Each day, McDonald’s staff interacts with an impressive number of customers—approximately 68 million individuals frequent the chain’s various locations daily. Given the substantial foot traffic beneath the iconic Golden Arches, it’s inevitable that some patrons inadvertently breach social norms. Even those with good intentions may unknowingly complicate the jobs of McDonald’s employees (though this remains an unspoken truth). “Efficiency at McDonald’s rivals NASA protocols, demonstrating readiness for any scenario,” notes Ray Morrone, a former McDonald’s employee with two years of experience. Current and past staff members shared insights into courteous behaviors they secretly find irksome, offering alternative approaches. Explore these insights and simultaneously familiarize yourself with commonly disliked polite habits to avoid.
“Often, a guest would inform me of a toddler crying loudly in the play area. Without question, I appreciate the guest’s concern. A child’s safety is absolutely a priority, and a manager or team member would literally run to see if the child was injured or needed medical attention,” says one McDonald’s worker.
Guests frequently reported crying toddlers in the play area, and the concern expressed is genuinely appreciated. The team prioritizes child safety, leading managers and team members to promptly respond to assess any potential injuries or medical needs, as outlined by Morrone. Fortunately, these incidents typically turned out to be false alarms. More often than not, the child’s tears were due to hunger, a dropped Happy Meal toy, or the reluctance to leave the play area when their parents indicated it was time to go. Since the child likely accompanied an adult, it’s appropriate to allow them to manage the situation without attempting to supervise the entire restaurant—a perspective shared by flight attendants with similar preferences.
AWOL After Ordering
“There was always some confusion as to where the guest should wait for their food after paying,” one employee says. “But most guests would simply wait patiently for their order number to be called out.”
It’s a common occurrence: placing an order and then stepping away to visit the bathroom or oversee children in the play area during the wait. However, for the workers responsible for announcing order numbers, this customer habit proves to be quite irritating. The initial call for the order number often goes unheard, leading to the food sitting unclaimed on the counter, occupying valuable space, and causing confusion among the staff. To ensure a smoother process and efficient order fulfillment, remaining within earshot when your number is called helps mitigate these challenges for customers and the restaurant staff.
Finding Something Mysteriously Wrong With Your Order… After You’ve Eaten It
“I don’t know if it’s still a thing, but we were always made to make a brand new burger if it was cold or something was wrong with it,” she recalled. “Almost every shift, I’d get some teen come up and say they found a hair in the burger… after they’d already eaten the majority of it. They knew what they were doing. And so did we!”
According to a McDonald’s employee, an additional sly maneuver witnessed involves exploiting the restaurant’s policy of crafting a completely new order in case of discrepancies with the original one received. This practice, while permitted by the establishment to ensure customer satisfaction, has been observed by staff members who notice customers intentionally manipulating the system by pointing out perceived issues, leading to the creation of an entirely new order. Although within the bounds of the restaurant’s policies, this strategic approach introduces an element of opportunism that workers find notable and occasionally challenging to address.
Suggesting Uses For the Tip You Leave
“I had customers leave change as a tip and tell me to put it in my college fund,” shares one young ex-McDonald’s worker.
Although customers may have good intentions, engaging in conversation, as one worker suggests, could be perceived as somewhat demeaning. It’s advisable not to highlight the tip you’re leaving if you opt to do so. Additionally, refraining from prying into the worker’s personal life is crucial—a so-called polite habit disliked by hotel workers as well. Maintaining a respectful distance and focusing on the transaction rather than personal matters contributes to a smoother and more professional interaction, aligning with preferences in fast-food settings and the hospitality industry.
Stalling at the Drive-Thru
“Just have a quick think about what you want before you get to the window.” says one McDonald’s employee.
How frequently have you approached the drive-thru speaker with intentions to order, only for the kids to change their minds at the eleventh hour? In my case, it happens nearly every time. This, understandably, causes frustration for those in line behind me. While workers comprehend the indecisiveness of kids, what they find exasperating is when the adult in the car bombards them with numerous inquiries. Whether it’s about selecting a burger, customizing a meal, questioning the unavailability of a discontinued item, or expressing dismay over the soft-serve machine, workers prefer streamlined orders, especially as the queue grows. To maintain efficiency, minimizing chit-chat and ensuring a precise order before the worker prompts it proves beneficial for everyone involved.
