Burger King Drive-Thru Guys Make Us Pull Off To The Side To Cheat Timer

Jenn patronizes what is possibly one of the fastest Burger King drive-thrus on record. That doesn’t mean the fast food joint serves customers food quickly. She says its workers game the drive-thru timer system by asking people to pull off to the side after they order and wait to be served.

The practice is widespread and not specific to Burger King, but Jenn’s Whopper factory seems like a particularly egregious offender.

She writes:

Today I stopped by my local Burger King store number #[redacted]. I usually try to avoid this particular BK as they have a habit of asking cars going through the drive thru, to pull over to the front to wait for their order. However, my brother wanted some food so I went through the drive thru. The problem started when I reached the window to pay and receive my food. The worker ignored me for a few moments and then without even opening the window, asked me to pull around to the front for my order. I tried to let her know I hadn’t paid yet, but she wasn’t facing me, so I pulled around to the front. When I got there, 3 other cars were waiting for their orders and had parked in between 2 lanes, on the side of the curb, etc. All are places you’re not supposed to park. The last time I had to pull around, there were so many cars trying to move in and out or wait on the side for their order, that a car almost hit me.

For today’s order, a worker came out after a few minutes and asked me for my receipt, to which I told him I never received one. He seemed to be listening to his headset and then said I didn’t pay for my food and simply stood there silent. I explained to him that the other worker had asked me to pull around without taking any payment and that I could pay now. He stayed silent until I asked him how much the total was and I gave him some cash. It wasn’t until after I had left that I realized the worker who took my payment never gave me my change, which while it wasn’t much, was still something.

It’s likely that the BK workers are trying to beat the timer, but by asking me to pull around to the front, even when there’s no one else in the drive thru, I feel like there’s no point in even using it. It’s certainly not convenient for me to order then have to pull around to try to find parking and then do a back and forth with the worker. In addition, if I were paying with a credit card, how do I know the worker won’t be copying down my card number on his walk back to the restaurant? At least when I actually pay through the drive thru, I can see the card the entire time. Overall, bad service and poor policies will keep me from making this Burger King a regular stop.

What do you suspect your drive-thrus of doing to cheat their timer systems?

Previously: Burger King Drive-Thru Workers Try To Cheat The Timer System

Comments

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  1. dolemite says:

    I suspect they do the same thing. I understand being asked to pull ahead if you have ordered 7 combos, and all of them are special orders, but when I roll up and say “give me the number 1 with a coke”, why am I am moved off to the side to sit for 5 min, wondering if someone will remember to bring my order out?

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      I agree. Special orders or large orders are one thing. But ordering one or two common items should not require being asked to pull around.

    • finbar says:

      If you are ordering 7 combos that are all special orders, you shouldn’t be in the drive through.

      • coren says:

        How then do I order at 1 am?

        • bigTrue says:

          Oooh…the stoner express!

          My g/f works at a Wendy’s and tells stories of when she used to do latenight drive through the carloads of stoners coming through with the cliche “Uhhh…one second man…” to the back seat “Ok, what do you want? Nuggets?”

          “Yeah, gimmie two..no, no..three nuggets…and a frosty…”
          …repeat with each passanger…then two more orders for people too stoned to come or didn’t fit in the car….

          She said it ceased to be fun after the third or fourth repeat of the cars and they’d just start fucking with the orders of anyone obviously fucked up to pass the time.

          • mandy_Reeves says:

            You wanna talk stoner express??? Taco Bell after 10 pm! It is unbridled hilarity. Like your own personal cheech and chong movie!

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      They may have you pull over to beat the timer. Typically if it’s lunch rush (12-1) the corporate headquarters monitor the average drive through times and often offer incentives to the stores with the best times. Usually they only “park” you if something in your order isn’t going to be ready in under a minute. When I worked at McDonald’s this was usually someone ordering a 20 piece nugget which inevitably we’d only have 19 left and someone just put another batch in the fryer which takes like 4 minutes.

      I’ve never heard of them doing it without taking the money first though, but in this case that seems like it was a miscomunication as the worker who came outside seemed surprised the OP hadn’t paid.

