagem:

                I believe in 5th chances…

                Something there obviously keeps making you going back… lol

                • +6

                  @bobbified: Lol, clearly not the level of service. Where else do you get your KFC fix?

                  • @beagem: Is it still a 30 minute wait when you order at the counter? Head Office would probably shoot them if that was the case.

                    • +1

                      @bobbified: Yea there is, it’s a complete shit show to be very honest. Another customer today waited 10 mins to take his order, only to be told they are no longer taking chicken orders lol.

                      • +1

                        @beagem: I'm curious to know which KFC this is. Are they the only one around?

                        • @bobbified: Metro Melbourne in the eastern suburbs. At least 4 stores in our 5km radius.

                          • +4

                            @beagem: haha in that case, best to just go to any of the other three around the area to get your fix! 🤪

                            • @bobbified: LOL I’m curious to know, have you had the similar experiences?

                              • @beagem: I've had a few times where they've told me that they've completely run out of chicken or they've said it'll be a 15-20 minute wait because they have to còok more chicken. It's never really bothered me though. I do find it funny when they tell me they've run out of chicken! lol.

                                The Melb CBD stores, where I live, are usually pretty good.

                          • @beagem: Ormond? Gotta be. Have had huge waits there before

                  • @beagem: Ever heard of Korean Fried Chicken?

        • +1

          How else they going to complain about it here?

      • +6

        KFC kid: hey look, beagem put an order through again. Let's f* with him again and mark his order ready and not give him any chicken for 30mins. kek

      • +2

        I think people don’t realise it doesn’t matter if you order in the app. It doesn’t make it any faster.
        Both maccas and kfc don’t start preparing your order until you actually give them the code at the window.
        The ‘I’m here’ option just confirms your location that you are at the right kfc..
        Unlike gyg where they start preparing it straight away but doesn’t confirm your location so you can select he wrong store..

        • Not sure myself, but I was told by someone at KFC that's incorrect. App drive thru orders work that way, but not app in-store orders. You can order ages before you drive to the store, quote the code at drive thru, then they make your order. But if you select you're inside the store in the app, they make it then call the order out.

      • So the problem is your local KFC, not kFC in general.

    • /rant begin

      For me never in my local kfc. insanely big wait times in drive through. Couple of times tried to collect from inside store, but no difference. Inside were another bunch of like minded people and delivery service blokes waiting to pickup. At least in drive through It’ll be just me instead of covid soup.

      This experience combined with hit or miss quality for fried chicken and no year around crispy chicken (in vic) has really made kfc my least favourite fast food place

      /rant end

  • +11

    Because McD has Hamburger University?

    • +7

      McDonald’s processes are some of the best in the industry, it’s quite impressive

  • +14

    It all about who they allocate in the kitchen.

    I used to work at maccas in my younger days and have been thru all parts of the day and all areas.

    It takes alot of team work and preparation to deliver a fast product, particularly in rush hour.
    However the key part of the process is in the kitchen. The manager needs to allocate competent workers during rush hour to allow the products to come out faster.
    If you allocate 2 duds in the back, or 2 inexperienced 16yos they have no sense of urgency and can even go slower in peak periods cuz they can't keep up with the high pressure environment.

    When it was lunch rush I would get allocated to the kitchen as I was fast, even if I was paired with a 16yo I could still keep up with the orders.

    But when you're 16 you give no f***s, all that you care about is the clock off time and how many nuggets you can take home and share with your GF.

    Maccas has a time performance they need to meet on all orders and it gets applied to the rostered managers performance. Unsure about KFC, if it's fully automated then perhaps there is no tracker to perform any better.

    • +11

      This is 100% accurate, the guy cooking the chicken kept asking the manager if he should cook more chicken 😂

      • and those managers no where to be seen most of the time. Once a while they popped out from the room showing the "don't (profanity) with me" face.

      • +13

        The managers are the real issue, or rather, the incompetent executives who can't pick and rate managers properly.

        The KFC on Richmond Rd in Blacktown was (still is?) managed by a sleazy bloke who doesn't cook any chicken within 2 hours of closing. Just tells the customers he's run out, and sends them home. When they ask why he's even open then, he is aggressive and rude.

        My wife knew this was BS (she worked at KFC in her teens) so she called KFC head office to complain after the first few times this happened.

