5/16/2011

Drive Up Wrong Food Orders

I had a mid-level manager, at Rax Restaurants, tell me back in 1980 that they got approximately 40-50% of their business through that drive up window. So, under no conditions could it take longer than 90 seconds for a customer to wait. They did this to avoid "drive offs." Of course, to get an order in 90 seconds, common sense told me at the time they would get complaints for getting the wrong order. That reason, plus Rax's decision to fix something that wasn't broken (their menu and building style) led to their ultimate demise. Only strong companies like McDonalds and Burger King can survive drive offs. Of course, I guarantee you, they don't have a 90 second time limit. McDonalds tried that back in 2004 for the breakfast crowd. If you waited longer than two-minutes (give or take), you got a discount coupon. That didn't last long.

There are a number of fast food restaurants that are notorious for getting the drive up wrong food order. One of them is KFC. I have been either short changed on what I order, or got dark meat instead of white when ordering chicken. After getting the order wrong twice, the third time I turned around and went back to the KFC drive up. I ordered grilled, all white meat, 3-piece dinner with two side items. I told the attendant I wanted 2 chicken breasts. That cost a couple of dollars more. But, I didn't care. I love that grilled chicken at KFC. I got out of the parking area and decided to check my order. Sure enough, I got two wings and a chicken breast. Mad as hell and not going to take it any more, I went back in the drive up line. The drive up attendant was rather blase and nonchalant about it. I got the feeling this happens to a lot more people than just me.

Now, I admit, I don't go to fast food restaurants very often. If I do go it is usually in the morning for coffee and a biscuit. Occasionally, I do go in the afternoon. I guess I make this post because I am tired of these fast food restaurants getting my orders wrong. Now, I go, on average, about 4 times a month to a fast food restaurant. I dare say on average 2 of those times, the order is wrong. But, I don't just grin and bear it any longer. I go back in line and make them get it right. It seems with all the technology we have in this country, we could get food orders right at the drive up at any fast food restaurant. The absolute worst about getting a drive up wrong food order is Krystal restaurant. Most of the time, I can barely understand what they are saying on the speaker. One reason is because they talk so damn fast! Then they give you a total before you give them the complete order. They act mad because they then have to make a new ticket. That just breaks my heart. I always, ALWAYS check my order from Krystal.

It is only fair to mention the absolute best at getting your drive up food order right. That would be Chick-fil-A. I can count maybe on one hand the number of times they got my order wrong in the past five years. The people are always pleasant and professional. It is hard to be professional when you are on your feet all day in these restaurants. It is terrible working conditions and the pay is lousy. But, Chick-fil-A always manages to overcome these problems. So, next time you go to a fast food restaurant, make sure you check your order. Chances are, they got it wrong.



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