When it comes to fast food restaurants one usually thinks of poor food quality and fast service. Yet when it comes to the Burger King of Middlesboro, the opposite is true. While the food quality is just about as good as you will find at any fast food place, the service is deplorable. I know the employees are not exactly skilled laborers, living out their life long dream and are working their little hearts out for minimum wage, but come on now, they can do better than that.
As you walk in expecting a warm and friendly welcome, you soon find out otherwise. To this date I have never seen an employee of the Burger King of Middlesboro smile, even though their name tags say “Bright, Friendly Faces” right under the employee’s name! They stand there with a blank, distraught stare on their face like they would rather be at the dentist’s office on the receiving end of a root canal than standing there at that moment serving you a hamburger. Every employee there, even the manager, is like that. Raises the point that maybe they are hired or trained to be like that on purpose.
On top of the very unfriendly, unwelcome feel you get from the initial approach, you’ll be surprised to know it will only get worse! Even though Burger King has the slogan “Have It Your Way”, you would do best in not believing a word of it. I always order a Whopper with onion and mayo only. They don’t have a system by which they can cancel or add to your hamburger on the register, so they have to scream back at the cook and tell them how to prepare your hamburger. Now in a perfect world, the cook would be able to remember all the special preparations and pair them with the correct order, but in the real world it never works out quite that well.
You order a Whopper with onions and mayo only and you could end up with just about anything. Maybe a regular Whopper with out onions or mayo, maybe a plain whopper or maybe even a chicken sandwich, it’s like putting a quarter in a slot machine. Like gambling with a shot machine, you take a chance on getting what you want and hope like heck you will get it, but you secretly know in the back of your head that the odds are against it ever happening.
Now to be completely impartial and in all fairness, the food actually isn’t all that bad after you do finally manage to “get it your way”! Everything is, for the most part, fresh and hot and worth the price paid. The food is far from a steak and potato dinner at your favorite steakhouse, yet for fast food it’s about the best your gonna get.
For all you neat freaks out there, who despise uncleanliness of any kind, you are forewarned to give the Burger King of Middlesboro a wide girth! Most of the ceiling tiles are brown from a leaky roof, some are falling or cracking. The trim around the ceiling is bowed and popping. On several visits it was impossible to find a table that wasn’t covered in spills or dropped food, crumbs or water. Over all the place could stand for a little maintenance and upkeep and cleaning of the tables. The restrooms are decent for a fast food place but found to be understocked most of the time. There is frequent spills in front of the drink station that I guess are left to be cleaned later or after they close since no one acts as if it is a problem to have a big wet, slippery spot in the floor.
The state of the interior of the restaurant has left me with trying to use the drive-thru for most visits. Having said that, don’t get your hopes up yet, though. They are so slow, that 9 times out of 10, I end up pulling out and leaving before I even get to place my order and 5 times out of 10, end up leaving before I reach the window. I have gave them ample time to change, in case they were in a slump, under staffed or something. After a year of service like this, I have gave up all hope of them ever changing.
In Tim’s big book of restaurant reviews, The Burger King of Middlesboro has earned an over all rating of 3.6 out of 10. Individual ratings follow. Cleanliness: 2.1 – Service: 1.1 – Food Quality: 7.5