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


  • As the name says… Kan't Far'ing Cook! ???

  • +23

    Its because promotions like the 6 for 6.95 or 9 for 9.95 push the demand well over what the store can possibly supply.

    If a store usually sells like 70 pieces an hour; and that suddenly goes up to 200-300+ an hour like it does with these promotions, there is just physically not enough fryers to meet that demand at some stores. (My store can only make 144 pcs of chicken at a time, smaller stores are less then this, bigger stores are more).

    But even in normal cases, an 8 Head (72pcs) of chicken takes:

    5-10 minutes to bread depending on the cooks speed.

    13-15 minutes to fry depending on the store.

    There is also a mandatory 5 minute period after it is done where you cannot serve it to customers.

    So just getting the chicken ready to sell takes up to 25-30 minutes, if there are dozens of orders ahead of you, that is how wait times can get to ~45 minutes.

    Regarding your comments on the staff at your local KFC, if you suddenly had your normal work load doubled or even tripled like it is in some cases, with no extra staff assigned to help you, how would you fair?

    • Upvote for you my friend!

    • Heah mate

      What causes the chicken to go tough,I only eat crispy strips and sometimes (and i should take them back) they taste like they’ve been boiled to hell and hard and tough to eat.
      We’ve also stopped buying chicken from Safeway as there chicken seems to go tough after cooking, yet buy chicken from a butcher and it almost falls apart.

      As far as waiting i always order fresh chips so more than happy to wait….


      • What causes the chicken to go tough,I only eat crispy strips and sometimes (and i should take them back) they taste like they’ve been boiled to hell and hard and tough to eat.

        May have gone past the 90 min keep mark and dried out..

        • Yes, this is most likely why.

    • That's head office's fault though, not the customers'.

      Poor planning of promotions.

      • Did I ever say it was? No.

        What I was saying is there is not really anything the staff at their local restaurant can do about it.

      • +1

        Yeah, seems like a lack of in-store food production equipment. Sort yo shit KFC.

  • -1

    I've had very few problems with any local KFCs myself. The only one usually is when they run out of Wicked Wings late on a Sunday evening (within 1/2 hour of closing). Their always pretty quick - in fact quickest of all the local brands. Hungry Jacks are the slowest generally.

    Maccas is usually the worst - not service speed so much, but errors with the orders. One time we ordered for three people, and there were FOUR errors in what was supplied, which is just ridiculous.

    That said, I have to admit to never having used the app. I always go through drive-thru where available - even Oportos…

  • -1

    Has to be a staffing issue, let me paraphrase their new recruiting moto i saw at their drive through window yesterday

    "looking for staff: a great place to have a fun time, meet new friends and earn some cash"

    cant be a great place to work if making friends is benefit of working there.

    hence the poor service, too busy ,making friends

  • Buy a Dutch oven and some good oil from Aldi. Fry chicken at home that will blow KFC out of the water and save you $$$.

    • Gave my wife a dutch oven for her birthday last week. She was disgusted. Would not recommend.

  • Spot on. Overall I've found KFC to be incredibly slow compared to other fast food joints. When I was in a binge eating period, I'd visit my local KFC often and it'd always take 20+ minutes for my order, regardless of whether I ordered on the app or in-person. There were never more than 3-4 other people inside and the drive thru was empty..

    But lately I've noticed another KFC near my house is absolutely full. The drive-thru line stretches out into the parking section and even onto the street sometimes.. I was stuck at a roundabout outside the KFC for nearly 15 minutes waiting for the drive-thru queue to move. Not one empty parking spot. So it could just be that KFC is busier, they've done a lot of promos lately.

  • +1

    Our local KFC seems to be notorious for stuffing up orders. We have had the following placed and they have got wrong :
    - Family Feast came with no Coleslaw
    - My sons ordered three piece feeds to only get two pieces each in the boxes
    - My wife ordered a tender box once and the tenders were so small, that got the impression they should have thrown in more to make up for the size.
    - Sons have also ordered three piece feeds and not received the sides (that was via Uber Eats)

    It seems to just be one particular store, so have started to go to others in the area and they seem to be more reliable. So I think with any of these franchises, mileage may vary from store to store.

    Forgot to note also filled in the feedback forms that are mentioned on each docket for some of these and requested a callback, and said call back never comes. Can only assume this means they don't actually read the feedback that is given.

  • this is why I avoid kfc, also avoiding kfc helps me lose weight.

  • When did fast food stop being fast?

  • -1

    This literally never happens to me so I'm calling BS.

