15 Rules of the Drive-Thru

Last October, my store moved to a new building with lots of upgrades, the most important being a drive-thru. In the last nine months I’ve had plenty of chances to run it, and am usually wearing a headset, thus being part of the whole “drive-thru” experience. I’ve come to realize there are some rules that I wish everybody had a copy of. I don’t know how specific these may be to my store, but if you’ve ever run a drive-thru, you’ll surely be nodding and smiling…

  1. There is a time limit. We do actually get judged on how long it takes you to give us your order, and how long it takes for us to deliver it. We’re down with taking the heat when we take a little long to get your food. We do not, however, like it when you sit at our window and pull all the food out of your bag, artfully arrange your ketchup inside your sandwich, eat a few french fries, shoot a text to your mother in law, and then remember you haven’t put your seatbelt back on yet. That just pisses us off.
  2. Please don’t ask us for things that are obviously not served at our establishment. You want a Whopper, a McMuffin, or a Wacky Pack, you go to Burger King, McDonald’s, or Sonic.
  3. Get off the freaking phone. No, really. We’re not going to sit here and wait while you finish telling your best friend what your husband did that morning at breakfast. We don’t care. We just need to take your order so we can move on with our day. And the more you ignore us when we try and hand things to you while you’re on the phone, the louder and pushier we want to be. “THANK YOU, MA’AM, HAVE A NICE DAY!!
  4. All fast food establishments are pretty much the same, and it’s not too much to assume you’ve been to one before. It’s really not that difficult; stop acting stupid.
  5. If you don’t know the menu, get off your lazy butt and come inside to read the menu. Don’t sit at the order board for five minutes and then decide you just want a Coke. That also pisses us off.
  6. If you want a job application, get off your lazy butt and come inside to get one. Do you really think we’re going to hire someone to run this side of the operation when you can’t handle that side?!
  7. We understand you are in a hurry. That’s why we have this whole drive-thru operation; to help you get your food and get back on the road. We don’t even mind when you grab your stuff and book it out of our drive! But don’t complain that we didn’t do something because you left too fast for us to do anything about it. We forgot your change? Your receipt? Your straw? Your thank you / you’re welcome / have a nice day? You probably drove off without it.
  8. We don’t want your trash. Our drive through doesn’t want your trash. Our parking lot doesn’t want your trash. See that nice big receptacle over there? Use it. Embrace it.
  9. If you have twenty-five of something, it’s gonna take us a few minutes. Yes, even if it’s twenty-five of the simplest thing we make. Even if it’s twenty-five cups of water. And you know what? If you want twenty-five of something, please come inside. Seriously.
  10. If we greet you, say something. If you need a moment, say so. There’s nothing worse than stopping what you are doing to be answered by perfect silence. We will greet you again. And again. And again.
  11. “Hey! I see my pal inside ordering at your register! Lemme say hi to him!” Really? No. Wave, then drive.
  12. Restrain your animals. Seriously, your Saint Bernard is drooling all over my window sill and I think your German Shepherd is going to eat the change out of my hand before I can get to it. We shouldn’t have to be afraid of all the wildlife in your car; get them out of our face. Okay, now Fifi is cute. Awww.
  13. Hey. Mister. Eyes up here. Yeeeesss, there you go.
  14. Just because there is nobody behind you does not mean we want to count out eight dollars worth of nickels and pennies. We don’t want to wait while you find your change. “$2.01? Sure I’ve got a penny back here… by the seatbelt… in the backseat… I swear I saw it there a few days ago…”  Lady, we will just take your two dollars. I promise a penny isn’t going to matter.
  15. Most of all, smile. Chances are, if you’re encountering one of us drive through people, we’ve had a long day of people breaking these fifteen rules in every way possible and looking down their noses at us for not having jobs as good as they do. We’re people too; be patient with us and be pleasant. It will go a long, long way.

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5 Responses to “15 Rules of the Drive-Thru”

  1. Shawna 06. Jul, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    Something is up with your numbered lists. They are only showing one digit, so instead of 10, there is a 0, and so on.

    • Meli 07. Jul, 2010 at 12:21 am #

      Got it, thanks :)

  2. Melanie 07. Jul, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    haha I’ve never worked at a drivethru before, but these things sound so annoying! Especially #3, but that bothers me wherever I am…can’t people get off the phone for 2 seconds? lol. I do sort of understand #5 though…it kind of annoys me how at every drivethru the menus are right in front of where you order and you don’t really have time to look at it. Sometimes I’ll just have to scan it super quickly right when I get to the intercom and end up picking some random thing that I probably wouldn’t have normally gotten. It would be awesome if more places had a menu kind of leading up to where you order as well. =P

  3. James 14. Jul, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    I don’t even have to work in a drive thru for that stuff to irritate me. However, I almost feel inspired to write my own 15 things not to do while working drive thru. The first one will have to be, do not flirt with customers! At least not while there are people behind them waiting. Seriously, this guy flirting with these girls in the car in front of me made me sit there 10 minutes while he hung out the drive thru window flirting with these girls. I got up there to hear his half attempt at an apology. To which I replied “Tell me you at least got a number…” He said “No, I didn’t.” So I said “You owe me a free apple pie, sir.”


    • Meli 14. Jul, 2010 at 4:22 am #

      You, sir, just made my day. LOL.

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