Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fast Food Workers: Here’s How to Lose Me as a Customer

It would seem some fast food workers need better instruction in providing good customer service…at least if they want to stay in business.

I dropped by a popular fast food restaurant the other day for a breakfast biscuit. The restaurant is a big name eatery but the specific franchise isn’t always all that speedy when it comes to serving customers.

But this time, it took slow service to new heights.

I pulled up to the order station in the drive-thru after waiting what seemed to be an unusual amount of time behind the car ahead of me. It appeared to me as if it took a long time before he was invited to place his order. When he pulled forward, I drove up and waited to place mine.

And I waited.

And waited.

After waiting for what felt like at least a minute with no sound whatsoever, I glanced at the clock in my car: 10:12am. Well, they stop serving breakfast at 10:30am, so I surely had plenty of time. So I waited. No sound. It was so silent, in fact, I was beginning to suspect the speaker wasn’t working and someone was too lazy to tape an “Out of Order” sign on the menu board. I glanced at the clock: 10:14am.

“Hello?” I said into the order board.


A woman in a white minivan had pulled in behind me and was beginning to look at me like I was the one with the problem. So, going with the broken speaker hypothesis, I pulled forward, driving around the building to see two cars waiting at the window. The second one in line had been the one right ahead of me at the order board.

But there was no sign of a fast food employee at the window. We all just sat there. Waiting.

At 10:19am, someone appeared at the window and gave the person a bag of food, then asked the person to pull forward and they would bring the rest of the order.

The next car pulled forward to the window. The employee disappeared again. I glanced to my right and saw the woman in the white minivan driving through the parking lot; apparently, she had given up all hope of being waited on from the silent speaker.

Finally, the fast food worker appeared at the window, took the payment of the man ahead of me and disappeared again. As he returned with that customer’s bag, another employee walked out of the restaurant with a bag for the car that had been in front of him.

Both cars drive off. I pull to the window.

It’s 10:22am. I’ve been in line for 10 minutes and I’ve yet to order.

Of course, the employee doesn’t realize this. He comes to the window and attempts to confirm what my order had been.

“I actually haven’t ordered, yet,” I said. Before I could say anything else, the guy rolled his eyes. “Well, I’m sorry, but I sat at the order board and never got a response and I thought it might not be working.”

Wait a second: why am I apologizing to someone who just rolled his eyes at me?

“What will you have?” the man said impatiently.

I ordered. He took payment. Then he instructed me to pull forward.

The next car got to the window. There was at least a good minute before the employee showed up at the window to take his payment. A couple of minutes later, he returned with that customer’s bag, and they drove away.

The eye-roller then brought me my bag of food. No word. No apology for the delay. No apology for the confusion.

The time was 10:34am.

I waited 22 minutes for “fast food” served with a big dose of attitude.

I don’t mind waiting.

Even when the whole concept is called fast food, I understand things will sometimes take a little extra time.

But I mind being ignored. He could have spoken to me at the board and said something along the lines of, “Sorry, could you hold for just a moment?” At least then I would have been acknowledged.

And I mind someone rolling their eyes at me when they’re the ones who failed to provide any service at all.

And I also mind a failure to acknowledge that my time was blatantly wasted by their disorganization.

There are plenty of other fast food restaurants that serve breakfast. You can bet the next time I’m in the mood for a biscuit, I’ll be going to one of them.

Leave a Response

Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.