I work at a fast food joint now. Although I suppose "fast" is sort of stretching it. We're not as fast as McDonald's. I don't know if this is because we're less streamlined or what.
Anyway, my place of employment is a "Southern" style place. Let's say--Virginia Prepared Poultry? VPP?
I've been working there for--mmm, about twoish months. Here are the things I have learned.
-The moment you run out of something, everyone will come in and want it.
-You WILL run out of the most ordered item on the busiest night of the week. For us, it's usually biscuits. I don't know how we run out of them, we're constantly putting them in the poorly cleaned, too hot ovens that spew black smoke the moment they open. But we're always out of them.
-People will come in and stare blankly at the menu for five minutes. We have one thing; poultry. And only one kind at that! True, we have three different recipes, but you had to have some idea of what you wanted.
-The church crowd comes in, and they are blood thirsty and will trash the spotless lobby in thirteen seconds. And I guess because they're all holy and Jesus-y they don't believe they should have to do things like--bus their trays. I've found trays on the floor, under tables, still on tables, and on the ledges we have with the random cutouts/pillar things in our restaurant. If you can't carry a tray, that's cool, one of us will help you.
-The day that two people call off will be the day that it is busy. Especially a Monday afternoon in the middle of the month that's never busy. But it will be now!
-Elderly people are very upset we don't put things on plates anymore. They use their coupons and give me a dirty look when their food comes in a box and not on a plate.
"I need a plate."
"Why don't you give me a plate to begin with?"
"We don't put things on plates anymore, you have to ask, I'm sorry."
"I don't know, that's the way we're told to do things."
"Well that is foolish!"
"I'm sorry, here's your plate."
"I shouldn't have to ask! No one can eat out of a box!"
Strips, legs, and wings can be eaten out of a box. Breasts and thighs cannot, I agree. But I can't give everyone a plate because I'll get in trouble. You have to ask, and then you can have it. Okay?
-People who try to clean up their messes are sweethearts. People who just leave the place looking like a tornado vomited up mac and cheese are awful. If I see someone trying to scrub their table, I will stop them and say not to worry about it. I have better tools. I have seen people come in with seven kids, and leave the place an astounding mess. Like, their kids just threw chunks of chicken everywhere, and they left like it was okay. I couldn't believe it. I have zero problem cleaning the crumbs on the floor or wiping down tables (again, that's my job), that doesn't mean go bananas. And if you spill something, don't be afraid to tell me! I'll get a mop and clean it, no harm done. No one's mad, no one here is Joan Crawford.
-The stuff on the top shelf is always the stuff my manager wants me to get down. And then she acts surprised when she sees me getting down a step stool. Well hey, I have the tools to get the items so I'm totally cool doing it, I just need a moment to do it. I'm five foot three. That box full of chicken buckets is a foot above my head, at least. I can touch the corner on tip toe. I'm not going to bounce up and get it, that would be bad for me, because the box would land on my head.
-Everyone is afraid of the walk in freezer. I like it, it is WAY cooler and quiet and no one bothers you. You can't get locked in, and even if you did, someone would come looking for you in a few minutes. Maybe they think it's haunted and no one wants to tell me?
-People are gross in bathrooms. The toilets do flush! You can flush them! No one will be mad!
-The first of the month is always super busy. I guess this is because people have money to spend then, or something. But we all go in knowing we're going to be slammed. It's so weird, because one second it'll be a ghost town, and then the next second you've got a line twelve deep and a bunch of orders on the screen and are going nuts packing/calling back.
-We got rid of lettuce for our sandwiches. Mmm, carbs.
-The average customer only comes in to VPP once every four months. According to my manager, this is because 1. we're pretty pricey fast food. 2. we have one thing. Really. One thing. 3. we don't have a lot of lunchy stuff. We have our popcorn meals and four types of sandwiches. But that's about it, and I'm not sure two of our sandwiches are really--lunchy.
-It's surprisingly easy to tell if a customer is fibbing to get free stuff, and it makes me sad. :(