Residents say noisy KFC leaves bad taste

The KFC in Observatory is alleged to be causing residents sleepless nights.

Residents of Arcadia Place retirement village in Observatory have complained that noise levels at the KFC outlet in Main Road have become “unbearable” due to an alleged failure to staff the drive-through window in the early hours of the morning.

Councillor Paddy Chapple, the DA candidate for the ward in the upcoming local government elections, is now considering laying a criminal complaint against the fast food chain, saying repeated attempts to have the situation resolved have come to nought.

However, in a statement to the Tatler yesterday, Gail Sham, KFC corporate communications manager for KFC Africa, said the company had been made aware of the issue regarding noise levels at the restaurant.

“We take these complaints seriously as we are active in the communities in which we operate and always aim to act responsibly. We are putting additional measures in place to avoid hooting, including signage for customers as well as the installation of a chime to alert staff members when cars enter the Drive Thru,” Ms Sham said.

Mr Chapple said the problem had occurred for “two or three years already”.

“The noise levels are particularly bad between 2am and 4am. You have a situation where people are out drinking or partying all night and then want to get a burger on their way home. However, no one is attending to the drive-through window, so people hoot and shout loudly for attention.”

Mr Chapple said the noise levels were causing the elderly as well as students in the area “endless sleepless nights”.

“The customers waiting for service also play music loudly in their cars, but no one is there to tell them that they are causing a disturbance to neighbours. When the wind blows the noise travels even further down Main Street.

“I am now at the point where I am considering laying a criminal complaint against the American multinational. The strange thing is that we don’t have these problems with the McDonald’s branch nearby. We are not against fast food outlets operating in the area. We just want the noise levels contained.”

Gerald Grace, chairperson of Arcadia Place’s residents’ association, said the noise levels were mostly affecting residents living on the Main Road side of the home.

“But that is still a large number of people, between 26 and 28 residents, who are affected and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time. You must remember that most of these residents are more than 80 years old,” Mr Grace said.

“We also have a frail care centre at the home, but no one seems to care at the KFC. I know the police do patrol the area, but maybe they should make a turn more often here.”

He added that the problem was exacerbated by minibus taxis hooting for customers at all hours of the day.

“The situation is completely out of control. This cannot be allowed to go on.”

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the university had not received any formal complaints about noise emanating from the KFC from students housed at its Obz Square residential block, which neighbours Arcadia Place.

“Should students be experiencing any noise, they are encouraged to report this to their wardens,” he said.