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14 Fast-Food Workers Reveal the Customer Habits That Annoy Them the Most

Remember, on the other end of that drive-thru speaker is a human being. Check out the things customers do that make fast-food workers crazy.

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McDonald's drive thruYaoinlove/Shutterstock

Have your order ready

In order to keep this food fast, it helps employees when you have your order ready. “I can’t tell you how many times a car pulls up to the drive-through containing five people, none of whom know what they want. It takes forever and holds up the entire line, angering the cars behind them who take it out on me,” says Marisol, who worked at a McDonald’s for two years.

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Wendys ExteriorKen Wolter/Shutterstock

Set realistic expectations

Fast food isn’t fine dining. While employees generally strive to provide the best service and product possible, the quality is only as good as provided by the franchise. “At a fast food chain, the quality is the same across the board because we’re usually getting our ingredients from the same source,” says Jason, who worked at a variety of fast food chains for three years. “Don’t expect filet mignon when you’re ordering a burger off the dollar menu.”

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Order placement point at a drive-thru fast food restaurant.Stephen Barnes/Shutterstock

Speak clearly

If the employee on the other end of the drive-thru speaker sounds muffled, imagine how you sound when they’re trying to take your order. Getting annoyed when you need to repeat an order helps exactly no one—least of all, yourself. “We want to get your order right, so we may ask you to repeat yourself to get the details correct,” says Jason. “We’re not trying to insult you when we ask for clarification on an order.”

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Fresh fries, fast foodSyafiq Adnan/Shutterstock

Special requests are going to take time

If you want your fries “fresh,” it’s going to be a minute (or more). A common grievance among fast-food workers seems to be when customers insist on fresh fries, or try to duck and dodge those they don’t deem fresh by requesting them without salt (which then forces the fry cook to make a separate batch). “Especially during the lunch rush, we’re constantly moving orders along, so the fries are nearly always ‘fresh,'” says Louisa, who worked in fast food throughout high school and college. “If you want something specific, you’re going to have to be patient for it.” Find out how your favorite fast food chains got their names.

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Carl's Jr.PL Gould/Shutterstock

Treat others as you want to be treated

“Just because we’re serving you burgers and fries doesn’t mean we’re less of a person than you are,” says Molly, who works part-time at a Carl’s Jr. in California while going to school to earn a bachelor’s degree. “I hate when customers treat me like I’m stupid or beneath them because I’m taking their order.”

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Child eating fast foodChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

Keep your kids in check

Yes, fast food means a casual dining environment, but that doesn’t mean you should leave behind a mess of gigantic proportions. “I’ve seen parents allow their kids to spread ketchup and other condiments all over tables and chairs, not bothering to clean up the mess they’ve made. We are there to clean up after you, but that doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to leave a disaster behind,” says Molly. These are the most convenient fast-food restaurants, according to customers.

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McDonald's ice creamW.Kulczycki/Shutterstock

Don’t be a Goldilocks

Too hot, too cold—sometimes it seems like no order is ever “just right.” “I’ve had customers complain that their ice cream was too cold,” says Marcus, who has worked at McDonald’s for eight months. Complain all you want; even when your food is made to order, employees may not be able to get your items to your desired temperature. Check out the secret menu items from your favorite fast food restaurants.

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Arby's signJonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Promotions can be the bain of an employee’s existence

When a chain advertises a promotion with free French fries or any other sort of hot commodity, the loser in this situation is almost always an employee who now has to deal with an overwhelming rush of customers. “If there’s a promotion with limited supplies, we almost always run out quickly and then have to deal with angry customers. No one cares about the fine print, somehow we’re responsible,” says John, who worked at several fast food restaurants throughout college.

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Taco bell and KFC drive thru menuBoofoto/Shutterstock

Don’t complain about the nutritional value

Chances are, if you’re in a fast food establishment, you’re already aware of how healthy or unhealthy their offerings are. Don’t take it out on the employees who didn’t set the menu. “I’m not forcing you to order those French fries, so please don’t complain to me about how we’re the driving force behind the obesity epidemic in our country,” says Marcus. Here are the 9 foods nutritionists never order at fast-food restaurants.

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Competitors mealkamui29/Shutterstock

Don’t try to order a competitor’s meal

If you want a specific chain’s special sauce, go to that establishment. “There have been so many times when I’ve had customers ask me to try to recreate the exact burger they get at a competing franchise,” says Marisol. “If that’s what you want, go there instead!” Find out the craziest things drive-through workers have seen on the job.

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Closing times at fast food restaurantsQualityHD/Shutterstock

Consider closing time

Although you may pat yourself on the back for getting your order in under the wire of a restaurant’s closing time, know that the employees aren’t thrilled. “My pet peeve was customers who came in five minutes before closing time and ordered three tons of food,” says Jackie, who worked at Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips.

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Einstein's BagelsJonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Pay attention

In many fast food restaurants, menus are posted on the wall to provide customers with a clear view of the offerings. Employees would like you to use those. “I would get so annoyed when there’s a long line and customers have plenty of time to pick what they want, but then take forever when it’s their turn,” says Cheryl, who worked at Einstein’s Bagels. “Usually it’s because they are on their phones.” Read up on these 12 fast-food “facts” that are actually false.

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waste of food in the fast food restaurantMike_shots/Shutterstock

Trash bins are there for a reason

In some cases, one person’s trash is another’s treasure—but that doesn’t apply to fast food. There are trash receptacles placed around the restaurant for a reason: for customers to use them. “I hate it when someone leaves their trash on the table and there’s a bin a foot away. Clean up after yourself,” says Marcus.

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Carl's Jr. exteriorSupannee_Hickman/Shutterstock

Save your jokes

No one has time for drive-through humor. “I worked the drive-through at Carl’s Jr. and people thought it was so funny to end their order with ‘for here,’ says Marc, who worked at the chain in California. “They would also try to add more food to their order at the pick-up window.” Don’t miss the 33 other things fast food workers aren’t telling you.