Well, this is a different take on 1-star Yelp reviews: this one may actually be justified! Last week, Tyler H. went to have breakfast at Sweet Dixie Kitchen in Long Beach, California. While waiting to be seated, he noticed two boxes of Popeyes chicken being brought into the restaurant and assumed it was a snack for the staff. Or was it? He quickly donned his Jessica Fletcher Halloween costume and ordered the chicken and waffles so he could ascertain if the chicken served was indeed from a fast-food place.
“Very familiar and very suspicious,” he said as he took his first bite. “I need to investigate thoroughly!”
Rather than snoop his way into the kitchen and risk getting his costume all dirty, Tyler simply asked the server how they make their fried chicken and the server spilled the red beans and rice.
“It comes from Popeyes,” he answered.
Well, Tyler went directly to Yelp to share this info with the world (and give them one star, of course) and the owner of the restaurant replied.
“We PROUDLY SERVE Popeyes spicy tenders- the best fried chicken anywhere and from New Orleans- which are delivered twice a day,” said Kimberly S.
She goes on to explain that plenty of their other food items are outsourced, like a gumbo she buys from a friend at a farmers market and some jams that are locally made. She gets a bit snippy saying that neither do they grow their on vegetables or mill their own flour and they “always get by with a little help from our friends.”
Ummm, Kimberly. Popeyes ain’t your friend, girl. Popeyes is a major fast food corporation that does about $222 million in sales a year. Buying their food and reselling it as your own isn’t quite the same thing as taking a stroll to the farmers market on Saturday morning and buying a few quarts of gumbo from an independent contractor. And, while Popeyes is fine for fast food, I don’t know many people who would claim it to be the “best fried chicken anywhere.” Like, anywhere? In the world? I dunno about that. And I get that your restaurant can’t accommodate a frier for you to make your own fried chicken, but then maybe your menu should reflect the capabilities of your kitchen. What you’re doing is not how it works! If you want to keep on selling Popeyes fried chicken, maybe your menu should tell your customers where the chicken is coming from. That way, if they don’t feel like spending too much money at your restaurant, they can swing on over to Popeyes and pick up a chicken tenders combo meal and pair it with some Eggo waffles from Costco. And I don’t even want to know how you warmed up that boxed fried chicken before putting it on a plate and selling it for way more than you bought it.
I gotta give it up to Kimberly though for standing behind her decision. If she’s smart, she can capitalize on this blip of publicity and embrace that she loves her chicken from Popeyes. Slap a Popeyes sticker on your menu and hope you don’t hear from their lawyers. I bet you can get someone to dress up in a Popeye costume and pass out free samples in front of your store. (I can do that for you. I have experience. I was Popeye at Elitch gardens amusement park in Denver during the summer of 1987. That story will be featured in my second book about all the jobs I have ever had. Popeye was job #8 out of 106. You can buy my first book here.)
What have I learned here, people? Well, I have learned that sometimes a 1-star review on Yelp can actually mean something. I have also learned that if you want to run a restaurant, you can just buy your pre-cooked food from wherever the hell you want and call it your own. The last thing I have learned is that there is a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen too close to my job and I will probably be having it for lunch on Saturday or Sunday.