        The idiots in head office were surprised, they'd been promoting him and giving him bonuses because he was top of the charts on some terribly-designed KPI about how much chicken he wastes.

        Apparently there's no KPI for the thousands of dollars a night in lost sales and tens of thousands in lost customers over the long term.

        It's 2021. You have a million better options. KFC doesn't deserve your business.

    • +2

      Maccas has a time performance they need to meet on all orders and it gets applied to the rostered managers performance

      That explains why my local maccas just prints out the receipt with order number and leave it on the table doing nothing for 20mins.

  • +5

    Had the same experience today at my local KFC. 30 mins for my 6 pieces and drive through line was backing up on the main road. Hope you're not talking about the Ballarat rd one xD.

    • +5

      lol, i'd been filing complaints many times re this store, never changed, it's been 5yrs now, same old same old.

      • It's a shocker that store. I turn left a couple streets after the KFC when driving home but I never get in that left lane early because I've struck that KFC queue at just about every time imaginable.

  • +4

    It might just be your KFC. Here they are always quick.

    • +2

      AH yes, i've been to that 'here' store many times.

  • +14

    McDonalds seems to run an assembly line where 1 person does 1 thing. A specific person taking your order, another putting toppings in a burger, and another assembling.
    Whereas KFC you have the person taking your order walking all around the kitchen pickup up all the pieces and getting in each others way.

    • +1

      McDonalds seems to run an assembly line where 1 person does 1 thing. A specific person taking your order, another putting toppings in a burger, and another assembling.

      Sound like the type of employees I'd love to play Overcooked with

  • When you order via the app are you actually selecting the "I'm here" option?

    First few times I ordered I didn't do this. They had my order # but it didn't "progress" to be made until I selected that I was "there".

    Also yeah, KFC is generally inefficient.

    • +2

      I hit “I’m here” before I even parked the car lol

      • +1

        Just a shit KFC then. I did this the other week and waited ten minutes for a large chips. There was one other person waiting for food.

  • KFC here is fine too. Only lost an app order once.

  • +2

    Used to be in FF industry, sometimes its just so damm hard to explain to customers, that their order JUST CANNOT BE MADE,
    may be out of stock of bacon, or grill not working or electricity shut down, or the very famous ice cream machine out for service. Personally used to get a lot of customers asking for grilled stuff or food that needs to be cooked with equipment and (that must be cooked freshly) that equipment is being serviced/cleaned.

    Quite a lot of drive way orders are delayed only because the car is front of you has a super massive order.

    I do however, agree on the fact that staff should inform all customers if there order will take quite a long time. - I always do.

    Young workers, are just that likely to make mistakes as older workers- only thing that matters here is experience (aka how long you have worked in the position).

    Additionally if you order on the companies app, you can almost always get a refund for any unpleasant genuine experience. the head offices will almost always find giving refund as easiest solution (After all its only may be <$20)

  • I'd like to know why delivery people get priority over those that make the effort to go in store

    and there were approximately 20 people waiting inside

    and probably 20 for delivery

    • -1

      Cos theyre trying to make an income and wouldnt do it if they had to wait 25 minutes in every store.

      • +1

        So are many of the customers who have dived out at lunchtime to get their "Fast Food" that takes 45 minutes.

  • +2

    I don't know why but sometimes KFC are crazy inefficient.

    I worked at Maccas for 7 years so I know where they are falling short when it comes to getting orders out the door, but KFC are on another level. I have a few around me and some are worse than others when it comes to speed, freshness and service.

    I've only ever had one issue with the app where I waited for about 10 mins in store before someone asked if I had the app order and they apologized about something and gave me my food. But otherwise it's treated like any other order and goes into the system.

  • You should hit the button 'I'm here' when you are still 30 mins away.

    I used to do this when ordering via the app.

  • +1

    Never have I had to wait that long at KFC.

    I only order through the app

    Always prompt. Not always polite but normal.
    And I probably eat KFC maybe once a month.

    The only thing i dont like about KFC app is you can't customise your order 9r make comments.

    Kids prefer red rooster fried chicken. Less pepper and spice.

  • +5

    I notice this as well. KFC is really slow and even when it is busy you see the kids in the back just hanging out and chatting with each other. No urgency at all. They also mess up my order more than half the time. When they hand me my food I now open the box and double check due to the number of times I got home and found the wrong food.

