Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Guide to Modern Dining Etiquette part2

     It's the holiday season!  The leaves have fallen from the tress along with the average temperature on our thermometers.  Goodies of all sorts pop up at shops and restaurants feature their seasonal dishes and deserts.  For most people this is the most joyful season of the year.  The promise of winter break, that vacation, the gift you just can't wait for.  Well that is unless you work at the bottom rung of the "Food" chain...
     "Fast Food" employees have it the worst in the food biz.  Most of the fast food chains stay open for the season and are JAMMIN'!  As are casual restaurants such as Denny's, who I had the fortune to work for as a server and Manager over the 4 years I worked for them.  With the mad dash to get to all the sales and the stress of waiting in long lines, it's no wonder patience can be towards the end even by your lunch break.
     I thought this would be the perfect time to address the need for a "Fast Food Dining Etiquette" revolution!  It starts with us and is handed down.  As it should have been from our former generation.  But sadly we missed something, frankly it was never there to begin with to be lost.  It's something most people would not even consider.
     Well I can't blame them.  Your not going to find a class that teaches the subject like fine dining.  It's more just common courtesy.  I grievously find more often than not that just like "stainless steel", "common courtesy" isn't.  That is to say stainless steel rusts and courtesy is not as common as it should be.
     Let's start with the drive through.  If your car is loud, music or engine, then you can expect problems.  Put down your cell phone.  If you can't stop talking long enough to place an order then why pull up to a ready to go fast pace dining experience.  Pull into a park and finish your call if it is that important.  Pulling up to a window with an animal might not be such a smart idea either.  Pit Bulls I don't know make me nervous.  I would refuse to reach out for money with a Pit hanging out the window.  What would you do?
     Know what you want, the drive trough is not for extensive menu browsing.  If you have small children you should know ahead of time what they want so the drive through attendant dose not have to hear "Johnny" cry because he can't have a coke to drink.  If your with a group put in your orders individually to avoid confusion.  I always insist on putting in my own (not separate checks mind you!) order so I get it right.  That may require you to roll the back window down, it's OK, it rolls back up.  Try to make it as uncomplicated as possible, unless your allergic you can pull your own pickles off.  Mustard and the like I understand, and melted cheese is difficult to remove, I often forget to ask for no cheese and it sucks!
     Try to have your money ready.  When I worked in fast food I would prefer to give you change than wait for what seems to you to be a faster transaction.  Don't change or add to orders when paying.  Go in if you forgot something.  If you insist on checking your order before leaving pull into a park and do so, do not inspect it at the window.  If you have a very large order then the drive through is not for you! There are often two lines putting out orders on high volume shifts.  One works the drive through and the other works on the lobby orders.  You ordering 20 double cheese burgers at the drive through defeats the purpose at the outset.
     It pains me that I have to mention this but don't pull into a drive through while drunk.  It happens a lot.  It would amaze you to know how many people pull up to the window with a drink in their lap!  Your slurring dose not help with smooth ordering.  I once had a customer pass out drunk while ordering.  I called the cops and had them taken care of and am proud to say I did so.  Imagine it was your family she hit on her way out of the drive through.
     Let's take it inside!  Being a civil person is all that is really required.  You should treat the person taking your order with some sort of respect, remember your one of hundreds that can ruin a day real fast.  Clean up after yourself.  It's not a full service diner.  You came here because you don't want to tip or your in a hurry, so don't make them work harder than needed for minimum wage.  Which brings me to taking hand fulls of condiments.  "I'll show them!" hahaha! you think.  All your doing is keeping prices up, oh yea you showed them alright.
     When it comes to having an order wrong don't flip a lid.  Remember that they are fast food employees for a reason.  Young forced to work after school by parents, people down on luck and passing through as I did, and who knows what other reasons.  Yelling at them dose nothing to solve the problem.  Keep this in mind as well, up to six or more people handle your order.  Lots of room for error.  Why so many people you ask?  Here's why. 
1) The cashier.
 2) The bread guy
3,4,5) Can all be Assemblers
6) pulls the order together and trays or bags it. 
 They also can't change anything as far as corporate decisions. If you have a problem that you can't resolve call the 800 number if you want anything to come of your complaint.  Trust me a manager will not do it for you.
     I hope the next time your out and in a hurry I hope this article sits in the back of your mind.  All we need is a little human decency to make the world around us just a scant bit better.  No need to freak out about a wrong order, it wasn't intentional.  No need to order 20 double cheese burgers in the drive through, really that's just ridiculous if you can't walk into an establishment.  Remember they work holidays so you don't have too.  Give them the respect they deserve and you'll find your visits more pleasurable as well.

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