Paying With Exact Change Whatever the Circumstances
“I remember cyclists wearing clothes without pockets and pulling sweat-soaked dollar bills from their socks to pay for meals,” shares another disgusted McDonalds staff member.
Rummaging through your purse for cash during the payment process slows down the line and adds complexity to the fast-food worker’s responsibilities. Therefore, it’s considerate to arrive equipped with the necessary cash unless the bills are in suboptimal conditions. If your cash isn’t pristine and straight from your wallet, opting for payment via credit card is a prudent alternative. This ensures a smoother transaction, reducing the strain on both the cashier and the queue of patrons waiting to place their orders.
Eat and Go
There’s a certain disagreement among the staff we consulted, but one vet McDonald’s worker advocates against leaving a table in disarray. “I hate when they think we are waiters or waitresses,” she states firmly. “McDonald’s isn’t a sit-down restaurant.”
While it might be tempting to devour your meal swiftly and vacate, liberating the table for other patrons, A McDonald’s veteran with 36 years of service suggests a considerate alternative. Instead, she proposes a simple inquiry when ordering: ask the employee if they’d prefer you to clear your table. During quieter periods, they might manage it themselves, segregating garbage from recyclables. However, during busier times, especially considering the usual understaffing, following their advice on handling your trash could be appreciated.
Making a McJoke
“I’ll get a Big Mac with some McFries and some McNuggets with sweet and sour McSauce and a large McCoke thanks… “I would always be like, yes, yes, I’ve heard it before. So, what do you actually want? It was never funny,” she says.
During a one-year tenure, a former McDonald’s employee in her late teens expressed the recurrence of an irksome encounter. Countless instances arose where customers attempted to inject humor by incorporating “Mc” into their jokes. The employee found this repetitive attempt at humor both unoriginal and tiresome. The prevalence of such jests became a notable aspect of her McDonald’s experience, highlighting the persistence of customers trying to inject fun into their interactions through the overused “Mc” trope, a practice that, over time, lost its comedic charm for the employee.
“They would throw pickles at the wall or on the table if they didn’t want them, and then we’d have to clean up the mess,” said one ex-McDonald’s employee.
Understanding that not everyone appreciates pickles on their burger, fast-food workers find it particularly annoying when teens playfully misuse this infamous condiment. A former McDonald’s employee from ME with a two-year tenure emphasized that the disdain for pickles stood out as the most challenging aspect of the job. The employee expressed frustration over the subsequent cleanup by describing incidents where pickles were tossed at walls or tables when unwanted. The anonymous source suggests a straightforward solution: dispose of unwanted pickles in the trash or request a meal without them, sparing workers and the restaurant from unnecessary cleanup.
“Keep the Change”
“Rounding up the change and giving it to you as a tip is pretty annoying,” says another McDonald’s ex-staff member who worked at the fast food joint for a few years.
While customers may believe they’re expressing politeness by leaving a tip, the practicality is that employees must first tally the total before addressing the change. If, for instance, you hand over a $5 bill for a $3.50 meal, stating “keep the change” and departing, it places the cashier in the position of counting change beside the register, processing the transaction, and stretching across the counter to put it in the tip jar. As the worker notes, this adds unnecessary complexity to the cashier’s duties. Opting to tip after completing the food transaction and receiving change is a smoother process appreciated by the counter staff—a fundamental McDonald’s reality.
Always Be Polite
“People are less caring nowadays than they used to be,” he says. “They are […] less patient.” explains one seasoned McDonald’s staff member.
Observing the drive-through line trailing behind, the inclination might be to forgo casual conversation and swiftly proceed to ordering, ensuring a smooth flow and timely food preparation. This shift in customer behavior, noted by a long-time McDonald’s staff member, is not necessarily welcomed. This approach might inadvertently project impatience or rudeness despite the quest for efficiency. It’s essential to remember that a real person is receiving your order; a brief but pleasant greeting before diving into requests for Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe and Coke can make a meaningful difference.
