Monday, 2 November 2009

Newcastle-Under-Lyme KFC: Branch Opening


It is not often that KFB gets to visit a new branch on the day it opens, what with the daily grind and constraints of work. However this new branch in Newcastle-Under-Lyme is a mere stones throw from my place of employment. After work I headed straight there to sample what I hoped would be some fine cuisine and to witness history in the making.

This new branch is situated on Liverpool road at the site of the former Hanging Gate public house. However the old building has been demolished to make way for a purpose built state of the art eatery. Here is the first look:

Visited 2nd November 2009 (opening day) 6pm.

OVERVIEW
At 6pm this was peak time and I could only just fit through the door before being confronted by a rather large queue. Although there are other more established branches within just a couple of miles of this new one it seemed that many curious Novocastrians had flocked here in their scores to appraise this new and seemingly welcome feature of the town.

Having always played second fiddle to nearby Stoke-On-Trent, Newcastle will welcome the advent of this new era, seeing itself as finally having achieved parity with its nearby rival in the fine dining arena, by finally witnessing the arrival of KFC.

This restaurant does have a provincial air about, it is small, with at most, seating for 40 hungry diners. Its decor is of course modern but features low easy benches to better accommodate the slower pace of life out of the capital. I personally find these lounge style benches unconducive to serious eating and prefer to see branches with the banquet table, which nearby Fenton branch boasts. This restaurant also offers a Drive Thru facility to increase its rate of sales. It is located on a busy thoroughfare and looms invitingly to the hungry passing motorist.

CLEANLINESS
On this occasion the restaurant was spotless due to its infancy, although the tables could have been cleared a little more often. This minor indiscretion can be forgiven however due to the busyness of the branch at the time.

TOILETS
Its toilet facilities are also noteworthy and have been witnessed in a few of the smaller branches, one unisex cubicle that also accommodates any disabled patrons is all that is on offer. However during this particularly busy visit this limited number seemed to cause neither problems or queues.

THE STAFF
There were a many staff who seemed (as it was the first day) to know what they were doing. I saw only 'team members' as opposed to any white shirted 'team leaders' but the apparent lack of figurehead hadn't left the team rudderless and they functioned well. They were however as usual let down by customers whose aural skills were laughable. I saw one staff member become irritable after he had shouted out an order which remained unclaimed after his fourth clear and loud proclamation of its readiness. In KFBs book if you have ordered and are waiting for food then the onus is on you to keep your attention focused in order to claim it as soon as it is ready.

THE ZINGER TOWER
This is the yardstick by which each branch can be measured. This particular burger impressed. It was well constructed needing no realignment, the hash brown perched squarely atop the fillet which itself sat squarely on the bun, there was plenty of salsa and the lettuce as usual was verdant, crisp and plentiful, whilst the amount of Mayonnaise was not overpowering. The Hash brown was well cooked and crispy. The burger had been sat for a couple of minutes as evidenced by the advanced melted state of the cheese, its overall taste though showed it had not sat too long. The Fillet itself had plenty of zing and the ETC coating was just perfectly balanced between crispy but not overcooked. The Chicken could have been slightly more juicy and the sesame kaiser bun was slightly over toasted. Overall the ZT 8/10

THE GRAVY
A poor one step though allowable in this instance as there probably wasn't yet any crackling to produce that fine 3step we all know and love.

THE CHIPS
I Lucked out and obviously enjoyed some chips from a fresh batch. Hot, crispy and delicious.

ANCILLARY ITEMS ISLAND
Each item bin contained its designated offering although one or two of them were running low and as all the staff seemed to be busy behind the counter I wonder how long it was before one or more items was unavailable.

What disappointed about this particular visit was the lack of celebration that a new KFC had sprung into existence. This should be celebrated by opening offers or even at least a banner with a proclamation of greetings. Sadly there was utterly no indication that this restaurant had opened this very day. However despite this, this has the potential to be a great little restaurant, although a bit too far out of my way to visit often. There will be a follow up to this post in a couple of months to see how this restaurant has continued to fare.

Overall Rating 7/10

6 comments:

ALbad said...

Very informative and insightful as always, DG. The Zinger sounds marvellous. The branch is no Europe's biggest though is it?

HM2K said...

Awesome post guys, I found it very useful to confirm this was actually open.

I laughed all the way to the KFC.

awoodvine said...

I just visited this KFC - there was entertainment on!

http://www.twitvid.com/OBIBM

The staff handled the crazy man fairly well though. He probably thinks he's clever, but he's a frustrated idiot.

Anonymous said...

Ive eaten in kfcs all over stoke for 10 years and the newcastle one is by far the best quality for speed and efficiency the staff are clening tables as people leave the food looks like the posters for once i have nothing but praise for the staff there if you lot read this dont change a thing pls!! you got it running like clockwork best kfc ever in stoke! And beleive me ive eaten in a fair few kfc's all over britain you lot top the list infact see ya in a min lol ..... Sinz

phil cook said...

popped into kfc newcastle under lyme for lunch on 26/11/11 , the young man who served us was so polite he should be used as a role model for all fast food outlet staff . food was fantastic as well.

Anonymous said...

Just been through drive through - 1 piece of chicken short, no straws, napkins, wipes or salt, or forks for coleslaw and only 4 other customers in store.