Culture

Yelp Unloads on Restaurant after They're Caught Serving Popeyes Chicken as Their Own

(Image via Yelp)

You wouldn’t serve a tray of Girl Scout cookies to your friends and claim that you stayed up all night baking them because you’re better than that. But a California restaurant was caught sneaking fried chicken into the kitchen for their own “chicken & waffles” meal, and Yelp’s foodie community is holding their feet to the burner:

A Yelp reviewer stopped by Sweet Dixie Kitchen located in Long Beach, California, for a bite with some pals, and before they could take a seat, he noticed that someone was carrying two big boxes of Popeyes into the kitchen. “Tyler H.” wanted to believe that the fried chicken was brought in to feed the kitchen staff, but his pressing skepticism forced him to order the restaurant’s $13 plate of chicken and waffles. It is important to note that Popeyes chicken is not mentioned anywhere on the menu, and at the time, their Facebook page claimed that “Everything is made here.”

Tyler’s hunch was spot-on, and not only was the fried chicken clearly from Popeyes, the waffles were reportedly stale as well. The Sweet Dixie Kitchen compensated Tyler and his four friends for the meal, and he shared his unfavorable experience on Yelp for everyone to read:

After dining here and seeing the response of the owner or manager, this place is deserving of a one star review. Using other restaurants foods, not informing your guests about it, and over charging your guests for it is a cardinal sin in the restaurant industry. Bland food and even worse it’s fast food and not cooked on site. If people wanted to eat Popeyes, they would go eat at Popeyes. Instead we decided to come here because we believed we were getting freshly cooked food that was a recipe of the restaurant. That wasn’t the case.

If you are going to sell another restaurants product, inform your guest and don’t try to market it as your own. Deplorable and the response to it from the manager/owner is disgusting (kinda like the food here).

We could’ve gotten a helpful lesson in how to deal with a negative customer review if the owner had nicely mentioned that their establishment doesn’t have a fryer on site, that she believes that Popeyes is the best fried chicken to complement her waffles, that plenty of the food on the menu is locally sourced, or that they would be happy to reprint the menu to make it crystal-clear that their fried chicken dishes use Popeyes chicken in the same vein that the milkshake area of your average dessert menu may highlight the fact that they use real Oreos or Milky Way pieces in their shakes. Unfortunately, Kimberly Sanchez, the establishment’s owner, decided to be a bit snarky with her reply to her restaurant’s well-deserved review with quips like “We PROUDLY SERVE Popeyes spicy tenders” and “So whatever to you and your little review like it was some great exposure, and whatever to you dude.” Yikes.

Hi Tyler – We PROUDLY SERVE Popeyes spicy tenders- the best fried chicken anywhere and from New Orleans- which are delivered twice a day. We also in case you need to know buy our gumbo from a friend who sells it at a local farmers market. And our jam- which we used to make here- we were introduced to a woman from Alabama who now sells the most wonderful jams and AS IT HAS ALWAYS been our goal to feature local food and guest chefs here, we promote usually small batch local producers in our menu. The exception is Popeyes- we can’t fry at this location- and it the fried chicken I love so much and I ate a ton of it in the ATL. So I serve it. We also don’t grow our own veggies- we purchase those- and if we run out of our own slow cooked pork, in order to keep our menu intact, I will order a batch of carnitas from the best place in Long Beach. We don’t mill our own flour as we don’t own a mill or wheat farm and our coconut cake is made by our prep cook who makes cakes for private clients. Just FYI. So whatever to you and your little review like it was some great exposure- and whatever to you dude. We do what we do and bring Long Beach the best food – mostly made here but we always get by with a little help from our friends- and we don’t want it any other way. Kim Sanchez.

I haven’t seen a Yelp meltdown this bad since the infamous Amy’s Baking Company of Kitchen Nightmares fame, but if I was a restaurant owner, it’d do my best to avoid provoking the local foodies. You can see the flurry of merciless Popeyes-related reviews on their Yelp page, as the site continues to root out the troll posts. And for the sakes of the restaurant’s hardworking kitchen staff, I hope that the owner of Sweet Dixie Kitchen utilizes some transparency and diplomacy when she addresses future complaints.

After all, there are plenty of happy stories of how restaurants have rebounded after taking constructive criticism to heart, such as Domino’s Pizza. I remember when many people around me complained that Domino’s was the bottom of the barrel all throughout the ’90s, but the Michigan-based pizza chain has drastically turned things around, starting with a series of ads in 2009 that apologized for their “cardboard pizza.” They then introduced a reformulated pizza recipe that I personally believe tastes fantastic, and genuinely promise to listen to customers and make things better. Not only are people clearly happy with the “new and improved” Domino’s once again, their stock has done better than Google, Amazon, or Apple since 2010.