There are a few logical expectations when you walk into a fast food restaurant: that you’ll get served quickly, that your food will come relatively quickly and be hot, that you will be greeted with a smile, and that the quality and taste of the food will be consistent, and what you are familiar with.
But there are some things that the staff expect from customers, too. And sometimes, customers don’t live up to these expectations, which can be incredibly frustrating.
Here are 10 things people do at fast food restaurants that drive staff crazy.
It happens all the time: the customer stands in line for a few minutes, chatting with their friends or family members and glancing at the menu. Then when they get up to the cash, they act as though they’ve never been there before and need to analyze the menu, or like they haven’t just had five minutes to decide what they want. The cashier is left waiting impatiently for the person to decide what to order while customers behind them in line get agitated at the delay.
While this is super annoying inside the restaurant, it’s even more annoying in the drive-thru line where there are several cars behind you, all idling and wasting their gas waiting for the person to make a decision between a double burger with fries and a chicken sandwich. Come prepared!
Fast food items are pretty standard, and consistent among locations. And while it’s fine to add a tomato here, eliminate mayo there, or ask for extra cheese, lengthy and complicated custom orders where you ask for chopped instead of shredded lettuce or just one squeeze of ketchup are irritating.
Completely changing a sandwich suggests that maybe you should be eating somewhere different, or ordering something else from the menu. If you want a Big Mac without Big Mac sauce, for example, order a double cheeseburger. Or if you want your beef patty cooked to a specific temperature, consider going to a high-end burger joint that can accommodate such particular needs instead.
We get that some fast food restaurants can overload the salt on fries, making them near inedible not to mention very unhealthy given the high levels of sodium. But it’s still annoying when customers ask for fries without salt. It not only means that the staff needs to drop another fresh basket of fries, even if the fry tray is full, but then wipe it down to get all of the salt off the surface so when they drop the new fries down, they don’t get residual salt on them.
Now imagine if several people ordered their fries like this in a row. It would be a total nightmare! Bottom line: this is something reserved for people who medically need to avoid salt, not just so you can get a fresh batch of fries.
Look, it’s one thing if your burger is cold or your order is wrong. But complaining about the food quality, or worse, the calories of menu items in a fast food restaurant is like complaining about the conditions of your bed in a hostel. You get what you pay for, and you need to manage expectations.
Fast food is usually pretty consistent, so chances are your experience in taste will be the same every time. If your burger tastes like it isn’t up to par, or your sandwich has too much sauce for your liking, sorry, but this is fast food. You get what you get.
It’s fine to go into a fast food restaurant with friends and enjoy chatting while you guys munch on French fries, burgers, fried chicken, and burritos. But when you end up hanging out for hours, getting louder and louder by the minute, it’s not only disruptive to the staff but also to other customers.
Just as you expect to be served quickly and get your food quickly, you should also eat quickly, leave, and open up the table for someone else. If it isn’t busy and you want to hang around, fine. But don’t make the restaurant your personal living room or remote office.
Have a little courtesy in the drive-thru and only use it when you need to grab something and go, like a coffee, breakfast, quick meal combo for dinner, or a couple meals for the kids or family. Using the drive-thru to place a party-sized order is kind of ignorant.
Not only is this annoying for the staff because they have to rush to put this order together quicker than if it was being served inside, but they also then have to pass several items through the window and into your car. Not to mention all of the other drivers behind you who just want a quick coffee or muffin and have to wait for you to feed a house of 15 people. Consider parking and going inside if you have a large order.
Some fast food restaurants have play places that are designed for allowing kids to run wild while adults sit and eat in a civilized manner. But in the actual restaurant, your children need to listen and behave. They should be sitting and eating, not running around wreaking havoc.
Kids who make messes or cause trouble can cause undue stress for staff. These are often young teenagers working their first part-time jobs, not people who should be babysitting your children while you eat a cheap meal in peace.
The drive-thru has a fairly large speaker and microphone, yet some people still don’t speak very clearly. Or worse, each person in the car insists on ordering for themselves so the worker hears the driver fine, but then the person in the back on the passenger side is screaming their order intelligibly.
Consider figuring out your order beforehand and having the driver place the orders or whispering the items to them one at a time so they can order in a single, consistent and clear voice.
Staff is there to help you, and whether it’s a fast food restaurant or a fine dining establishment, everyone deserves respect. Don’t treat the staff as though they are only there to serve you, or be rude or inconsiderate to them, even if they do something wrong (maybe they are in training) or the food is slow to come out (probably not their fault).
Just as you expect a smile when you are being served, they expect a smile when they are speaking to you. And it can go a long way to making the day great for both of you.
There are several garbages and recycling bins placed throughout fast food restaurants for a reason. When you’re done eating, you should place your garbage and recycling in the appropriate bins and put your tray on top. Don’t leave everything on the table, expecting staff to clean it up for you. They have enough to clean up before closing.
Not only is this rude and ignorant, but it also means that no other customer can use that table until it’s cleaned, or the next customer must clean up for you. Surely your parents taught you better than that.