Chicken Nugget Surprise Customer Service

I get the best stories from friends and readers! Here’s a great one from the fast food industry for your next customer service training class or coaching session:

Chicken Nugget Surprise Customer Service Training Story

My friend Julie and her sons went to a fast food place known for their chicken. When their meals arrived, Julie opened her little box and found three chicken nuggets inside. And snuggled right up next to them was a black ball that looked like a big blob of burnt batter. (How’s that for an alliteration?)

They were pretty surprised at this unexpected bonus. So when the woman who was clearing trays came by and asked if everything was okay, Julie showed her the big black ball. The woman peered in the box and said, “Oh my, now THAT is really special!” Then she called the Manager over.

The Manager took one look at the surprise inside and said, “My apologies! That should NEVER have happened.” He scampered away and a few minutes later brought them a coupon for a free meal, a new box of chicken nuggets and a cookie.

Then he said, “We just had a meeting in the kitchen to make sure this will NEVER happen again!”

Julie said, “They were falling all over themselves to make sure we were happy. I wasn’t angry or upset. I just wanted them to know about it.”

On their way out, her son wanted a refill on his drink. He told his Mom, “Yeah but everyone at the counter was busy with other customers, so I waited.”

Then, from out of nowhere, racing across the room came one man….

…who gave him a refill!

Turns out, the Manager who helped them was the franchise owner who just happened to be in the restaurant that day.

Julie said, “It’s amazing there. Everyone is clean cut. Shirts all tucked in. They call customers by name. When it’s busy, they stand in the drive-through lane, take orders and call it ahead so customers aren’t waiting as long.”


It’s refreshing to see excellent service at work in our community when we’re used to seeing so many mediocre and disrespectful behaviors. Watching good service come to life is inspiring and encouraging. In a crazy world, it makes us feel like something in life makes sense. And:

  • Consistency in day-to-day practices has a bigger impact on customers than once-in-a-while, over-the-top marketing campaigns or bells-and-whistles
  • Showing they care in multiple ways reinforces a verbal commitment to good service
  • You know they’re serious when they seize opportunities to teach IN the moment
  • Managers who respond quickly, then communicate results are great role models
  • And finally, you don’t have to have a book written about your company to have an influence

But who knows, maybe you’ll show up in an article or a training seminar on stellar service stories!

Related Article:

9 Words for Customer Service You Deserve


  1. The most impactful thing about this story was when the customer
    was told, “We just had a meeting in back and this will never happen
    again!” I get a lot of “I’m so sorry!” but not a lot of assurances that
    it won’t happen again.