1. The Personal Touch.
I think the name FAST food is self explanatory. I’m not looking to make a new friend with the person taking my order. Why is it when I walk into a Baja Fresh and order the nachos grande, the guy at the front prints out a little receipt that says order number #34, and then asks for my name? Confused, I tell him Brian and he gets out a little pen and takes the time to write out my name on the store copy receipt. Then instead of using the efficient, mistake free number system, they call out my name in the middle of a crowded restaurant over a muffled pa system, and the name Brian starts to be mistaken for Ryan, Byron, Myran, Jennifer O’Brien, etc. Not to mention any other Brian’s. You don’t need to know my name and I don’t need to know yours. I’m Mr. Large nachos and a medium soda, and as far as I’m concerned the name on your tag can just say “dude” or “man”.
” Hey dude have they called 134 yet?”
” Not yet they’re on 131″
2. The ATM Charge.
Here’s how you know this is bullshit. It’s different in every place! What makes one machine cost 39 cents to use and another 79 cents to use? And I love how they choose a specific numbers like 79 instead of just making it 50 cents. It kinda tricks you into thinking its a meticulously calculated accurate number and not some pussy way for them to get an extra 79 cents per customer. I’m paying 5 dollars for my meal and you want another 79 cents? That’s almost 20 percent! Double the tax! What are you trying to say? You deserve to take more money from me than the government? I’m not trapped inside Dodger Stadium, I can just walk across the street to Jack in the Box where they won’t charge me shit.
3. The Crazy Guy.
I know half the employees are teenagers, and half aren’t as fluent in the English language as most of us. They’re all getting minimum wage and they all hate their job. Nobody expects them to be trained with the ability to handle these certain “special needs customers” ( i.e. crackhead bums). But couldn’t there be like a big red button behind the counter with the word CRAZY written in big white letters on it. You don’t even need to talk to an officer it just alerts them of what and where.
“Copy that Officer Dodge, we got a code C at J in the B.”
This way I can order my chicken sandwich without having to hear the toothless hag sing the bodyguard soundtrack to me.
4. The Customers.
The Soda/Ice machine is for filling up your cup with soda or ice. Not for standing in front of while you put on a lid or grab a straw or check the number on your receipt. You wont see me fill up at a gas station, then break out the car wax to give my ride a quick shine. Move your shit over and tell your stupid ass kids to get out of the way too.
5. The Ketchup
There should be a line in every employee handbook that says ” only give in packet form if customer is in the drive thru.” Every restaurant should have those big metal containers you press down on to get a little paper dixie cup of ketchup. Almost the size of the cups of water you get in the dentist office. You get the perfect amount, you don’t waste plastic, and you don’t waste time making a giant uncontained pile of red goo on your tray. And you don’t waste tomatoes by trying to make a little ketchup buffer between you and your quickly disintegrating piece of paper on your tray.
6. The Ranch
Most places give it away for free. Sometimes in the little ice cube tray sized containers, which is preferable, and other times in those big plastic packets. Others will charge a small fee of maybe 50 cents. I don’t have a problem with paying the extra money, just don’t let me stand in that long line, order with my credit card, sit down and wait for my number to be called, then when I grab my burger and fries and ask for a side of ranch you tell me its 50 cents. I don’t have any cash on me and I’m not going to disturb the line to put 50 cents on my credit card. Then they always break down and say oh forget it just take it, thus turning me into the bad guy. Put it somewhere noticeable on the menu that there is a charge for it, or just ask when you’re taking the order.
7. The Napkins
Most restaurants you can find them next to the soda machine with the lids and straws. Other places like Tommys or Carneys have not so much napkins, but paper towels like you would find in a bathroom, mounted arbitrarily in the restaurant. If you go into Carl’s Jr. you will find a napkin container on every table, with the exception of the really small two seat tables. Then there are a few places that don’t have them anywhere, you have to go to the front and ask. I don’t care where you put them but can we all get on the same page with this? There’s nothing worse than foolishly scouring the restaurant looking for something you would assume to be easy to find with ketchup and ranch all over your hands.
8. The New Item
I go through the drive thru and the first thing I see is an ad for new Chicken Ciabatta sandwich on a little banner. It’s not part of the menu, it’s just kinda staked into the ground. Basically like a little “McCain 08” sign on someone’s lawn but for the new Chicken Ciabatta at Jack in the Box. Then I get to the menu. Cheeseburger is in fine print, tacos are in fine print, but the new Chicken Ciabatta sandwich is in giant white letters with an appetizing picture. If you made a map of the surface area for the menu, the ad for the new Chicken Ciabatta would take up 30 percent of the real estate.
You would think this is enough promotion but its not. When you pull up to the intercom the first thing you are asked is if you would like to try the new Chicken Ciabatta sandwich. Now! Either I don’t want to try your stupid Chicken Ciabatta sandwich and you’ve just annoyed the crap out of me for the past 2 minutes. Or. I would love to try it but I feel like a stupid sheep following your obnoxious marketing lure.
9. The Employee of the Month
I’ve only seen this at the Taco Bell in Simi Valley, but it’s worth mentioning. The “Employee of the Month” gets a little plaque and picture with their name on it. Only it doesn’t say employee of the month it says “Champion of the Month”. What CEO at the Taco Bell corporation was able to climb the ladder of success by belittling the employees below him? Champion of the month!? If I was working there I would purposely fuck up something big at the end of every month just so I didn’t get my picture on that wall. As a customer, I’ll recognize the picture on the wall with the face that’s serving me and avoid eye contact like I just saw them on an America’s Most Wanted poster.
10. The Employee Protection
Yet another problem with Taco Bell. There is a Taco Bell in Culver City with bulletproof glass between the cashier and the customer. Culver City. Not Compton, not Inglewood, not South Central, not the Bronx. First of all, when I think violent crime and big pay day, I don’t think the Taco Bell in Culver City. And if I was desperate and poor and cracked out enough to rob a Taco Bell, I wouldnt drive the extra 20 miles to go the Culver City Taco Bell. Second of all, what is this saying to the customers? We hope you come dine at our restaurant but if you get the crunch wrap supreme and a bullet in you head its not our concern?