13 Polite Habits That Fast Food Employees Secretly Dislike
Making a fast food faux pas is no fun! Here’s a look at the most common friendly mistakes—and what to do instead.
Not so fast
There are all sorts of things your fast food worker won’t tell you, including some of the habits they find annoying. Some of those are probably pretty easy to figure out—they don’t like it when you’re rude, throw trash on the floor, or let your kids run amok through the restaurant. But there are also plenty of things you do, that you probably think are helpful or polite, that bug them just as much.
Not correcting a mistake in the order
Be as clear as possible when ordering so nothing gets lost in translation. The employee will repeat your order back to you, or you’ll be able to see it on a screen, so make sure everything looks correct. It’s harder to fix once you get up to the window. These are the fast food copycat recipes you need to make at home.
Handing over extra money
Your total is $17, so you give the cashier a $20 and two $1 bills, expecting a $5 in return. It makes things easier on your wallet so you’re not carrying around extra bills, but it’s not always easy for fast food employees to add in that they’ve taken in extra cash—especially if they’re in a hurry.
Waiting at the drive-through window
The drive-through at certain chains will have you pull to the side or into designated parking to keep the flow of orders coming. You might think it makes things easier on employees to park and wait at the window instead, but they want you to follow the directions. Find out which fast food joint has the fastest drive-through lanes.
Ordering for the whole office
Sure, you’re bringing in big business, but when you order lunch for ten at a fast food drive-through, it slows the whole line down. Instead, order inside the restaurant or better yet, call in an order in advance. Find out the most popular regional fast food spot in your state.
Waiting at the register for condiments
If you’re at a fast food spot that has packets of ketchup or hot sauce, ask for them up front instead of standing near the register once you’ve already received your order. This keeps the line moving for everyone else and the employee behind the register won’t have to leave his or her station. Here are 12 more fast food “facts” that are actually false.
Paying with TONS of change
You might think you’re doing the cashier a favor, but you probably aren’t. Paying in change can leave your register worker fumbling to count or give you change back, holding up the line. If you absolutely must, make it as easy as possible (using only quarters, for example) and not an assortment of change. John Frigo, who worked as a fast food drive-through employee for several years, finds this habit particularly vexing. “Not sure if [paying with exact change] is a polite thing for my sake or they just want to get rid of change, but it’s annoying [to have to be] hanging out the window in the cold, waiting two minutes while someone gets rid of all their pennies,” he told RD.com.
Checking your drive-through order
Don’t check your order at the window! Pull into a nearby parking spot to make sure you have everything you need. If something ends up being wrong with your food, however, it’s always OK to speak up. Learn which fast food restaurants customers say are the most convenient.
Letting others pass you while you decide your order
“Please, have an idea of what you want or read the menu before you get in line,” implores Gianetta Palmer, a freelance writer for CarInsuranceComparison.com who worked in food service for eight years. “As a worker in a pizza joint, I would become annoyed with a customer who couldn’t make up their mind. They would stand there reading the menu board until a line formed and then let people move in front of them, apologizing the entire time.” If you do this, you probably think you’re being polite by letting people go in front of you, but the really polite thing to do would be to decide beforehand. Having a customer hovering by the counter, trying to decide, can put the employee in a tough spot. “[Sometimes] I need to move to the back to do something like remove food from the oven, but I can’t leave the counter because I have a ‘potential’ customer,” Palmer told RD.com.