Fast Food Customer 101

I’ll bet you patronize fast food establishments occasionally. It’s beneficial to stay on your server’s good side. Here’s how:

Don’t order the competitor’s special. McDonald’s doesn’t sell Whoppers and Burger King doesn’t make Big Macs. Fast food isn’t fine dining, but each company has it’s own terms and knowing them will expedite your order.

Use the proper coupon for the dining establishment you’re visiting. Arby’s doesn’t honor Wendy’s coupons and vice versa.

Understand how your coupons can be combined (rule of thumb: they can’t). A customer recently gave our store a bad review online because she couldn’t combine coupons to get a free meal. News flash: there’s still no free lunch.

We’ll customize your sandwich just about any way you want. Condiment changes are usually complimentary, but expect extra fixings to create upcharges.

There’s a real person on the other end of the drive-thru intercom. Speaking with manners, like “please” and “thank-you,” is noticed and appreciated. You’re typically speaking with the most tactful team members when you place your order, so courtesy is due.

The entire back of the store can hear you ordering over the drive-thru intercom, so blaming the drive-thru server for entering your order wrong when you misspoke isn’t fooling anyone. Just sayin’.

Don’t verbally abuse the service staff. Drive-thru customers tend to be the culprits on this one. I think it’s because they feel anonymous and have a quick get-away. Drive-thru privileges needn’t invoke bank-robber behavior.

Especially don’t verbally abuse underage employees. This doesn’t sit well with most managers, who know exactly who the minors are and understand child-labor laws better than you do.

After the regular dinner hour, employees begin cleaning and prepping for the next day. You can still get your needs met, but understand that placing elaborate orders will make longer wait times.

Don’t look down on fast-food employees. A co-worker ranted about this last night: “People have looked down on me, asked me why I work fast food. I’m seventeen, what kind of job do you think I should have? Some 17-year-olds are sitting on their butts, smoking weed, and getting money handed to them. At least I’m doing something!” Amen, sister!

Fast food work is more complex than it gets credit for. We have 39+ dinner items on the menu, customize endless variations by request, everything is made from memory (no cue cards), cooking surfaces are hot enough to produce third degree burns, and we’re watching the clock to deliver your order in record time. We’re the unsung superheroes of your speedy dining pleasure.

You’re welcome; come again soon.

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