    I worked at McDonald's as a teen, as a front desk/service person. There was always a low level pressure to be as fast as possible. I didn't mind it, it kept things exciting (but I really enjoyed those 15 minute breaks). That pressure doesn't seem to exist at KFC at all.

  • +1

    It is cheap Tuesday today. 9 chicken for $9. This promo started last week so those 20 people in the queue might be ozbargainers like me😬

    Work overload today may have caused the inefficiency.

  • KFC is generally slower, i think its because they're generally less busy.

  • KFC drive thru is a nightmare. On a few occasions I've had to wait 20-30 minutes, but then again if its busy its faster to cook a beef patty than fried chicken.

    • +2

      @ 15 mins in the Pressure Cooker, I believe.

  • Because you went in on a Tuesday, their busiest day.
    10 pieces for $9.95

  • +1

    Perhaps it's time to try a salad.

  • Just put in a complaint to head office on their survey or CS. I generally only ever have to wait 5-10 minutes. In store or App. Actually found the app really good at Highett Vic store. Always check my order after pick up for popcorn chicken (son goes ballistic if no PCC when I get home), a dippinflg sauces, napkins and wipes. Shouldn't be hard to miss 4 item, but Brighton store use to it to me all the time. I hated it as my son would not he happy.

    Best thing to do is maybe not order during peak tines. Order early. Surely if they are running 45min late they could tell you. I'd wait in car or outside if social distancing not possible. 45min is way to long though.

    Oh Brighton store a main training store I believe, so would explain the mistakes. Have tried them a few times again and ok. No missing items.

    • +10

      My condolences for your son. These are indeed tough times.

      • +2

        I know. Pop corn chicken who would have thought it would start tanti's. I always check before I get in car now.

  • +6

    Why is KFC so poorly operated?

    Because they outsource. If they hired chickens to run the joint it would be eggselent.

  • Haha I’d almost put money on us having the same local. Never really had issues with KFC before but this one they never actually start making mobile orders until you actually go up and ask where your order is, even if you check in on the app.

  • I fully agree with op, i go to lots of kfc’s and lots of staff seem disorganised

    • +1

      I 100% agree with OP also, the number of times that ive managed to go through a drive thru without waiting is verrrrrrry minimal. I truely dont understand it, maybe chicken doesnt last as long in the warmers so they dont keep as much as a buffer?

  • I think its the 'delivery service' stuffing them up… like it's obviously higher now and it has to be the first one out or it'll get cold. Like drive thru feels slower now than just going to the counter.

    • drive-thru gets prioritized at KFC over counter =(

  • Sounds like our local KFC. The line of cars for drive through is queued right out and along the street. We tried to order twice and try delivery via the ap and both times order stuffed. 1st time 2 items missing (coleslaw and gravy) out of 5. A month later we thought we'd try again. Said ready for collection. 45 minutes later the driver said he couldn't wait any longer and cancelled our order (I don't blame him).
    We've sent some feedback to KFC but everyone still having issues. This is south West Sydney store.

  • never had a problem with my local. I usually go there because it’s the only place that’s never stuffed my order up if made me wait

  • If you're waiting 45mins for chicken it's generally because they have run out along the way.
    Once a KFC falls behind in chicken it's a long wait to cook some more as it is fried.
    I can't remember the timing but i think its 45 mins to cook a batch of chicken in the fryer, and then add process time to get it out etc.
    Burgers i think are 15-25 mins also.

    It's not like maccas where you can flip a burger on a flat top and 5-10 mins later have 50 burger patties to go.

    Don't get me wrong i find front of house slow as F. but if back of house is behind be prepared to wait even longer.

      • +1

        This is correct, from memory, 12 or 14, whatever was on the timer on the deep-fryer/pressure cooker unit, it's preset

        Source: I used to work in KFC around 10+ years ago

        Additionally, for the small KFC I worked at, there was three cookers active for Original Recipe chicken and one cooker (that one never had its lid closed but still had a timer).

        Depending on the size of the store, different amount of cookers would be active.

        From memory, cooked chicken was supposed to be only kept for 90 mins before you were supposed to chuck it out, notice the keyword.. so that means for peak hour, there's a bit of a balancing act in cooking extra ahead of peak times (can be highly unpredictable) and to minimise wastage at the end of the peak rush times.

