Just like other types of restaurants, fast-food chains have certain rules — written and unwritten — that must be followed. That being said, here are eight things you should NEVER do in a fast-food restaurant.
8. Not Knowing What You Want to Order
According to Insider, a former cashier at a major fast-food chain said that one of the most annoying things customers do is to wait until they reach the cashier to decide what they want to order. “Customers who don’t decide on what they want before it’s their turn and hold up others behind them can be annoying for cashiers,” the former cashier said. “While there are a few customers who give way while deciding, those who hold the line up don’t just annoy the staff but the other customers waiting in line.”
TIP: Be as clear as possible when ordering, and if your order isn’t correct, make sure you tell the employee right away. This is especially important if you’re in the drive-thru. That’s because it’s much harder to fix your order once you get to the window. That being said, listen closely when the employee repeats your order back to you to make sure they got everything right. Also, make sure you double-check the drive-thru screen to make sure your order is correct.
7. Ordering Extra Sauces at the Drive-Thru Window
Did you know that ordering extra sauces at the drive-thru window will take ten times longer? That’s because some McDonald’s locations will charge you for additional sauces, so then the cashier will have to take your extra money and run over to the closest register and ring in your sauce. That is unless the register is already being used by the person who’s actually assigned to that register. In that case, your cashier will have to wait until the other cashier is done with their customer. Then they can ring in your sauce, get your change, grab the sauce, and bring it to you. That’s a lot of work that can be avoided if you simply ask for extra sauce when placing your order at the drive-thru speaker box.
TIP: Don’t change your order at the window either. It slows down the entire process for you and the customers in line behind you, plus it makes the employees’ jobs more difficult.
6. Asking for Extra Things
Speaking of ordering extra sauces, an article published by Taste of Home magazine says that you really shouldn’t ask for “extra” of anything when placing your order at a fast-food restaurant. That’s because, “as soon as you say ‘extra,’ we have to enter it at the register and charge you for it. Instead, just tell us you want us to ‘put a good amount on there’ or ‘not to be skimpy with it,’ and we’ll load you up,” the article reads.
Also, don’t take extra things either. “When you take three handfuls of napkins or fill your purse with ketchup packets… I don’t know what you call it, but I call it stealing. You’re just making things more expensive for everyone,” the article also said.
5. Filling Up Your Free Water Cup with Soda
So, you think you’re being slick when you ask for water and take your cup to the fountain and fill it up with soda instead, huh? You might want to think again because chances are the restaurant staff knows what you’re doing. “Customers like to try and bypass paying for soft drinks by making free-water-cup requests, but this won’t make you any friends amongst the staff. You’ll likely be asked to pay for your drink if we see you,” Beverly Friedmann, a content manager who used to work at a major fast-food chain, told Insider.
By the way, some McDonald’s locations charge for a cup of water (usually to cover the cost of the cup), so you still might have to end up paying anyway.
4. Using the Bathroom without Buying Something
When you gotta go, you gotta go. We totally understand that. And, fast-food workers understand that, too. But, unless there is an emergency of some sort, it’s often considered rude to use the bathroom in a fast-food restaurant without buying anything. That’s because there are paying customers who may need to use the bathroom, too. And, if you’re in there hogging the stall, urinal, or what have you, those customers will have to wait longer. Plus, just popping in to use the bathroom creates additional work for the cleaning staff.
TIP: If you’re not going to make a purchase, you could at least donate some of your spare change to the restaurant’s charity collection drive.
3. Letting Your Kids Order Their Own Meals
Letting your children place their own orders at fast-food restaurants is a good way to teach them independence, but kids can be fickle sometimes. They can sometimes be shy, too. These things will cause them to hold up the line, which can be frustrating for some fast-food workers. So, you should order their food for them instead. Or, you could help them select what they want ahead of time and then let them order for themselves ONLY if the line isn’t long.
2. Leaving Your Table a Mess
Although customers aren’t expected to fully clean up after themselves, fast-food workers do find it annoying when they leave their trays and half-eaten food on the table. It’s just common courtesy to throw away your own trash. Not doing so just makes more work for the cleaning staff, who will have to not only wipe the tables and mop the floors, but will have to throw away your trash as well. Plus, cleaning up behind yourself just makes for a better dining environment for everyone. I mean, think about it. Don’t you hate coming into a restaurant and seeing trash and half-eaten food on the tables (and sometimes on the floor)?
TIP: Cleaning up after yourself doesn’t mean just creating “clean-up” baskets/trays with all your wrappers and bags piled on them. You need to actually throw your trash away and put the tray back where it belongs.
1. Making Weird Requests
“One of the most annoying parts of working in the fast-food industry is customers that make weird requests for their food,” Rodney Aeria, a former cashier at a major fast-food chain, told Insider. “As fast-food cashiers usually use the store’s system when keying in orders, many of these manual requests can’t be done.”
Weird requests would include things like adding other toppings or asking for your food to be cooked in a certain way. These requests can be a headache for the workers and can slow down the entire kitchen, making your wait time and the wait time for customers in line behind you much longer.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do in a fast-food restaurant, learn about the menu items fast-food workers say you should never order.