I have spent the greater part of three years working in the drive-thrus of a few different restaurants. I have seen and heard unimaginable things. I have dealt with dogs hopping into the building, drinks being thrown, and pranksters. I have pretty much had my run of the mill.
My experience as a drive-thru worker has allowed me to gain first-hand insight into the way that things work in the fast food world, including the do's and don'ts of being a customer. Allow me to enlighten you.
1. Know what you want to order
Nothing is more annoying that when we're in the middle of a rush and things are running so smoothly, and then you come along with the "uuuhhhhh... I need a minute." If you really had no idea what you were going to get, you should have just come inside. The menus never change so drastically that you are looking at something completely different each time you come.
2. Be mindful of our "drive times"
Speaking of wasting our time at the speaker, all places that I have worked have had a maximum time of 4 minutes to complete an order, from the second we say "hello" at the menu board to when you drive away with your food, it has to be done in under 4 minutes. Management will get on us about these times and have no problem yelling at us if we do not comply.
So yes, I would like to have a nice conversation with you about your granddaughter's newest obsession, but this is not the time or place. We have to get you out as fast as you can. We don't mean to make you feel rushed... but this is FAST food.
3. We see hundreds of orders an hour, we will mess up
The five people before you have ordered the exact same thing as you, only with a slight variation. I'm sorry if I forget to hand you your drink. It is no reason to scream until I cry.
4. Don't sit and check every single item in your bag at the window
I totally get wanting to check your bags before you leave, but sitting at the window, opening every sandwich, taking the bags completely apart, and then putting them back together, that is literally so unexplainably frustrating to us. We have already checked your order two times, we have confirmed any modifications with the kitchen staff, we know how to do our jobs.
If you want to completely pull your order apart, do it in a parking space.
5. For God's sake, turn off your fricken windshield wipers!!!
It might be raining, but you are sitting still, most likely in park, and have no need to see out your windshield right now. Every time your wipers throw that rain off to the side, it gets thrown on us. I did not ask for a shower. One shift while it's raining can leave us soaked. No one likes that. Just turn them off!
6. Get. Off. Your. Phone.
Fricken hang up. Stop texting. Get off Twitter. Not only is it annoying, it's so RUDE!!! Did your mother teach you nothing in terms of manners? Not to mention, I'm nosey, and I will tell all of my coworkers about the conversation you're having and we will make fun of you.
I should not have to consistently yell "Ma'am" or "Sir" to get your attention while I'm trying to hand you food. Rude.
7. If your dog can't handle the drive-thru, don't bring them
The best part of our day is when a dog comes through. We love petting them, giving them treats, and are more than willing to get them water if needed. However, if your dog is barking and growling at us, scaring us and the customers inside, that is not okay. Dogs barking in our ears at the speakers gives us headaches and is very annoying after a while. If I can't hear your order over your dog, that's not okay.
8. Don't forget your manners
"Please" and "thank you" go a very long way to us. Smiling back to us, treating us like humans, it's our favorite part of the job. We will tell you about our days and things if you ask, and we are willing to have those conversations. Just use those manners and you'll be our favorite customer that day.
9. Turn your music down
I love music just as much as the next guy, but when yours is playing so loud that I can't hear you and I have to shout, that's too much. Turn it down.
10. We love our regulars like family
And we worry about you like family. If we don't see you for a while, we start asking questions and will not feel better until we see you again. I know all about my regular's families, their jobs, and their orders. They make my job worth it.
11. Have your form of payment ready before you get to the window
You knew you were coming here, so why in the world don't you have your money ready to go? Especially if you have been sitting in line for the past few minutes. Come on, guys. Make our lives easier.