Sunday, December 09, 2012

Wendy's Old Fashioned Service on Elgin Street

On Friday for lunch I gathered my coupons and headed over to Wendy's (200 Elgin Street, Ottawa).  I had received some Wendy's coupons in the mail about a week ago and was wishing to use them before they expired on December 16th.

I visited around noon on Friday which I thought was going to be trouble.  When I arrived there my nightmare came true.  The lineup seemed lengthy.  I joined the line to see how this would pan out. 

Surprisingly the lined moved pretty quickly.  All three cash registers were open with friendly staff taking orders.  This was quite unlike some previous McDonald's experiences where there is a decent line, yet cash registers are left unstaffed.  At this Wendy's a manager also was working acting as a runner as well as problem solver if need be.  As well there was another staff member running as well.  So orders were being taken and food was arriving in a timely manner.  Watching this from other side of the counter as a customer was fun to watch the efficiency.

In less than two minutes I got to to front of the line and placed my order. 

The Order: 1 Large Fries, 1 Large Coke and 1 Single Dave's Hot N' Juicy Cheeseburger. (Coupon was for 1 Free Single Cheeseburger with purchase of Medium Sized Drink and 1 Medium Fries). 

In less than two minutes the manager had retrieved my drink and burger.  The employee working the fries brought forth the fries and I was over to the condiment station. 

There is, like at most Wendy's locations, only has one condiment station.  This creates issues when there is a volume of customers moving through as most condiment stations can take two customers at most.  At this location at this time there were three customers there with one of the three not doing much but standing there waiting for his friend to finish up.  A personal pet peeve of mine is people who insist on occupying a spot at the condiment station and not doing anything.  It is similar on the pet peeve scale as the person who stands in line at a fast food place for more than five minutes, gets to the cash and has no idea what he wants to order.  Like really?  Get out of the way!

I eventually got to the condiment station to retrieve the usual necessary ketchup, napkins and straw. I then proceeded to find a spot.  The restaurant seating was busy but I found a spot at the storefront window counter to watch the pedestrians pass by on Elgin Street.

The hamburger was the usual Wendy's burger with the added cheese.  The toppings though seem to have become a little less the way Dave would have wanted.  1 tomato slice slapped on with a poorly sliced rippled piece of iceberg lettuce.  The cheese at least was somewhat melted.  Not the best Wendy's burger but also not the worst fast food burger I've ever had.  Mediocre at best. 

The fries were not skimped on in quantity.  The large fry container was overflowing with Wendy's new sea salt fries.  Taste wise they are what you would expect from Wendy's.  Temperature wise they were room temperature and probably borderline up to Wendy's standards.  

Value wise the meal was decent with the coupon.  For $5.29 including taxes it was excellent value.  The regular #1 combo meal (1 Single Dave's Hot N Juicy Cheeseburger,1 Medium Fries and 1 Medium Fountain Soft Drink) is normally $6.69 before taxes.  The price without the coupon is starting to get a little steep especially considering, like other fast food places, the prices of these combos keeps getting jacked upwards.  But with the burger wars going on customers would expect better burgers with competitive pricing.  Sadly that does not seem to be the case.  All we get is higher pricing with different packaging like the new burger packaging concept at Wendy's. 

The new burger packaging at Wendy's seems to have gone chain wide.  This involves the burger being wrapped in the usual hamburger paper packaging with one end of the burger exposed.  The burger, wrapped in the paper, is then turned sideways and put in a cardboard container that holds it sideways with the open end exposed.  I'm still trying to figure out what the marketing genius who came up with the concept was thinking.  Why not just wrap the burger like Wendy's and McDonald's have been doing for decades, in paper wrapping?  This is because the average burger served at a Wendy's location definately doesn't look like the ones shown in the commercials.  Thus, why on earth would you want to showcase it in this method?  There are too many variables that could go wrong at individual Wendy's locations chainwide to expose the burgers visually.  

Overall,  the burger meal was what I have come to expect at Wendy's now.  Decent mediocre fast food at good prices if a coupon is involved.  Service at this location is pretty quick with the location obviously knowing when the peak customer volume is and staffing it appropriatly with experienced staff and managment on hand.

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