Winning service

Tahlequah KFC general manager Gayla Wright won a corporate competition earlier this year for customer service. KFC Chief Operating Officer Brian Goldstein, left, came to Tahlequah to meet Wright and the rest of the Tahlequah KFC staff.

Gayla Wright, general manager of the Tahlequah KFC for 30 years, is known for her exceptional customer service.

Earlier this year, Wright and her team entered a competition, hosted by KFC’s corporate office, to show how they extend customer service. The Tahlequah KFC put together a video of Wright and the staff serving food and helping customers.

“It’s just a simple, everyday process we do,” said Wright. “You’ve got to treat your customers like it’s your home that they’re coming into.”

To Wright’s surprise, she won the contest, and was invited to travel to the KFC headquarters in Louisville, Ky., to be chief operating officer for a day.

“It’s built and made to look just like the White House,” said Wright.

She toured the company’s museum, where items from Col. Sanders’ original restaurant are on display.

Wright also saw the KFC test kitchen and the communications room where employees handle issues around the world in real-time.

What impressed Wright most was finding out KFC corporate employees also spend time working at local KFC restaurants. She believes this keeps them from “losing focus” of what it is like working on-site and serving customers.

But during her trip, she did not get to meet the man whose position she took for the day: KFC COO Brian Goldstein.

So Goldstein decided to visit Wright here in Tahlequah.

The Tahlequah KFC employees wanted to give him a warm reception to compare with Wright’s at the KFC “White House,” so they made a sign, and all employees who were available came in to welcome Goldstein.

For Wright, the date was especially meaningful: The day before was her 10-year anniversary of being breast cancer-free.

“So this is a treat to see him on this day,” said Wright.

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