A Bad Experience at Hardee’s

Last week, I received some Hardee’s coupons with my local central Illinois newspaper. I decided to try one of the new burgers for lunch and ended up with a bad experience at Hardee’s.

At lunch time, I entered the parking lot and pulled up in front of the sign that displays the menu. I studied it for a few moments and then placed my order at the drive-thru speaker. I ordered a combo meal with a burger, regular fries and a small diet soda. With my dollar-off coupon from the newspaper, my total was $5.81. Not a bad experience at Hardee’s so far!

I don’t always carry much cash but today I had some money so I decided instead of using my debit card, I would pay with cash. When I reached the drive-thru window, a Hardee’s employee with a nametag indicating she was “Courtney” opened the window. Since my total was $5.81, I was thinking that if I gave her a $20 bill, then I would receive quite a few one dollar bills. I didn’t really need any more singles so I handed this Hardee’s employee $21.00 (a $20 bill and a $1 bill) so that in return, I could get a $10 bill and $5 bill as my change. She accepted my cash and closed the window.

I don’t know if she wasn’t very swift in the math department or just not paying attention but when I looked back , she was opening the window and handing me a pile of money – a $10 bill and five $1 bills. I told her that I paid her $21.00 and I was hoping that I could have a $5 bill instead of five ones. Trust me, I was being polite and friendly. I am not sure why at this point, this turned into a bad experience at Hardee’s. Instead of the two normal responses which would have been offering me the $10 bill and $5 or possibly letting me know they were short on fives, this employee huffed at me, slammed the drive-thru window in my face, threw my money onto the counter and the floor and stomped away from the window. I was stunned at her behavior.

When she came back to the window, she had a five dollar bill. She picked up the $10 bill and re-opened the cash register to get two new dimes because the original ones were rolling around on the floor. When she opened the window, I started to say “if this is too much trouble, I don’t need the five dollar bill.” But before I could utter the complete statement, she handed me the money and again slammed the drive-thru window shut in my face. This was really turning into a bad experience at Hardee’s.

When Courtney returned to the window with my food, she shoved it out the window without a word. No thank you. Nothing. At this point, after being treated so poorly, I felt obligated to ask if a manager was available that I could speak to for a minute. She informed me that the manager was not in. Then my bad experience at Hardee’s went from bad to worse. This employee taunted me about the manager saying “Call her. Go ahead, call her.” I drove away shaking. I have never been so mistreated in a drive-thru in my life.

After I got my wits together and stopped shaking so badly, I obtained the number for the Hardee’s restaurant and called to report my bad experience at Hardee’s. The shift manager, Hannah, seemed very sorry to hear how I had been treated. She said I could make a complaint with the Hardee’s corporation online. I said that, at the very least, I felt I should be reimbursed for my meal. She agreed to refund my money, however I said I would not go back to the restaurant until Courtney’s shift was over. I was so intimidated by her.

That afternoon, I submitted an online complaint to the Hardee’s corporation about my bad experience at Hardee’s. I returned to the establishment after 5pm to be reimbursed for my meal. The store manager, Jesika, said that when she tried to coach Courtney about the incident, the employee said she could not remember anything of this nature taking place. She threw money on the floor and taunted me, obviously she can recollect what happened. Nevertheless, the store manager was very apologetic.

The next day, I received a phone call from the area manager, Jody, who was sorry to hear about my bad experience at Hardee’s. She apologized on behalf of the restaurant. I also received an email response from Charles with Hardee’s Guest Relations, thanking me for taking the time to tell them about my experience. What I find ironic is that I received apologies from four separate entities, the shift manager, the store manager, the area manager and Hardee’s Guest Relations, yet not one of them offered me any incentives to return to the store and try them again with a complimentary meal.

Obviously after such a bad experience at Hardee’s, no matter how apologetic these folks are, I am not going to return to Hardee’s and spend any money out of my own pocket.