Now before you go all "WTF" on me, hear me out. I work in fast food and that requires that I make sure that when you're hungry, you get exactly what you want to eat and how you want it. My job is to make sure that food is cooked to the required standards of the establishment and that it's safe for consumption. The least you could do for me is make it a pleasurable experience for the both of us.
Here's 11 question you should ask yourself before you walk up to that counter or drive up to that drive-thru speaker.
Do I know where I am?
This is probably one of the most important questions. You're probably laughing right now, but there are times when we get customers who order the right food but just at the wrong restaurant. I actually did this one time myself. Not at a restaurant, though... It was a bank.
Am I familiar with this restaurant's menu?
This is important because it determines whether or not I have to think for you. I want to be ready to tell you about EVERY. SINGLE. EFFIN. ITEM. ON. THE. MENU. And I want to be able to maintain my fake smile while doing so. Also, if you are not familiar with the menu, please do me, my staff, and every other car behind you in the drive-thru a favor and just come inside.
What is my exit strategy if my card gets declined or I don't have enough cash?
It happens. You order your food, get ready to pay, only to have your card declined or you didn't have as much cash as you thought. There's no need to get embarrassed and there's definitely no need to get upset with the employee. Yelling at me that you have x amount of money in the bank isn't enough to pay for your food. Don't make an ass out of yourself. You're more than welcomed to call the bank, but please step to the side or pull your car into a parking space to handle business.
Do I treat the employees the way I would like to be treated?
I know there's been quite a bit of humor in this post, so I saved this one for last to make an important point. There's this stigma with working in fast food that shouldn't exist. Just because a person chooses to work in food service doesn't mean they're any less of a person than someone in another occupation. I've been in food service and have met some of the hardest working people I've ever known. Some of us come to work with every intention of wowing every customer we come across. We're out here working to feed families just like anyone else.
Is the driver competent enough to speak the order clearly and correctly?
This is for drive-thru customers. The only person that should be speaking to the order taker is the driver. Why? Because they are closest to the speaker. Trying to hear the passenger speak from the other side of the car is annoying AF! You can also slide with the back driver side passenger as long as they are directly at the speaker.
Am I in a right mood to deal with people?
If you constantly have issues with customer service when you eat out, take a moment to think about the vibes that you give off. Did you acknowledge the welcome you received when you walked in? Are you being polite to your cashier and other employees? Are you handing over cash or credit card into the cashier's hand and NOT ON THE COUNTER INSTEAD OF THEIR OUTSTRETCHED HAND? These small gestures can determine how you're viewed by the staff. Just like how you remember when an employee is rude to you, we remember when you are rude to us.
Do I know what I like to eat?
Again, another important one. If you know you don't like onions, make sure you ask if onions come on the item. If you like cheese, ask for cheese when you order. Making changes after your food is done can create a longer wait for you.
How much food am I ordering?
I personally don't mind big orders. What I DO mind is when you come through the drive-thru, order $74.87 worth of food and expect it to be done in 5 minutes. The biggest misconception about drive-thrus is that it's faster than ordering inside. Not the case. Most of the time, orders are made in the order they're received. Some place will accept call-in orders, which helps out tremendously!
How much time have I allowed for the possible wait?
This question is especially for those customers that decide on the way to work that they want to stop for something to eat, then get upset when they realized that everyone else in town wanted to come eat at the same place at the same time. I understand that fast food should be fast, but there are instances when that doesn't happen. Unexpected rushes are NOT the faults of any employee in the building.
Am I willing to pay extra for additional condiments on my food?
I can't tell you how many times I've dealt with a customer who wanted to complain about the price of their order after adding every additional condiment and also upsizing the meal. The menu clearly states the cost of each add-on. I would also like to add that if you're one of those customers who take personal offense when you're told dipping sauces are an extra charge, please learn to dip your fries in ketchup... It's free.
Does it take me a while to decide what I want to eat?
There's nothing wrong with making sure you get exactly what you want. When a line starts to form behind you because you haven't decided whether or not you would like cheese on your burger, that's when it's a little ridiculous.