Hello! My name is Linh and I’m an eighteen year old student living in Hanoi. Maybe you’ve seen me at the KFC on Nguyen Trai – that’s where I work part time.
I chose to work at KFC because I’m able to communicate and connect with others. I feel like KFC is my second family! It also gives me practical skills I can use for everyday life. It may not pay very well, but it’s enough for me to live on – and they’re flexible with my hours, too, so it doesn’t conflict with school. That’s big. I also love KFC because before working there I worked at some clothes shops and they weren’t so cool. I didn’t have to work weekends, but my shifts were still twelve hours a day, from like 9am to 9pm. It’s like the owners of the clothes shops, they may own the shop or a chain of shops, but do they have any sympathy for their employees? I think it’s a “no” when they know that we haven’t had any lunch and they don’t say a word. And when I do get to go for lunch at like 2pm – yes, 2pm! (laughs) – they still yell at me, saying, “How on earth can you leave the shop and go for lunch!?” KFC’s not like that. I’ve been working there for a long time now and my manager is way nicer than at the clothes shop. I mean, honestly, yes my salary is way lower here than at the clothes shop, but the attitudes of the managers and leaders here are much better. They’re so nice! And if they do yell at me, it’s about teaching me to do things better. They know their employees and treat them like brothers and sisters. And there’s no discrimination between managers and workers or between new employees and those who’ve been there for awhile. That’s cause everyone is told about this when they are hired. They really are like brothers and sisters and are always helping each other.
Before I worked here I didn’t even know what KFC was! (laughs) A girl that worked here introduced me to the restaurant, I sent in an application, and two weeks later I got an interview to start working. They used to only use that way for hiring people. Like I would have to work here for a few months and then I could help you get hired, too. They didn’t recruit people from outside. But now KFC is having staffing problems, I guess cause of the low pay or hours, and now they have to hire outside. Actually, they hired a bunch of new employees for a new KFC but it hasn’t opened yet so they’re all still working at my restaurant – we have 40 on staff total, but only 35 officially work here.
So yeah, working here is good. I asked to work in the mornings during the week cause I have classes in the afternoon. On the weekends I work evenings because I have classes in the morning. The managers are cool and work with my schedule request so I do my best to stay in line and follow all the rules. My shifts are 7 hours, since 8 hours is full time, and I do stuff like cleaning spilled food and filling the chili sauce and ketchup. I think what I do is good work for students – it’s not too much hard labor.
Oh yeah, I work on the lobby team. After the customer comes in, orders, pays, sits and eats, then it’s time for the lobby team to clean the tables. There a lot of different teams; lobby team, cashier team, supply team, cooking team, and managers. Each team has like four or five members, depending on the team. The cashier team and the lobby team each have more members cause there’s more chance of advancement from there. The supply team usually has 3 members and the cooking team only has 2. Almost all the employees are women, except for on the cooking team. Women are better at cooking, but cooking in KFC is totally different from cooking at home. It’s very strenuous and especially hot – girls cannot take it for very long. Another reason is that the cooking team only hires experienced employees or those who are training to be a manager. We call them “managing assistants” and they have to learn all the jobs in the restaurant before they can be promoted. The cashier team is who takes the money from customers, gives change, packages the food. Most importantly, though – they greet the customers, too. When you walk into a KFC you’ll see the cashier team first, then the supply team behind them, and the cooking team in the back. If it’s a small KFC, they’ll put the cashiers on the first floor, supply team on the second, and cooking team on the third. It’s the same like that in all the restaurants – just like the pay.
Since all the restaurants are linked together and the employees can talk to each other, the salaries are set. If one KFC raises the salary, the others have to, too. It’s a whole system and one manager cannot decide to raise an employee’s salary, even if he knows they need it and sympathizes with them. The raises come from a higher manager and it’s like VND 3.000/h for part time workers and VND 300.000/month for full time. I basically work seven hours a day, but when I’m tired and the manager knows it, she only makes me work five or six. And since my house is far from work, she also lets me go home an hour early, so I get to leave at 10pm when I work a night shift. I’m lucky for that and it makes my days better. For some people, a bad day at work is when they get yelled at by a manager or have a fight with a coworker. But I think differently when I’m in that position. Because I make mistakes and I don’t always do my job well, my manager or more experienced coworkers show me how to do things better. By thinking this way, and I just learn from the experience. Others think, “Oh, the manager yelled at me. I quit!” Then they don’t really develop any career path. But me, I love working at KFC. I want to go to work every day to talk to my KFC family and friends. I totally prefer doing that than sitting at home being bored!
Contributors: Minh Thư Diệp, Sean Decker, Phạm Phương Thảo, Huỳnh Đình Quang Minh