  • Trying to be tight and not fry the chicken in bulk in preparation for peak hour

  • +6

    I used to work at KFC.

    The main reason is some of the products take a while to cook, and don't last, particularly the original recipe. From memory it takes about 40 minutes cooking, plus say 5, 10 minutes breading it up.

    So, for a typical lunch, let's say you usually sell 80 pieces. An hour before lunch, you ask for 80 pieces to be put on, should be sweet. You can't ask for much more as it then gets thrown out because it goes bad too quickly. Then, someone comes in half way through the lunch rush and orders 20 pieces for a family lunch. It's not unreasonable, so you can't really turn them away. You sell them the chicken, and yell for another batch to be put on. It gets put down immediately, but it's still 50 minutes away, so before lunch is over someone is going to have to wait, there's no way around it.

    Contrast this with maccas, where the majority of stuff comes in pre-made, just need to heat it up essentially.

    The other factor is that the vast majority of KFC's are owned by the same franchisee, yum. They operate them on razor thing profit margins. The managers have no choice but to pretty much exclusively hire teenagers, and even for teenagers it's probably the worst job you can have (hot, sweaty, poor pay). So you get the worst teenagers, and are constantly understaffed. I worked there after school for 6 months to save money for travelling, and most days I would be taking orders, cooking chips, serving customers and boxing up the meals by myself.

  • I remember going once to buy some chicken at my local KFC only to be told they ran out. Walked out and haven't been back since.

  • +1

    During peak. KFC priorizes menu log and drive through. The instore customer is kept on being pushed to the back as the menu log and drive through orders keep piling in.

  • bought several times (odd hours around 4pm) no wait at my local KFC

  • +1

    Actually just saw a huge traffic jam yesterday leading into a drive-thru yesterday. Assuming they're there for the 6 for $6.95. Crazy thing is you're sitting there waiting on a single lane road and it moves one car every 5 minutes. It's not only frustrating for KFC buyers but for other road users. KFC need to change their 'Drive-Thru' only policy, especially if they're so f***ing slow at processing orders.

  • +2

    Went to Maccas yesterday to get chips for my kid and someone has ordered 100 kids meals (What will this be used for in lockdown?). The line in drive thru was at-least 25-30 cars going well into shopping centre parkings.

    • +2

      They probably ordered those 100 meals for the pokemon packs, since those tend to be worth more than the $5 it takes to buy a kids meal from maccas a few years after the promo ends.

  • Maybe it's because they can get away with poor service because their food tastes good. Say what you want but I'll wait 20 minutes for tenders but if it takes 5 minutes to make a mcmuffin it was completely not worth it.

  • Its always been the way, It boils down to the head office and the procedures and policies that McDonalds strictly make their stores adhere to and I presume KFC doesnt have as many or dont make their stores follow them as strictly. Majority of the time i go to KFC, they mess up one part of the order and i need to ask them about it. And i tried delivery and they royally screwed me around and after much chasing up, all i got was a refund and a pathetic attempt at making me feel i should be lucky to get a refund. Mcdonalds just dont make those kinds of mistakes as often and if they do, they are much better at rectifying it.

    • Its always been the way, It boils down to the head office and the procedures and policies that McDonalds strictly make their stores adhere to and I presume KFC doesnt have as many or dont make their stores follow them as strictly.

      I reckon it might be the opposite. Maccas seems to vary more in terms of service. Just one suburb over and it's way better than the closest one to me. Whereas KFCs seem to consistently run on skeleton crews.

      • If you look at one of the success reasons behind mcdonalds, it is the fact that you can generally get pretty much the same quality no matter where you go and if you look at their head office rules and policies as well as processes. They are far stricter and enforce them with random checks with people in plain clothes / you dont know you are being checked till you get the results. They check how old the food is, to cleanliness and customer service. Their management system is also something a lot of other companies respect, their training methods and work ethics.

        • The food quality, sure, since it's frozen and shipped in. Service time/accuracy and store cleanliness is way different depending on where I go, though. My guess is that it's not worth corporate's time and money to check on some of the more out of the way suburbs.

          • @Diji: I am not sure about now but when I used to work there 20 years ago. They had random checks twice a month. And there were major fines and problems for stores that did not follow through with the strict rules and policies as well as rewards for stores that did exceptionally well.

  • +1

    Ex KFC here - no surprises but there's core problems with the business.

    1. Poor management & staffing decisions:
      Management are SUPER stingy and refuse to have a reasonable number of staff working at any given time. I walk past quiet cafes & there's 2-3x more staff on than we would have in a busy shopping centre KFC.

