Five ways to make fast food friendly

Holly New

Working in fast food hasn’t been, and probably won’t be, my favorite job in the world. The problem is not the work itself, or even the depressingly low wages: It’s the not-so-awesome customers that really put a damper in my day.

If all our customers were patient and friendly, then the job would not be so hard. Help do your part and follow a few “rules of etiquette” when going to your favorite fast food restaurant.

1. When you go to the drive-thru and no one acknowledges your presence in the first three seconds, chill. Do not scream “hello” at us.

When a car pulls up, we are alerted by a very annoying beep that will not go away unless we answer you. Sometimes we are forced to multitask and have duties beside just taking orders.

Similarly, don’t start your order unless you are asked. We will speak to you when we are able to give you our full attention, so please take the few extra seconds and have your order ready.

2. If you are asked a question, I promise it has a purpose. If you say you want a “roast beef sandwich” and I ask you to clarify, don’t drive up to the window, don’t continue your order and don’t repeat “roast beef sandwich.” I heard you, so try to hear me.

We do not talk because we want to have a conversation over the speaker; we talk because we are trying to get your order together as accurately and quickly as possible. Taking the extra minute to fill your order is faster than the unnecessary time it takes to come back and complain.

3. Don’t make ridiculous requests. No, I cannot give a medium cup’s worth of only the curliest of fries because “that’s the only kind your son will eat.” Your son will get what everyone else gets. That being whatever form of fries that come out of the fryer.

However, if your request is legitimate, we will try to work with you. Just try to be reasonable. We are trying to work quickly and cost-effectively, and special requests sometimes slow us down.

Patience is a virtue.

4. Despite the stereotype, most fast food workers are not stupid, so please don’t assume we are. I’ve had many customers who speak to me as if I don’t English. I can assure you I’m not stupid, but I am human and can get flustered.

Give me the benefit of the doubt and hold off the rude demeanor and I promise I will work through whatever mental block has temporarily clouded me. Being rude and condescending will only make me less inclined to provide good service and will prolong the time it takes to get your food.

We get it: You’re busy. But so are we.

5. Please realize that we are grateful for your patronage. Whether or not we show it, we know that your purchase pays our checks. If you are dissatisfied, it’s OK to make a complaint. However, please do that with respect and you will receive respect in return.