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Sacred Rules and Etiquette to follow at Fast Food Restaurant Drive Thrus

Updated on March 25, 2016

1. If you don't know what to order, go inside

Simple rule. If you have no idea what you are going to order, do everyone a favor and go inside of the restaurant and make your decision there. You'll take up precious time when making a decision at the menu board. The customers in the back of you would definitely not appreciate your indecisiveness.

2. Know what you want even before you enter the drive thru lane

That's right! Know EXACTLY what you want to order. That'll ensure efficiency and you mumbling and figuring out what you are going to order. if you don't know what you want, then go inside and ponder there.

3. Know what the total is by looking at the screen. Be sure to have that amount ready when paying

Many people fumble with change and take up more unnecessary time when trying to piece together how much money they need to pay for their food. Look at the total on the screen after you order, then be sure you have either the exact amount, or the amount higher. The cashier can easily make change. But fumbling to find money is definitely not a good idea. Does your meal cost $19.95? Well, be sure to find ninety-five cents, or just pay with a $20.

4. Don't order a ridiculous amount of food

The whole concept of the drive-thru was not to accommodate large orders, but to accommodate smaller orders. The drive-thru is meant to be quick and fast. When ordering, you should order at the very max, complete meals for 3-4 people. Or, smaller instances of ala carte items. The drive-thru is not meant for you to order 6 combo meals or 20 cheeseburgers. If you do, you'll probably have to park your car on the side anyways. Thus, if you had ordered this large meal inside, you'd be accomplishing the same service time.

5. Keep Special Items and Requests to a Minimum

Because special requests take a little longer, keep them to a minimum here. You can order your sandwich special, such as no ketchup or no mayo or no mustard. However, keep this special requests to a minimum or just to one order. Imagine an order with the following special requests:

1. Quarter pounder with cheese, no ketchup
2. Big mac, no onions
3. Chicken sandwich, plain
4. Filet of Fish, no cheese, extra sauce
5. 3 French fries regular, 1-no salt added

The "no salt" fries item is going to take time already. But imagine all the requests you're making. It's going to take longer. And if you did this inside, you'd be waiting the same amount of time in the car.

6. Dont Use Cell Phones While Ordering!

it's true that many people use their cell phones at the drive thru to ask what the person on the other end of the call wants to eat. And those people cannot make decisions! Know the order before even pulling in to the drive-thru lane. It's very irritating to employees when someone is talking on the cell phone while ordering. They don't know what you're confirming to add as the order.

Do you follow the listed "rules" of the Drive Thru Lane?

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    • SweetiePie profile image


      3 years ago from Southern California, USA

      If people are so pinched for time that a few of the above things throw off their day, perhaps they should rethink their fast food drive through usage. Places like McDonald's and Burger King are already fast if you walk in, and honestly, the drive through is always slower than walking in. I have noticed it every time. In an ideal world yes people should not sit at the drive through milling through every item on the menu, but I also think it is equally rude when people lose cool just because it takes someone more than thirty seconds to select an item. I remember going into a fast food place with a friend, and someone starting huffing and puffing just because he was not making an expeditious selection.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 

      3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Unfortunately, the example of how NOT to order in rule 5 looks a lot like what we end up doing after breaking rules 1 & 2 to figure out all of the special things to order... Sorry everyone!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      3 years ago from Brazil

      I haven't gone through a drive thru for probably 10 years but it appears, the same problems exist.

      You're right, the whole concept was for speed and yet, you get people who 'um and ah' and are indecisive. I hate that.

      A good drive thru cashier (or order taker) is worth their weight in gold to keep that line moving. The best ones have no problem, encouraging rapid ordering and parking if necessary.

      Interesting idea for a hub.


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