    • obits3 says:

      I worked at BK for a while. We had a bucket on a pole that we would use to lower the times when there were no cars. You place the bucket on the pressure plate over and over again to make it think that cars are going through it. I didn’t like it, but I management said I had to. I think it is like grade inflation, all the BK’s are doing it in some way.

      • Blinden says:

        lol, when I had a job there, there was an after lunch shift where your job was to just drive laps around the drive-thru until we got the clock down to a suitable number…

        BK corporate asks for such low numbers because all the chains cheat the system and they don’t know what an actual realistic time is now, leading to more cheating the system.

        • mandy_Reeves says:

          when I worked for Wendy’s we were the fastest in the district and did NOT cheat! we were a well oiled machine let me tell ya! We got jackets and free food and trophies etc. Even an autographed pic of Dave Thomas(this was when he was alive)

  2. sp00nix says:

    The new one that opened down the street did this to me, but there wasn’t much room to pull over so there was next to no room for others to pass. Needless to say others weren’t happy for the 12 minutes i sat there waiting for my food.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      That’s not your problem and don’t lose sleep over it. Management needs to get their act together and start pushing their employee’s to move faster and work harder.

      Has anyone but me noticed that in this country, the norm is businesses is to constantly asking us to “do something” for them. Keep a mental checklist everytime you go out whether its the bank, Kohl’s, Target, KFC, BK, it’s fricking everywhere. We’re spending our money, but, you need to appease our ineptitude and give us something in return. I don’t like being a jerk but sometimes I’ll be one in such a case and I”ll say “No”. Why are we so afraid in this country to saying “No”. It’s your money so make them work for it.

      • jeff_the_snake says:

        ever work fast food? they push their workers way too hard for what they’re paying them. the problem is they never staff enough of them.

      • Alisha Gray says:

        Management needs to get their act together and get rid of the timer, more like.

  3. chaesar says:

    stay in the drive-thru and ask for free food, see what you can get away with

    • Roll-a-Quarters says:

      I’d imagine based upon my experience with fast food employees you’d get food that may have been tampered with AKA spat upon.

      You mileage may vary.

  4. frank64 says:

    In this case I think you should not redact the location. Shame them.

    • Yoya says:

      I agree, Lets all know what location it is and call up corporate and complain about it.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      I was just about to write the same thing. I have NEVER experienced or even heard of this (I have been asked a handful of times by different restaurants to pull off to wait for fries after receiving the rest of my meal. Each time I was warned in advance of purchase and given approximate wait time) and I think this particular restaurant should be called out since this seems to be a regular practice specific to this location rather than something frequently done at Burger King’s nationwide.

    • Cicadymn says:

      Thirded.

      Glad My burger king isn’t like that. In fact I got a free whopper coupon I’ll go there for lunch!

    • mythago says:

      That would work if “shame them” translated into “people politely, but firmly, expressing their dismay to the manager and to BK Corporate,” but being as this is the Internet, Consumerist is probably trying to avoid setting the BK up for harassment. And if you are about to ask “but why is that a bad thing” that should make it clear why the location is redacted.

  5. Sparty999 says:

    What timer are they beating? If they are cheating burger kings internal “best drive thru” competition… It will catch up with them eventually, when people stop going there. Being asked to pull around isn’t THAT big of a deal… yeah, they forgot to ask you to pay, and you got the standard “fast food quality” service from a GED candidate… You still can’t beat their original chicken sandwich… mmmmmm… original chicken sandwich…

    • Dre' says:

      There is a timer in store (usually a big red LED) and they are supposed to get the order out (car leaves) before it runs out. This timer can directly affect the managers bonuses. A good friend of mine was assistant manager at a BK for years.

      I never pull up at a fast food restaurant unless I’ve ordered a lot of food (which is rare to never).

    • Dre' says:

      There is a timer in store (usually a big red LED) and they are supposed to get the order out (car leaves) before it runs out. This timer can directly affect the managers bonuses. A good friend of mine was assistant manager at a BK for years.

      I never pull up at a fast food restaurant unless I’ve ordered a lot of food (which is rare to never).