  • +2

    It takes 15 minutes to cook chicken from start to finish. This should be the maximum time you wait. When people the term ‘always happens’, I suspect this is a sign of frustration built up in their heads rather than reality. The real problem with KFC is the size of the chicken pieces. At the rate they are going they will be cutting up day old chicks. Obviously using smaller birds increases profit but seriously this needs more complaining than anything.

    • 15 minutes to cook from start to finish?
      Do they have new processes or something?
      To bread chicken properly it will take a least 5 mins, then frying it in.
      You're looking at close to an hour for an 8 head of chicken.
      Unless things have changed drastically from when i worked there.

      • What? They get their chicken pieces already prepped and frozen surely?

        • +1

          Basically chicken pieces are supplied fresh by Baiada/Steggles, Turi, Alan Steggles, or Inghams. I think the only frozen chicken is Popcorn, & Nuggets? Zinger pieces are marinated prior to receiving.
          1. Chicken is unpacked & checked
          2. Chicken is coated and shaken
          3. Chicken goes in Pressure Cooker for @ 10-15 minutes.

          I've been on the KFC Tour 3 times. and at the bottom of this link is a video of the process.
          There is also a Video featuring Wendell Sailor & Aaron Woods

          • +1

            @BewareOfThe Dog: I worked at KFC at the end of 2010/start of 2011, that article is pretty accurate.. apart from the 7 times thing.
            Brine was just.. water, we didn't have brine.

            The machines in that article are newer than the ones I worked with

            It doesn't mention how the real gravy is made with the chicken fines (brown bits found on the bottom of the fryer oil).

            Potato mash is made from powder, and if real gravy wasn't available, then it was substituted from a powder mix (similar to Gravox)

            Coleslaw was delivered ready to go

            The lettuce used in burgers was already shredded and in a massive plastic bag

            Baiada was definitely on a truck that the chicken came in.

            The chicken is delivered fresh daily, but the ones cooked on the day are normally from yesterday's delivery (nothing wrong with that)

            There were no breaks for the cook's 6 hour shift, and the only "break" time for me was chilling in the freezer where the chicken was kept, pretty horrible working conditions given the intense heat from the fryers, but that was 2010/2011, not sure if things have changed to allow for breaks.

      • Mate if it took you that long you wouldn't have been the highest paid person there. I did it back in the 80's when they switched from pressure cooker pots to collectramatics and the cooking time is 15 minutes. It used to be 12 before then. Any store that doesn't have any chicken prepped is run badly. The breading takes seconds for a basket for anybody minimally competent. To take an hour to cook 8 head of chicken from start to finish would bankrupt every store. 4 head - 4 chickens cut into 9 pieces - 2 drums, 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 ribs and 1 breast piece. Fite me!

  • +1

    If there is one thing that I have learnt about kfc, it is that sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some

  • It's like a 70% chance that my local Maccas can't sell thickshakes on any given night so I wouldn't call it a well oiled machine lol

    • The ice cream/thick shake machinery is part of a massive scam from the manufacturer whereby they are designed to be difficult to maintain and out of order regularly. McDonald's staff are not at fault. It's an interesting story if you look into it. Check out mcbroken.com

  • At most stores I've been to it's staffing levels that cause delays. McDonalds always seems to have at least 8+ employees even at the quiet times. I've often been in a KFC and there's been literally only 2 staff inside.

  • Depends on store and management. Also, workers treated like shit work like shit.

  • I ordered 48 pcs of chicken couple of days ago for a healthcare facility, they delivered 42. Called and I was asked to make another order by the store manager, placed another order for 6 pcs, waited for delivery, he said he gave it to a person walked in. I was like WTF, made a complaint never heard back.

  • +1

    Early 90s was when I worked at KFC. My store had the highest rating with the mystery shopper, always scoring a perfect score (I think 103/100). They had to be served within something like 1.5m per customer in the queue or within 2 mins of each car ahead of them, and then marked the store cleanliness, quality of cooking, service, and whether you do the suggestive sell…

    "Would you like hot chips with that meal"
    , or "sweet buttered corn", or "a cold drink".

    Now I go thru drive thru, there's not even eye contact, and everyone seems disterested in serving.

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