Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Church's Chicken Food Review II

$5 Big Box at Church's Chicken

65 years in the restaurant business is a long time. Long enough to learn (and teach) the importance of customer service. Church's Chicken obviously did something right along the way; but what good is a name/reputation, if you allow it to be soiled by a location (franchise or not) that doesn't know the first thing about taking care of its customers... unless you count being a jerk(s.) Church's Chicken at L'Enfant Plaza has that down to a science. Is it any wonder they're our new worst restaurant in the nation's capital? "Happy" Anniversary Church's.

Despite an earlier promise never to return, I ventured back to Church's only DC-area location to see if things were any better. They actually managed to get worse (no small feat.) It begins and ends with horrible customer service, a filthy dining room and subpar food. Aside from that...

Ambiance: Gross doesn't begin to describe this dump of a location. They have (what appears to be) two entrances, but only one gets you where you want to be. The other is an exit, which invites all kinds of chaos and confusion, especially when it's busy. Why it's busy remains a mystery, but it can't be cleanliness. My table was covered in crumbs and grease, as were several others (all empty, by the way.) Ditto for the floor, which was very sticky. It's also hot as Hell inside, with an annoying Church's brand TV, that featured a reality game show where the loser is poisoned. Great messaging.

Food: The chicken is darn good, and spicy as ordered/promised. My 2-piece Big Box boasted a generously-sized leg and thigh, with a fair amount of meat and sizzling seasoning. The skin literally fell off; and for the first time in ages, I ate some of the skin by itself. Unfortunately, the mashed potatoes are even worse than before. Still nice & hot, but flavorless with a weird smell and aftertaste. The biscuit, which was delicious last time, was hard as a rock (before 2 PM) despite looking good. The cole slaw was OK, but turned into an oily mess at the bottom.

P.S. You'll be "glad" to know Church's raised the cost of its' disgusting Apple Pie from $1.49 to $1.89. Genius.

Service: This is where Church's earns its worst restaurant moniker. The cashier was flat-out mean to me, literally scowling in contempt throughout the painful ordeal of ordering. I politely asked for a $5 Big Box (said please twice) then tried to redeem a coupon I received from Church's (directly) in exchange for filling out a survey. The angry cashier immediately looked at it, as if I had handed her a bank robbery note. She angrily (sense a pattern?) shook her head no, before saying to her manager, "We don't take these, right?" Said employee stared at it for 30 seconds, seemingly confused (perhaps she couldn't read it?) before nodding no. That was it. No sorry, or even "We can't/don't accept this." I asked the manager why, and she replied (after a pregnant pause) "We no accept coupons." That might be OK, but they do accept coupons (i.e. the ones printed on each & every receipt you get after paying.)

This exchange seemed to make the cashier even angrier, which is odd since I was the one getting cheated out of something. That was also the end of verbal communication (both from the cashier, who reluctantly accepted my credit card, and the aforementioned manager who assembled my order.) I'm guessing they didn't notice my slipping on a grease spot en route to my dirty table either. As for the coupon? I tore it up. It's not like I'm ever going back again.

Overall: You know that feeling you get, when you send something back to a kitchen, and you worry about someone spitting in your food? I felt that from the moment I stepped inside, until the glorious moment I escaped/left. With so many options in the L'Enfant food court, I can't figure out why anyone would come here. Then again, I saw a lot of unhappy faces all around me. Maybe there's something in the air. Whatever it is, I won't make the same mistake twice thrice. So long Church's: Don't let the door hit you on the way out.