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Being asked to pull around isn’t THAT big of a deal

      Waiting a long time for your food is a big enough deal to complain about though. The thing about being asked to leave the line is that this is why they don’t get caught at being consistently slow.

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, I agree. If it were just a case of “your fries will be up in 1 min, can you pull ahead?” that is one thing. But do my fries ever come in 1 min? No, they come when they finish off the orders of the 5 people behind me, then someone asks “who’s fries are these?”. Then someone meanders outside to hand me my order 6-7 min later.

    • OSAM says:

      I take it youve never worked fast food.

      With the drive thru, each order is timed from the time the car arrives at the window to the time it leaves (usually using a ground sensor). The store has a target time that they’re supposed to come in under, consistently. If they dont, and their average starts slipping, they start taking flak from corporate. I believe for McDonald’s is 1:30 (90 secs).

      What this particular location is doing is essentially making their thru time less than 20 seconds, if they can. It looks better at corporate when they do their audits because their average time will be well below the requirement.

      • ellemdee says:

        90 seconds? Wow, the McD’s drive thru near my house was always horribly slow. I timed them once, and it took 11 minutes from the time I ordered until I actually got my food. They don’t bother asking people to pull over to the side, so I would think someone would notice their huge drive thru wait times. I just go inside now, even if it’s to go. I’m out the door in a minute or two and the drive through line is still right where they were when i went in.

    • Breve says:

      I’m guessing that at night since there is no manager around, they probably judge the performance of the staff based on the time it takes them to complete an order via the drive-thru time. If they get people to pull through then it doesn’t matter if it takes them 3+ minutes to make 1 burger, nobody except them and the customer would be any wiser so they can slack off as much as they want as long as nobody complains.

  6. kaotica79 says:

    This happens to me all the time. I don’t like salt on my fries so almost every time, McDonald’s will ask me to pull out to the curb. This usually also happens when we go through the drive thru and order more than 1 of their specialty coffee drinks. I’m assuming they probably get penalized for the extra time each car spends at the window so that’s why they do it but I do find it quite annoying. As the OP wrote, it is frustrating when the parking lot is busy and you are trying to maneuver not only around other cars, but pedestrians as well. It also seems to take them a lot longer to get the food to you when you pull off to the side, almost like they forget about you.

    • outlulz says:

      Wait a minute…you go to the McDonalds drive-thru and ask for no salt on your fries? Thanks for trying to hold up the line asking them to fry a new batch just for you. Go inside if you’re going to order something like that.

      • kaotica79 says:

        I don’t think my request is any different from someone asking for a burger with no pickles. They actually have to take the time to make it “fresh” as opposed to just handing you what’s already been sitting up there for who knows how long. New batches of fries are constantly being made so I don’t really think the extra 2 minutes it takes to switch baskets is going to kill anyone.

        • outlulz says:

          Uh, haven’t all fast food places switched to making sandwiches to order once Burger King made a big deal over it back in the 90s? Even if I order a hamburger at McDonalds with nothing special I still see the worker look at my order on the monitor, prepare the hamburger, and put it in the bag. Nothing is pre-made and sitting on racks anymore.

        • Dalsnsetters says:

          In theory, kaotica79, you are correct. However, you are leaving out the time involved in making each of those things.

          In the case of the burger, it’s a really simple thing. You just *don’t* put the pickle (or whatever) on the sammich. It eliminates about 1 second (if that) out of the time it takes to make said sammich.

          However, in the case of the fries…..the majority of the folks out there like salt on their fries. Therefore it makes more sense to maintain a stock of salted fries. When someone orders no salt on their fries, a new batch has to be dropped into the fryer. Cooking of said fries can take anywhere from 2:00 to 3:30 and the fries have to handled special (can’t be dumped into the bin and mass handled).

          So you see…leaving a pickle off actually eliminates preparation time (granted only by a second, if that). Cooking up a whole new batch of fries *just for you* actually adds to the preparation time, and, consequently, the wait time for you.

          And everyone else behind you in the drive thru lane.

          Just have some common courtesy…just because you have to wait doesn’t mean everyone else should have to wait.