    Regularly on a busy Thursday night we'd have all 4 staff serving at counters AND also have to go back to the burger prep station to wrap burgers etc (+ pop chips/nuggets etc in the frier). Staffing the front counter prep station adequately would be a big improvement.

    1. The nature of the food:
      Fried chicken takes time to cook - approx 20-30min for chicken pieces, 10-15min for burger fillets + time

    If the cook (there will be only 1 cook, see issue 1) doesn't prepare enough chicken in advance to meet demand wait times can blow out. Cook also gets yelled at if they overestimate demand & cook too much chicken and it gets wasted.

    It also depends on how many deep frying vats are running - only a limited amount of chicken can be cooked per vat at a time. Vats also need to be cleaned when oil gets yuck. Cleaning takes significant time & needs to be balanced with food prep because they won't wang to pay you for staying back.

    • Poor management & staffing decisions:
      Management are SUPER stingy and refuse to have a reasonable number of staff working at any given time. I walk past quiet cafes & there's 2-3x more staff on than we would have in a busy shopping centre KFC.

      I noticed that even the Melbourne CBD KFCs have barely any staff on at the busiest hours of the day, while the McDonald's on the same block would have a lot more. Somehow HJ's seems like it even do better although that might be due to having to serve fewer customers compared to KFC.

  • +4

    I worked at a KFC many moons ago.

    When irate customers complained that 'this is supposed to be fast food!' we were instructed to respond with 'no, this is a family restaurant' haha

  • My local has always been on point, drive through is always 10 too 15 cars deep and worse case out the driveway.

  • I'm guessing it's different depending on where you go.

    My local KFC, I'll be in, served and out with my food (usually within a few mins) before the kids at my local Maccas could be bothered to man the register to take my order.

  • Now I'm craving the dirty bird, KFC has always been hit and miss. I don't use the app and have never waited that long for chicken.

    I worked at maccas when I was 15 and it's really impressive how efficient it can be during peak hours.
    They revolutionized the fast food industry in terms of it actually being 'fast food'.

  • For the first time in a while, they botched my order. But when I had my order redone correctly, upon my checks they included extras for the inconvenience.

    The extras were 2x 24+ nuggets 🤣

    It's rare my local has made mistakes for me, but they've been more than accommodating to fix it each time.

  • Its the AP, nothing to do with staff

    When you do your online order, you're suppose to activate it when you enter, thereby giving them the order/.

    That's when you enter the queue.

    Yes I and everyone would agree its a stupid system…

    but I guess it saves them from complains, from people who are late and complain

    • Interesting reading reading what people have said about having worked there.

      I've never had to wait, when I order a big meal on the App, I see the reason for that is I always order and arrive before peak hour

  • +1

    My local is great, but best to use the app, and use drive through.

  • Honestly just get broaster

  • Rarely buy takeaway from kfc maccaaa.
    Bought kfc once the chicken seemed like it was just not crispy like been lying there for 2 days. Etc. Much healthier better options

  • "Automatically ready"

    No, their owner has told the managers/shift supervisors to set things to ready when they aren't so their metrics look better to head office.

    It's a franchise, you get good ones and shit ones - over the years I've encountered many an incompetent McDonalds, or basically any other chain.

  • Everyone wants dem chickens

  • I don't care…I love it.

  • Ive noticed last few weeks that these fast food places sometimes have over 20 cars lined up in the drive thru. My local maccas it gets so ridiculous the drive thru space is so short that the cars lined up are all blocking the shopping centre outdoor parking lot.

  • Having worked at KFC over 10 years ago as a teen… The chicken just isn't fast to cook and the stock relies a lot on the manager gauging how busy it will be, especially late dinner-closing time.

    All it takes is one massive order that wasn't noted properly and all of a sudden one batch is used and another needs to be put down, 40 minutes right there minimum.

    Staff training is also really poor compared to Maccas, especially if company owned.

  • It's not just KFC it can happen to any place

  • +7

    Former KFC cook here from years ago…

    That kitchen is a war zone

    It’s you , approximately 4 cookers , the oven and the breading table

    Dinner time on Tuesdays are the worst and most of the time, those 4 cookers are running back to back.

    It hits approximately 7:30-8:00pm and you basically have crates stacked like post game jenga . then manager yells 8 head ( basically 2 cookers full of chicken ) cause the boys just finished a basketball game and they’re about to dine.

    You smash it out at 8:45 and you start sifting that flour then bam right around 9 someone ask for a truck load of wicked wings.

    Tired, defeated and have a mountain of dishes, crates and restocking ahead of you.

