Time And Fried Wait For No Man

, , , , , | Right | January 13, 2021

I have been working at this chain for a few years, so I am quite proficient at my job and am usually commended on my customer service.

I am on the dinner shift taking orders for drive-thru. As it is a busy night, they have rostered enough people on so that I can just take orders and I have a coworker next to me taking the money. There is already a long line of cars waiting to have their orders taken.

This particular fast food chain has timers for how long it takes from the customer arriving at the speaker box to when they pull out of the drive-thru. These will vary slightly depending on the length of your drive-thru. Our particular store has a three-minute timer that we are supposed to meet consistently to stay in the green.

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Restaurant]. Please place your order.”

The customer is in a van and is taking orders from various people in the car. Any time when it sounds as if she has finished her order, I ask:

Me: “Is there anything else I can get for you today?”

I have my managers talking over my headset, giving me updates on the timer, as they have cleared all of the drive-thru customers before her. The timer is over five minutes, and the line of cars is blocking most of the small car park. As we have two speaker boxes, one behind the other, the managers have already taken the order for the car stuck behind her, which is a singular meal.

This whole time, I have been as polite as possible and not said anything rude, but all of us in the store are getting frustrated, wishing she had come into the store to order. Around the seven-minute mark, I ask her:

Me: “Is that all tonight?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Finally! There is an audible sigh of relief from everyone listening in on the headset.

Customer: “For my second order…”

We do allow split orders in the drive-thru, though only usually two per car.

This order didn’t take quite as long, but I politely tried to hurry her along as she was well over the timer and had ruined our times for the night. We are ranked against all the stores in the country, and occasionally, the managers will offer free meals if we don’t go over the time on any cars.

She finally pulled up to the window at about the ten-minute mark. I was taking the next customer’s order and my frustrated coworker, who has less patience than I, was still polite but quite short with her trying to hurry her through the drive-thru.

After she finally left, my manager came down to tell me that she had complained about me, saying I was rude and rushing her through her order. Fortunately, my managers know I am always polite and listened to the whole conversation on the headset.

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We Can Only Be As Fast As Our Customers

, , , , , | Right | January 11, 2021

I work at a fast food place. It’s Saturday, it’s lunchtime, and it’s the school holidays, so we are unbelievably busy. A woman is in line with a little girl, and while I’m serving the customers in front of her, I can hear her complaining about how ridiculous the wait is and that we’re taking too long. She happens to be stood right next to our menu boards on the walls; we also have menu boards above the tills. Finally, she’s at my till.

Me: “Hi, sorry for the wait—”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I’ve been waiting for over ten minutes!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, we—”

Customer: “You’re supposed to be fast food!

Me: “Again, I’m really sorry. We’re very busy and—”

Customer: “Yes, I can see that! You should have more people here!”

Me: “I assure you, everyone who can be here is here today and we’re going as fast—”

Customer: “Then why is it taking so long?!”

Me: “I’m really sorry. It’s just very busy today, but the food is coming out quite quickly. What can I get for you?”

The customer then picks up her daughter and sits her on the counter — the counter where we put the trays of food for customers — and starts talking to her.

Customer: “Right, darling, what do you want?”

Girl: “Burger!”

Customer: “Do you want a cheeseburger? Darling, do you want cheese?”

Girl: “Burger!”

Customer: “Yes, but do you want cheese?”

Girl: “Yes, please!”

Customer: “And what do you want to drink, darling?”

Girl: “Milkshake!”

Customer: “No, you can’t have a milkshake; you had sweeties earlier. What do you want?”


Customer: “No, you’re not getting a milkshake. Do you want water? Do you want juice?”

This continues for every part of the girl’s meal. Now onto what the customer wants.

Customer: “Right… Erm… What do I want? I didn’t even think about what I’m having!” *Laughs* “God, I can’t even see this properly.”

She leans over the counter near my face and squints at the menu boards.

Customer: You used to do a burger… I liked it… Do you not do it anymore?”

Me: “Sorry, which burger was it?”

Customer: “You know the one, it came with cheese and a nice sauce and salad.”

Me: “The [burger #1]? The [burger #2] maybe?”

Customer: “No… No, it had salad in it.”

Me: “Everything you see up there is what we’re doing right now. Sometimes we have promotional burgers we only sell for a couple of months or so, and at the moment, we’re doing the [burger #1] and that has—”

Customer: *Continues squinting and leaning* “No… No, it’s not these… What’s that?” *Points*

Because of the position of the menu boards above my head and the tills, I cannot see what she’s pointing at, at all. I do my best to talk her through the burgers we do, but she just mumbles, “No,” at everything before finally deciding she wants… chicken.

The woman takes nearly fifteen minutes to order a kid’s meal and a chicken sandwich meal. I typically average forty-five seconds per customer. 

Me: “Okay, that’s £7.38, please.”

Customer: “How much?”

Me: “It’s £7.38.”

Customer: “Have your prices gone up?”

Me: “Erm… they went up by about 10p nearly a year ago but they haven’t drastically changed?”

Customer: “Unbelievable! Like you lot don’t make enough money!”

She glares at me and gives me £10. She has taken so long to order that all of her food is ready, but her daughter is still sat where I need to put her tray of food.

Me: “I’m sorry, do you mind if I put the tray up here for you?”

