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Fast Food Places Performance


Carrot Top
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Even with computer systems, training systems, limited menu choices, and short point-to-point time from order to hopeful delivery, I find that in general three times out of four something is incorrect on any fast-food order from some places. It does not seem to be geographically based but widespread.

If it is not that they forgot the ketchup asked for, it is that they did not provide napkins. If it is not that they ignored the request for a "plain, with nothing on it but the burger and bun" burger and instead loaded it with every limp tomato slice warm lettuce leaf and brightly colored sauce available in the Western world, it is that they do not know which drink is which that they just topped off and handed to you. If it is not that, then the drinks are watery. If it is not that, then they do not have what is on the menu or need time to prep it.

Is it just me this happens to? :biggrin:

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I have found that using online ordering systems helps. You get a chance to review what you have ordered and can see if your special requests are listed like you want. It is not perfect and does not ensure that they will actually make what you've ordered but it is better than giving your order to someone on the phone and hoping they wrote it down correctly, which can be a real worry if you are ordering from somewhere where English is not the preferred language.

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Yes, I would agree, toweringpine, in that circumstance.

But what about drive-thru places where supposedly the order taker and the customer speak the same language? :biggrin:

Even reviewing what shows up on the screen does not appear to help the orders come out correctly. :shock:

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I had one friend who had about a 75% error rate when we were together- what was in the bag was not what was ordered. This was true in all chains visited.

I rarely have errors in my orders. However, there is one outlet of one chain that is stunning in their ability to get it wrong in new and different ways. We almost go for the humor of it now. They have a sister outlet we get to once in a while, that has the highest rate of "we;re out of that" I've ever heard of. We hear it about 1/2 of the time. Usually its related to special offers and I've tentatively concluded that its not lack of inventory, but that its too much trouble for the staff of that location to deal with.

And then there are two examples (same chain) that never get it wrong, and somehow manage to make the same chain sandwich, standard ingredients, and make it much better than the other places.

How can one get store to store variation in a franchise burger?

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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You can get store-to-store variation because of one thing: how well management is making sure that all the required details are being followed up on each day over and over and over again.

Inventory can be held too long or improperly or at the wrong temperatures, staff can be allowed to switch proportions or timing of cooking . . . same thing as in any restaurant, but the details are so well spelled out that all it really takes is a bit of attention and a good-enough attitude to manage to deliver a consistent product with the few things that go along with it, "right".

Perhaps its because we are in a college town with lots of students and turnover in the places. It is irking me, though, that people who are nineteen to twenty-three years old can not seem to remember to give straws with drinks or any number of other idiotic things that they should be able to do if they managed to get into college. :angry:

Aaaaaargh!

It happens here at Burger King, at Wendy's, at McDonald's, at KFC. Only Taco Bell was exempt from this, and now they have started, too. The last time I went they gave me that awful shredded chicken stuff in the usually-bearable Nacho Cheese Gordita. BLECH BLECH BLECH. :laugh:

:sad:

It's like some alien fog of latent stupidity has invaded all the fast-food places for miles around.

Yet another reason to not eat "food" from fast food places!

Yeah, really. I know.

Can you convince my kids of that?

I'll pay you. :cool:

My energy for this sort of thing with them is usually directed towards bigger battles. :wink:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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My "beef" as it were, is not with order fulfillment, but order placement.

Unfortunately, this is becoming more the norm than the exception.

I walk up to the counter to order.

"Can I take your order?"

"This order is for here."

Cashier nods.

"I'd like the burger with cheese combo, ketchup and mustard only, a side of fries, and an iced tea to drink."

"Which burger combo did you want?"

"The burger with cheese combo."

"What did you want on it?"

"Ketchup and mustard."

"Which side did you want?"

"Fries."

"Is that for here or to go?"

WHY DID I EVEN BOTHER SPEAKING? :angry:

And that's just when I order for me ... I can't imagine going through this for a family.

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My "beef" as it were, is not with order fulfillment, but order placement.

<snip>

WHY DID I EVEN BOTHER SPEAKING?  :angry:

And that's just when I order for me ... I can't imagine going through this for a family.

I imagine that, if I had to take hundreds of orders every day, I'd probably want to follow a script, too. And as a customer who's primarily interested in getting quick, accurate service, I'm happy to follow that script rather than insist on ordering my way...