    You are mustering enough strength to take apart that breading table and clean all the oil ,flour and chicken juice.

    You tip that flour over the bin and you slip accidentally and now there’s flour all over the floor.

    You then take a big breath start mopping those floors and for some reason channel your inner flash and start doing those dishes like clockwork.

    It’s now 10:45 ,you are meant to clock off at 10:00.

    15 miss calls from mum as she has been waiting to pick you up and you forgot to message her.

    You come out of the store, holding a box of popcorn chicken, some chips and that left over chicken tender from one of the trays.

    You down it all with a can of Mountain Dew you sneaked in your bag from the cool room.

    That was a 5 hour shift….

    • That was a 5 hour shift….

      No breaks as well right?

  • Always like this, better buy Korean fried chicken, cost more but.

    Op you should pass the feedback to KFC from the receipt and get free chips. Although I find the free chips difficult to redeem.
    Refer them to this page

  • My local KFC has multiple tradesperson's vans turn up at all hours of the day that buy all of their chicken. I was wondering why they were always out of chicken until I saw this happen a few times.

  • I think people need to reset their expectations when you order fast food at peak hours especially when there is a deal going on. Its just kids at the back doing the best they can to earn some money. Blame the corporation that chooses to ramp out deals but not have the brains to ensure that there is additional staff to deal with the volume.

  • The greatest thing about this post is the term ‘covid swamp’

  • Its more than likely that particular franchise.

    The KFC in my area runs smoothly. But the next area near my work I've noticed it is never a straight forward purchase.

  • +1

    From my experience of observing both KFC and McDonald's, it seems to be a matter of whether the store runs strictly according to their system or if they allow common sense to operate as well.

    There have been times where I have ordered something simple, like one Sprite for example. The ones that have common sense see it pop up on their system and figure they will just do the Sprite now and get it out of the way, that's one customer that doesn't stand around taking up room. Others will strictly follow the system and only get to it in chronological order, meaning I wait 20 minutes for a Sprite.

    • +1

      This happens at maccas all the time. You end up waiting 15 minutes just for a fries, and you see them just sitting there in the tray getting cold. Yet no one's serves you until it gets to your number, which can be after 20 happy meals and family feasts lol

  • Doesn't matter where I've lived, every KFC I've been to has been horrible, and definitely not "fast" food.

  • Be thankful your only buying food and not dealing with freight and logistics!

  • +1

    The question i care about is how to get my hands on more than those small packs of supercharged sauce!!!!

  • Teenagers

  • Most annoying thing about KFC is they always give you the dry breast prices.

    I only like thigh and drumstick

  • My KFC is fast as hell! Hungry Jacks here on the other hand is 3x as long!

  • Pretty sure OP lives in a weird area in an alternate timeline where Maccas is faster than KFC; that is never the case anywhere else. Maccas needs to go back to the old system, especially since they got rid of CYT.

  • I once met the Maccas South Pacific and Australasia IT dev lead many years ago at a friend's wedding and he mentioned that Mcdonalds have Microsoft level budget to spent on cutting edge tech development and back end systems that rival many top Silicon Valley companies. They spend a lot of money and most tech they develop in house by themselves. Other companies cannot rival that level of spend on research and development. Competitors eventually catch up slowly 4-5 years later but by then Maccas is testing and developing their next generation systems. Their Monopoly game tech they have, the spend on that alone is mind boggling.

  • it turned out that the order was nowhere near ready and staff informed that it automatically changes to “ready” after a certain time

    No, it doesn't. They manually change it before the order is ready so their stats look better.

    • Domino’s stores do this. Yes yes, I admit i love a $5 cheesy garlic with chilli sprinkles and oregano

  • Obviously this is due to the break down in the rigorous selection, strict discipline and punishing training that was once applied to the members of this prestigious organization. This would never have happened if the Colonel was still alive and in charge. Clearly they have suffered without the leadership of such a well seasoned military man. I myself ate a chicken tender from there the other day that I'm almost certain only contained 10 herbs and/or spices. How the mighty have fallen.

  • Shit management poorly trained staff sound like try to Game the system by taking orders of it that shit time Tell Head office how shit they Truly are.

  • my local KFC stuffed me up the last 2 times. once was one less piece of chicken, and they wouldn't believe me!!!!! and once i bought upsized family pack kinda thing, it cost a fortune and got regular drinks and chips - they said they'd investigate and call back… of course they never did.

    • Who would waste their time chasing 1 piece of chicken lol :)

      • +1

        Someone from ozbargain of course!

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