Customer: *Rolls her eyes* “Come on, sweetie. The mean lady says you can’t sit here now.”

Me: *Smiling with gritted teeth* “Would you like any sauces?”

The customer then starts moving the food and drinks around on the tray, inspecting everything, and doesn’t answer me.

Me: *Louder* “Would you like any—”

Customers:Where’s the ketchup?

Me: “Right here!”

I place three small tubs on her tray.

Me: “Enjoy your meal.”

The customer glares at me, takes two ketchups off, and throws them back at me.

Customer: “You’re very rude, aren’t you? I asked for one ketchup; there’s no need to take the mick!”

The customer finally walks off. She has actually taken so long to serve that the entire queue behind her has been served by my colleagues.

Manager: “Dear God in Heaven, how the h*** did you not slap her?!”

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The Argument For Removing Drive-Thru Time Averages From Performance

, , , , , , | Right | January 10, 2021

At my fast food restaurant, the drive-thru is timed, and these times reflect on manager and restaurant performance, so we’re pushed to go as fast as possible. Our times are averaged, and our goal is 1:15 at the speaker, 1:30 in line, and 1:15 at the window when we’re not in rush times.

This occurs an hour or so after the dinner rush. I’ve taken the customer’s order: two relatively cheap combo boxes with several modifications, some of which add to the price. One of these modifications is to add two freezes instead of drinks, adding $0.80 per combo. The line is long, so by the time they get to the window, their drinks are done and their food is nearly so.

They hand me their debit card, and I put it in the chip reader and wait a bit. The point of sale system says, ‘Insufficient funds,’ and requests another form of payment for the remaining $1.51. I ask the customer, and they ask for a fountain drink instead of one of their freezes. By now, they’ve received their food, and we’re deep into the two-minute mark at the window, but I do my best to smile, pour the drink, and rerun the card, foolishly assuming that they’ll pay the difference now that I’ve lowered it.

Shockingly, they still only wanted to pay with the card. Their bud next to them is already drinking out of their other freeze, so I can’t swap that one out for a fountain drink; they’re eating their food, so I can’t swap it out, either. My partner’s getting annoyed; we’re well into four minutes and the customers are rifling around for loose change.

After we reach five and a half minutes, I give up. Someone has given me their change as a tip, $2.92. It is the largest tip I’ve ever gotten from a customer, and I was proud of earning it. I wave the car on, put 92 cents in the register, and try very hard not to scream as I look out the window to see the line of cars wrapping around the building. I almost cry. 

I can comprehend not having a ton of cash, but if you’re unable to pay for your food, don’t order extra expensive modifications! I’m disappointed that I had to give up part of my tip, but it just wasn’t practical to keep the customer there anymore, and my managers were getting more and more irked at the holdup. Oh, and our averages were ruined for the next two hours of my shift. I wish I could say this was the only irritating customer that night, but that would be lying.

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When The Day Feels Twice As Long

, , , , | Right | January 8, 2021

Customer: “Why am I being charged for two days? I only had it for forty-eight hours!”

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The Couponator 23: The Time Destroyer

, , , , | Right | December 29, 2020

At my restaurant, as with most fast food establishments, we are graded on our drive-thru times. One of these times is how long it takes from the moment the guest pulls up to the order screen until the moment they drive off with their food. It doesn’t matter if it’s our fault for taking too long, or theirs for sitting in the drive-thru for five minutes figuring out what they want — while holding up any cars behind them. It looks bad on the employees.

A woman pulls up to the order speaker. She keeps changing her order, asking the cashier to repeat back what she’s already ordered, modifying her sandwiches five minutes after she ordered them — so three or four minutes after they’ve been made, meaning we have to remake them — spending a good ninety seconds four separate times talking to people in her car to figure out what they are all trying to order while not speaking to my cashier, etc. All in all, she spends over twice as long ordering as we are supposed to spend getting people from the speaker, to the window, to gone.

We have a whole sheet of coupons that just got delivered in the mail a few days ago.

The cashier has the sweetest nice-girl voice and is unflappable when dealing with customers, no matter how crappy they act.

Cashier: “Your total is $50; please pull around.”

Customer: *Pulls around* “Your total was wrong; I have these.”

The customer shoves an entire sheet of coupons into my cashier’s hands.

Cashier: *Still cool as a cucumber* “Yes, ma’am, I put your coupons in already, your total is $50.”

Customer: “I didn’t even tell you I had coupons!”

Cashier: *Still totally calm, sweet as pie, and unflappable* “At the beginning, you told me you had coupon one for two [specific sandwiches], and coupons two and three for your free shake and for a discount on [other sandwich], so I assumed you had the whole sheet of coupons and put in every one that applied to your order, even if you didn’t specifically mention it. Your total is $50. Do you need any ketchup or other sauces in your bags?”

All in all, this woman ruined our drive-thru times for that hour and made every person in the store cranky as h***, but this teenage girl on the drive-thru dealt with it so well! I was amazed. She can have my manager meal for the day any time she asks!

The Couponator 22: Coupons Of Mass Consumption
The Couponator 21: The FINAL Sale
The Couponator 20: Coupons Of Mass Consumption
The Couponator 19: Fast Food & Furious
The Couponator 18: The Digital Revolution

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