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Fixing the “Fast” in Fast Food

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When you hear the term “fast food” surely the thought of mouth-watering burgers, fries, and shakes begin to pop into your brain. But, the word “quick” may also register as a part of the distinction. The question is whether “quick” is truly efficient?

We’ve all been there. You’re swamped at work, busy trying to stick to your schedule and get all your work done efficiently, but need to eat. Suddenly you realize, oops! It’s lunchtime and you have less than 20 minutes before you need to be back in the office for a meeting. You didn’t pack a lunch and grabbing a meal at a sit-down restaurant is out of the question. The next best thing? Fast food time. And since you’re cutting it close, you decide that heading to the drive-thru is the most efficient way possible to get your food, eat it and be ready for you meeting with maybe a minute or two to spare. Right?

burger and fries

© Flickr user ebruli

Recently, a former McDonald’s drive-thru employee educated msn.com readers about the 10 Things Your McDonald’s Drive-Thru Worker Really Wants You To Know. It’s an intriguing perspective to say the very least. After all, when was the last time you thought about what the people behind the microphone are feeling? Sad as it is to admit, we drive through the drive-thru because we’re busy and hope to satisfy our hunger quickly. But the brutal truth is: we’re mainly concerned with ourselves in fast food scenarios. But isn’t that why the drive-thru exists?

In any case, while there are many valid points for consumers to take away in regards to the tips provided in this piece, there are definitely some inefficiencies that can easily be remedied on behalf of fast food restaurants across America. I’ve highlighted a few tips below with some of my thoughts following. So, let’s take a look shall we?

1. Ordering Extra Sauce

A 10-piece McNugget meal comes with two sauces for free and at some McDonald’s you’ll be charged for any additional sauces. So if you pull forward to the window and ask for a third barbecue sauce, I will have to take your extra money, run over to the closest register, wait for the person who’s actually assigned to that register to finish with their customer, ring in your sauce, get your change, grab the sauce, and then bring them to you. This whole drawn-out process can just be avoided if you order your extra sauce at the speaker box with your meal.

While it’s not shocking that additional sauce incurs additional costs (extra is extra after all), it is a bit naive in part of the restaurant to assume consumers recognize this fact. So, perhaps it is wise to train drive-thru employees to ask patrons if they’d like extra sauce upon ordering? By asking during the order, not only will the consumer be satisfied with their service, but the restaurant will have efficiently fulfilled the order with less of a headache.

drive thru

© Flickr user m01229

3. “Regular” is Not a Size

3. “Regular” is not a size. McDonald’s doesn’t have some fancy lingo for the sizes of its meals, like Starbucks. There’s just small, medium, and large sizes for most meals. So when I ask you what size Filet-O-Fish meal you want, don’t order a “regular.” If you do I’ll be forced to guess whether you mean small or medium, and on most occasions my guess is wrong.

I’m not a fast food expert, nor do I order it all that often, but I wouldn’t categorize the word “regular” as a fancy lingo for sizes. That being said, this confusing language can all be remedied with a simple change in the script:

Standard script: “What size Filet-O-Fish meal do you want?”
Efficient alternative: “Would you like a small, medium or large Filet-O-Fish meal?”

I Didn’t Make Your Burger (aka The Order Scapegoat)

I get it – it’s super annoying to have someone mess up your lunch order, but please don’t bring the sass with me. I entered your order into the computer correctly, but whoever made your burger in the kitchen (ie: not me) must have slipped up and given you no pickles when you asked for extra. I’d be happy to get you a new burger, but please don’t tell me “you messed up my order,” because I didn’t.

First, I do NOT condone treating any service provider poorly; particularly when it comes to food management. It’s a stressful job that no doubt takes a thick skin to persevere in! That being said, I find this tip troublesome for two reasons:

1. Mistakes do happen. We all know this. And while Joe Shmo at drive-thru may not be “okay” with his messed up order, it’s a way to help you learn and grow in your job. Whether the mistake was yours or not, take it in stride and use the scenario to assist in creating a better process moving forward.

2. One of the best ways to create a disgruntled working environment is to point fingers in blame. When a rift occurs on the job, it’s not a reason to make your co-worker the scapegoat. Instead, it should be a great opportunity to combine forces and work toward an even better, stronger process. Sidenote: in most cases, throwing colleagues under the bus is a problem, not a solution.

To learn more about how you can improve efficiency in your office, contact us today!

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Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

Ashley has been working with the AccelaWork team since 2008. She is a communications expert with a background in corporate work, and a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Public Relations. She lives in the greater Indianapolis area with her husband and four children. Ashley enjoys jewelry, fashion, and coffee.
Ashley Lee

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