Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (KFC) slogan "finger lickin’ good" can usually be said to be true, most people tend to lick their fingers after eating fried chicken! But the quality of that chicken and level of service can vary depending on the time and which outlet you visit.
Having travelled regularly abroad, including to the USA, I have sampled a variety of fast food, including at many well-known international franchises. KFC is one such franchise that I have tried in other countries and for the most part the quality is pretty standard. In Mauritius KFC was the first fast food outlet in the country, and since then the fried chicken fast food concept has been replicated globally, and on the island, but many may say that KFC is still the original and the best, and certainly tourists may be more likely to gravitate towards the well-known franchise than locally branded fried chicken outlets.
As someone who often works late 6 or 7 days a week, I often turn to Mauritian fast food, and enjoy street Briani sold from vans or take-away fried-noodles or rice, but when looking for alternatives, as my dear wife likes chicken, I often ended up at the KFC’s at Trianon “The City” Shopping Centre, Phoenix Commercial Centre or Quatre Bornes.
When you visit a KFC restaurant, the images evoked by their commercials come to mind - you expect a clean and neat space, plenty of smart colourful seating, welcoming staff and swift service. You picture pieces of fried chicken that are juicy and crispy, hot, crunchy, evenly salted french-fries, and mouth-watering chicken burgers or chicken strips with tasty dips. Unfortunately the expectations set by the high international standards projected by KFC branding are not really met on the island, and perhaps the only aspect comparable with their foreign branches are the prices!
Even within Mauritius, you can expect a different level of service and quality depending on which KFC you choose. Generally, I have found that the KFC at Trianon “The City” Shopping Centre provides better service, when compared to the branches at Grand Bay, Port Louis, Cascavelle, Curepipe and Mahebourg.
My trips to KFC are as I mentioned before, more often than not, a bid to make my dear wife happy, although, I do have to confess that I enjoy their hot and crispy large pieces of chicken, as well as the spicy crispy strips! Unfortunately, the issue that I am often faced with is that they have often run out of hot and crispy large pieces, and even the original flavour. Often they have not been prepared yet, or are in the process of being prepared, but the staff rarely explain this and merely say: “There are no large pieces; you can have wings and drumsticks.” That is until I insist on speaking with the manager and complain about them failing to meet international KFC standards, then their large pieces miraculously become available, but are subject to a waiting time of 15 to 30 minutes, which makes you wonder if the concept of “Fast Food” is foreign to KFC Mauritius?
If you are like me and willing to wait, you need to insist to the staff, that they do not prepare your other items before the large pieces are ready, and that your fries are to be hot and crispy, otherwise, you will end up with lukewarm and soggy fries!
Now just a little advice to help you for future visits to KFC. Do not go to a KFC near their closing time i.e. 30 minutes before. This can be a stressful experience, as you will find they are out of many items, and most definitely the large pieces will not be available at all or they will be so dry that you may think you ordered chicken jerky! So now I always try to time my visits to KFC to avoid peak and closing time.
The latest change to their operation, the concept of food being “freshly prepared to order” has helped to improve the freshness of the chicken, but not the waiting times and their system is either not working, or the staff do not know how to operate it.
The cleanliness of their public spaces are quite good, and considering people tend to leave their trash when they leave, which can be a bit unpleasant, the staff still manage to keep the place clean. You might have to ask them to clear a table occasionally. but it is usually done quite quickly. Even the toilets are nicer than some restaurants where you expect a higher standard.
Overall, KFC offers a wide range of items (chicken related obviously), to suit most appetites. Basic English is spoken and service can be efficient and friendly, but they still have some way to go before meeting international standards, so if it were not for my wife, I would actually prefer the aforementioned Mauritian fast food.