Things You Should Know About #fastfood

     As I'm writing this, I'm chowing down on my first (and probably only) Big Mac of the year. I love Big Macs but as a family, on a budget, we don't eat "out" all that often. AND as a person that spent 15 years working for (and eating at) McDonalds, frankly I'm a little burned out, but every once in awhile there is nothing as good as a Big Mac....
My favorite ad slogan.

    I haven't discussed my past life as a McDonalds employee, except in passing, before this but after taking a trip through my local McDonald's drive thru lane this evening I feel compelled to inform you of a few things.  I have worked for many well run stores and a few poorly run ones; my local store is one of the latter. So know that I'm not making excuses for them but because I have been on both sides of the counter, I feel I have a little more insight than the average customer. Here are a few things to know that will help make your dining experience more palatable.

  1. The employees are not paid very well. Until you get into upper management (store manager, area supervisor, etc) the pay SUCKS. They also don't have great benefits and if they work for a privately owned franchise they may have little to no retirement, health insurance or severance.* 
  2. It is a misnomer that the drive thru employees cannot hear very well. They, in fact, can hear what song is blaring playing on your radio, what your children are screaming saying in the back seat and your entire phone conversation. 
  3. And since I'm on the subject.... Turn your cellphone OFF! Up until about 10 years ago, the cell phone really did a big number on the drive thru headsets; basically you picked up the conversation over the headset. Now... it's just really annoying. If you expect the employee to pay attention to your order then show them the same respect and pay attention to them. If you are distracted by a phone call then you are probably telling them the wrong order. 
  4. Which brings me to the next point. The customer is often the one at fault when the order is wrong. I don't have any real numbers on this one but in my experience, it's nearly 80% of the time. If you are distracted by children, cell phones, the radio or are just a dumb ass then the best order taker in the world isn't going to be able to save you. 
  5. If you drive a big ass diesel truck, turn it off when you pull up to the speaker! To give you an example, try putting your ear up to an amplifier and have someone play an abrupt note. Jarring, huh?
  6. If it's raining, turn your wipers off when you pull up to the window to pay or pick up your food. It's no fun getting splashed all day long.  
  7. If you need to complain, do it nicely. If you go in there and blast the little girl at the front counter (who probably had nothing to do with your order) all you look like is a jackass. As a manager, I would give a kind customer the moon and more but the jerk that walks in there screaming and cursing will only get the food they were missing and a not-so-sincere apology. Remember, these employees are mothers, daughters, sons and fathers. Treat them the way you would want to be treated.
  8. It is a misnomer that these employees are poorly educated people who can't get work elsewhere. In today's economic climate, more and more of these employees are college educated individuals that are just trying to make ends meet or are people just trying to better themselves and their economic situation by taking a part time job. Remember, that drive thru employee you blasted over your cheeseburger having pickles today, just might be your mail person, bank teller or even your neighbor tomorrow. 
  9. The suicide rate among fast food employees is very high. I often said that every store manager was either a closet alcoholic, a chain smoker, or both. It is a high stress job with bad hours, poor pay and few benefits. 
  10. Those store managers that you look upon with disdain are in fact CEOs of multi-million dollar businesses. They are in charge of hiring, firing, ordering, training, supply and demand, P and L, marketing, community relations and a myriad of other duties and they manage all of this while still providing you with your morning cup of Joe and Egg McMuffin. It is a dance, and one that would be much easier without customers. (LOL)
  11. Say please and thank you. It's just the right thing to do! And you may be the only person that says it all day long....

     I hope that this list has given you a little insight into your morning drive thru routine. I'm going to get back to my Big Mac now.... *nom, nom, nom*

*I am not making excuses for poor customer service. Quite the contrary! I believe that no matter what you do in life you should do it proudly and whole-heartedly. Even when I was making $5.35 an hour, Yes, I'm really old! I believed in providing the customer with the highest quality service. Pride of purpose and ownership are qualities that must be cultivated.

Peace Out!
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