It’s hard to get a good meal on campus; I often find myself eating nothing but garbage out of the vending machines. In fact, Monday night’s dinner consisted of party mix, BBQ Frito twists and a surprisingly good bag of honey dijon kettle chips. Of course, if I had a meal plan I’d go to South Dining Hall or the Cub Cafe, but I don’t.
The lack of a meal plan leaves me with one solid option, the Academic Forum’s Chick-Fila-A “Express.” But, I have to complain about something.
I went to Chick-Fil-A’s website and clicked, “Who We Are.” I was greeted by a quote from S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A. He said, “We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.” I don’t think the express location is living up to its founder’s call to action, considering they almost exclusively sell chicken. Put the cobb salad on the menu!
Chick-Fil-A is known for its fantastic service and its delicious fast food. It’s been a long time favorite of mine, and the fact that KU has one on campus was practically the reason I transferred here. Unfortunately, I was unaware that the designation “express” changes everything. I’m not just talking about the limited menu or mysterious “cheese sauce.”
I reached out to the student dining ambassador Jillian Adams. I hoped she could give me some insight into the shortcomings of KU’s Chick-Fil-A, but she responded, “I’m actually just a student with a nametag. I just show up. I’m so sorry.” Clearly, I had to dig deeper.
I got in touch with a former express employee who asked for their identity to remain hidden. With regards to the limited menu, they said, “I complained about it. It took them a whole year to add grilled nuggets after already getting the grilled sandwiches, and that’s not equal representation.” On the topic of customer service, they said, “The big difference is the employees definitely don’t give a s–t about the language, like saying ‘my pleasure.’ They aren’t nearly as kind. It’s more about getting people through the line fast.”
They told me a story about sanitation in the restaurant, “I was closing and cleaning out the lemonade machine, as we do at the regular Chick-Fil-A twice a week, but here only on Fridays. When I was doing it, an unsettling amount of mold was flushed out along with some pulp. After bringing it to the manager, she said ‘it would be fine and that usually happens.’ Which I assure you is not the case at a real Chick-Fil-A” He signed off saying, “It felt like a McDonald’s with real chicken to be honest.”
When I decided to write this article, it was to just make a couple jokes at Chick-Fil-A’s expense but having learned all this, it’s no longer a joke. Chick-Fil-A express needs to get their act together, and they really need to put the cobb salad on the menu.