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I'm guessing that it's not the script that bothered Tino but the mechanical repetition back to him. That sort of aggravates me, too, though I can see the purpose of it.

Likely, the employees are trained to repeat the order to be sure that they *heard* it right to avoid errors.

This is all well and fine when the employee seems to be thinking as well as parroting back.

The thing is that often there is little eye contact (even when one is standing in front of them, they are dully looking at the cash register buttons without expression) and as likely as not, the parroting *still* does not avoid error. It goes as far as repeating the words then the actions that show involvement with the service process (no matter how limited the process is or how boring, there should be involvement in order to accomplish it accurately) are as full of errors often enough as not.

I don't believe too much in stupid people, really. I do believe in attitudes that can become ingrained, partially from oneself, partially from one's culture - that can make situations that might otherwise be much better in many ways - much worse.

These servers probably do not really have *intelligence* problems that would limit their performance in these jobs. If they are boring jobs, well . . . so be it. Boring jobs can be made less boring by doing them well and by getting involved. One way might be to actually look at the people being served and anticipate their needs. Like a drink needs a straw for example, if it is being carried around with a lid.

:laugh:

I can't believe I'm ranting on about this.

I can't believe, really, that I care. :raz:

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Do not confuse the staff

Speak slowly

If more than 2 people want something special just get the nuggets

and know that in some states they put mustard on burgers :sad:

that almost made me cry (actually I think it did)

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

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My "beef" as it were, is not with order fulfillment, but order placement.

<snip>

WHY DID I EVEN BOTHER SPEAKING?  :angry:

And that's just when I order for me ... I can't imagine going through this for a family.

I imagine that, if I had to take hundreds of orders every day, I'd probably want to follow a script, too. And as a customer who's primarily interested in getting quick, accurate service, I'm happy to follow that script rather than insist on ordering my way...

Believe it or not, I actually TRY and speak the language of the restaurants in order to ensure that my order is taken correctly. If I pick up that the chicken nuggets are called a "5 piece", then I'll use that vernacular when I order that particular item.

My problem, as Carrot Top rightly picked up on, is not the use of a script, per se, but the fact that when the order taker says, "May I help you?", I am under the assumption that they are ready to listen to me. The fact that I have to essentially order the meal twice is what irritates me. And having them repeat my order to me at the end does not bother me. It's me having to repeat myself for every little detail of the order.

And as someone else mentioned, I have noticed my fair share of glazed over looks from cashiers who have a propensity for the aforementioned behavior.

I guess the reason it bothers me is that I have worked this type of job (long time ago) and I don't seem to remember this being a problem.

:smile:

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Not to denigrate all fast food employees, but a very high percentage of them are either young and scatterbrained, barely employable, newly immigrated or just stoned (or a combination of the four). Here in DC, we have a very tight labor market and thus anyone who possibly can has moved to a job further removed from deep fat fryers and polyester uniforms, I try not to order more than four items at once, even if it means swinging through the drive through several times just to get the family fed. :wink: . I find things work better better out in Carrot Top's country, where a less booming rural economy forces actual adults and retirees to man the microphones and grills, but perhaps that's just relative to the challenges of urban fast-fooding.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I try not to order more than four items at once, even if it means swinging through the drive through several times just to get the family fed.  :wink: .  I find things work better better out in Carrot Top's country, where a less booming rural economy forces actual adults and retirees to man the microphones and grills

Going through the drive-through several times? :shock: What do you call that, the slow-fooding of fast food? I feel ridiculous enough going through the drive-through *once*.

There might be some actual adults in the places outside of town that have joined the ranks of fast food workers in our "rural economy" (though I can't remember seeing any for ages now around here) but right here in town we just have the future MBA's, engineers, scientists, and Ph.D candidates of our great country smiling through the drive-through windows. I know this because inbetween messing up my orders they complain to me that they are not getting their homework done or they explain at endlessly mind-blowingly boring length the contents of the oral presentation they have to give "soon". :laugh:

Maybe it's something in the air in the places - brains might get clogged up somehow with all those burger fumes and grease aromas? :smile:

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...I try not to order more than four items at once, even if it means swinging through the drive through several times just to get the family fed.  :wink:

My cubicle neighbors looked at me strangely after laughing out loud when reading this. :laugh:

That is definitely working the system.

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