We arrived at store around 8:30. Cars for drive thru were wrapped around building and we ( me, husband, and two children) parked and went in so we could have the kids look at the menu without being rushed.
We are on a trip to Orlando and this was supposed to be our dinner stop. We go in and there are only a couple of entrees on the hot table. The staff member says they are out of a couple of items but has trouble remembering which. Finally says chow mein and terroki chicken and everything else is available.
We take a few minutes to decide and while doing so drive thru is pulling and emptying entrees but nothing is being filled back up except orange chicken for a drive thru order and a customer ahead also chooses this. We order broccoli chicken as part of an order and are told it will take 7 min to cook. That person decides to choose something else. The next person also chooses that choice as one of their entrees.
Me and my daughter are limited to our choices due to a medical diet and we choose broccoli beef and the same entree as the other 2 members of our party. Meanwhile drive thru is still pulling from the table. Finally the broccoli beef is done and the staff member boxes it as the 3rd entree for the first family member who had changed to another item. Then she boxes it for the second family member who did not even order it for any of the 3 entrees.
As she is doing this she starts pulling from already made to go boxes that were supposed to be 2 entrees and a side (me and my daughter’s) to fill the 3rd entree for the other boxes. My husband goes over to inquire especially since the other ordered entree had been pulled by drive thru and not added to any of our orders and is also not being prepared in the kitchen. At this time the staff member decides to say the lobby is closed and we must take our order out. It just turned 9pm and we had been waiting for a long while.
I have never experienced being kicked out once in and ordering before closing and I have also worked fast food and did closing prep around customers who were finishing. No one had gone to lock the lobby door either. She said something about the hours on the door. By this time my husband has had enough and asks for a refund, we didn’t even get food we had ordered and were now supposed to wait longer and not be able to eat inside.
After receiving refund we leave looking at door. Door says closed at 9 but drive thru open until 9:30. He goes back in to inquire since it is just only after 9 and why the rush out if drive thru still open. Someone else comes over.
Later we find out he is the only manager for the store. He says they couldn’t make everything because then they would be out for the next day and then he also says that it is made to order so it would be fresh for us. He tries to turn the conversation when we bring up that we had been there way before closing and it is very strange to kick customers out. At this point I am in the discussion.
He keeps telling us to let him finish what he has to say and he would listen to us, but he doesn’t. He tells me to stop raising my voice. When I need people to take me seriously I do slightly raise my voice and drop in pitch since my normal voice is rather quiet and high in pitch. I tried to explain that yes my voice is different than when I was taking with my husband but I am not yelling or screaming.
He continues to say I am and to lower my voice. At this point I tell him that I can raise my voice and tell. He continues with that I already am so at this point I do raise my voice to yelling volume and say something like now I am yelling, this is me raising my voice. Crew in back is laughing.
My husband asks to speak with manager as the staff member asks me to leave. He says he’s the manager. My husband asks who is the day manager so he can call tomorrow, to which the manager says it is also him. So we are now complaing to corporate.
We have both worked fast food and my husband has also been a manager so we know what should be expected as good customer service. We have also been to other Panda Expresses and the hot table has never been that empty (except once during a blizzard off of the highway—-but staff was great, friendly and keeping the table full with what was left in stock). This happened at roughly an hour before closing with a long line in drive thru. I am sure the staff knows how many orders the entrees in the table can fill and do nothing until they visually see as boxing they are out.
We left shortly after 9 without dinner and most of the other places that my daughter and I can go are closed. In all we waisted an hour and are back on the road still hungry.
It is Sunday so we won’t be able to get decent food until breakfast. Very very unhappy.
Product or Service Mentioned: Panda Express Drive-through.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.