Merging everyone’s discarded items into a precarious pile doesn’t qualify as simply leaving it on the table—it often results in unintended spills of ketchup and debris on trays. One McDonald’s staff member, with four years of experience at McDonald’s, emphasizes the well-meaning intention of customers wanting to maintain a clean dining area. However, she suggests a more practical approach: “Allow the staff to manage the cleanup, as they possess a streamlined system for waste disposal and tray sanitation. It’s smoother when patrons refrain from stacking trays, ensuring a more efficient cleanup operation.” Incidentally, similar to dining habits, there are numerous habits in house cleaning labeled as polite that cleaners, too, find disagreeable.
Waiting at a Table After Ordering
“There was always some confusion as to where the guest should wait for their food after paying. Some sat at a table, expecting waitstaff to serve their meal,” says one McDonald’s staff member.
After placing your order for a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder meal at the counter, the courteous move might be finding a table and waiting. However, according to one McDonald’s worker, confusion often arose regarding the designated waiting area for guests post-payment. Some would occupy a table, anticipating table service, while the majority patiently awaited their order number to be called. To ensure an efficient flow and avoid hindering the ordering line, it’s advisable to wait off to the side of the counter. This way, when your number is announced, you can promptly collect your meal without causing delays for other patrons in line.
Don’t Always Choose a Meal Deal
If your go-to order is a consistent choice, a Big Mac meal with a coffee or another McDonald’s bestseller, you likely have your preferences well-established. However, if you decide to diversify your choices, there’s no obligation to opt for a meal deal solely for politeness. One staff member asserts, “A guest selecting individual menu items available in a meal deal was beneficial.” According to him, cashiers were directed to highlight potential savings to the customer, resulting in mutual satisfaction. Feel free to order precisely what you desire; the cashier will gladly inform you if you can convert it into a cost-saving meal deal.
Sticking it to the Trash Can
Is it truly beneficial to toss your garbage on the way out of the restaurant? A veteran McDonald’s worker advises caution regarding trash can use. “Guests used to considerately dispose of their trash in a bin,” he recalls. “However, recyclables often got mixed with food scraps, leading me to sift through half-eaten Big Macs and warm milkshakes in search of recyclable items.”
Instead, consider leaving your trash on the table, allowing staff to manage recyclables, organic waste, and regular garbage. In reality, guests who bus their tables only save us a few additional footsteps, though the well-intentioned effort is duly acknowledged.
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Generation Gap on Wheels: 18 Classic Cars Boomers Love but Leave Millennials Scratching Their Heads
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Be Assertive Without Swearing: 17 Profanity-Free Words That Command Attention
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Misconceptions and myths abound in our world, often taking root in our collective consciousness despite being contrary to scientific evidence. Many beliefs persist simply because they’ve been passed down through generations, unchallenged and accepted as fact. The reality, however, is quite different. Here, we debunk 18 popular myths that, despite their widespread acceptance, are flatly contradicted by scientific knowledge.
15 Reasons No One Cares About Gen X
Amidst the ongoing generational debate, the often-overlooked cohort of Gen X stands as a curious anomaly. Neither commanding the sensationalist headlines like the preceding Baby Boomers nor attaining the trendsetting status of the succeeding Millennials, Gen Xers exude a quiet yet captivating charm. This intriguing paradox prompts us to delve deeper into the factors that relegate them to the sidelines of discourse. Their preference for a more unobtrusive existence might be a deliberate choice, allowing them to evade the relentless scrutiny accompanying the spotlight. This contemplative stance aligns with their desire for a life free from the excesses of constant attention.
Victoria Clarke is a passionate American author with a gift for bringing characters to life on the page. Born in the heart of New York City, she found her voice among the hum of daily life, weaving tales that resonate with the experiences of everyday people. From heartfelt family dramas to the intricate dynamics of modern relationships, Victoria has a knack for capturing the nuances of the human experience in her works.