      • Big Mama Pain says:

        Don’t worry; when someone asks for no salt on their fries, we just take a handful of salted fries and dump them back in the fryer : D What, it washes them! Oh, I’m sorry, you thought they were making special fries for you.. haha, stupid.

      • Jeff_Number_3 says:

        Seriously. If you just want fresh fries, ask for them. Fresh fries at are at worst a minor delay, salt free are a major delay and a hassle.

        If you ask for fresh, there’s a good chance that there’s already a new batch up (lunch time they don’t usually have a chance to sit, and if the crew is decent at night they won’t keep any up and drop a batch as soon as you pull up) and preparing them is fast anyway. Also muscle memory kicks in and the whole process is much smoother.

        If you ask for salt-free, a new batch needs to be made right then and there. They can’t be dropped into the bin for easy scooping, so the kitchen staff has to use tongs to put them manually into your carton. This doesn’t work as well, and you can’t cram as many in and they’re more likely to be damaged. Results are you don’t get as many, and they’re not of the same quality. And you’ve added 3:00 (2:30 cook time, 30 seconds other) to the time it takes to make your order.

        And as much as I pushed my team to stick to standards and not slack off, if you get to the window and ask for salt to put on your fries… I wouldn’t blame anyone for ‘forgetting’ to put it in.

        • jaya9581 says:

          Actually, when asking for salt-free fries what they generally do is take the next batch coming out of the fryer, hold a fry container under them, and “catch” fries in the container while they are emptying the rest of them into the large vat. So, no wasted time for anyone and a happy customer.

        • Jerem43 says:

          No they don’t, That oil is 350 degrees and that invites burns. Oil burns are the worst because the oil sticks to your skin and doesn’t wash off. You need to wipe it off and then cool it quickly.

      • CartmanPat says:

        Yeah, I kind of hate this person too.

        • kaotica79 says:

          Just so you know, I don’t ask for no-salt fries to be a douche. Years ago, I found out I had to cut out the salt due to a medical condition. I have since become accustomed to eating little to no salt on my food, including fast food. I will be the first to say that if it’s lunch time and the line is wrapped around the building, I won’t ask for them to be no-salt because I feel bad that they are so busy. I am also not the douche bag that will go in and complain every time I ask for no salt fries and end up with salted fries. I understand that mistakes happen. But if the fast food chains want to maintain a quick level of service at the drive thru, they should clearly state that no special orders can be taken at the drive thru – plain and simple. If that’s the case, I’ll happily go inside for my order. But until then, I have a right to ask for unsalted fries as much as the person behind me has the right to ask for a Big Mac minus pickle, add extra onion, light mayo etc.

          • RickN says:

            So your medical condition limits you to the ludicrous amount of salt in fast food but draws the line at the really ludicrous amount with salted fries?

            I’d check your doctor’s credentials , if I were you.

      • coren says:

        Why is it ok to do that inside but not outside? Is there a “no special order in the drive through” policy I was unaware of?

    • shepd says:

      It’s because you have a special order. It only makes sense that for a special order they will make you pull over to the side. In your case the special order is actually complex (for McDonald’s) and requires time to make, and it isn’t fair to penalize the store for such things. It isn’t as bad if you just don’t want pickles on your burger, because that can be done faster. But no-salt fries, nuggets, and fillet-o-fish are special in that they aren’t even partially ready until someone asks for them.

      Special in that they have to take a small amount of fries, fry them up, let them cool, and then put them in a fry holder, instead of just taking the fries from the fry bin like they do for everyone else. Either that, or they have to wait for a fresh order to come up along with an empty fry bin (they can then do your order and salt the other fries after).

      Either that or you do it the lazy way like some of the McDonald’s I’ve been to with someone who doesn’t like salt on their fries. Just give everyone unsalted fries. Yeechh…

    • TimothyT says:

      No salt on your fries? WTF? I have officially heard it all. A typical meal at fast food restaurants has about 3X the recommended sodium with/without the salt on fries. Seriously, no way would I fill that order. Do you also ask for a flat Coke? If so, how long does that take? I mean, same thing right?

      • El_Fez says:

        Tough shit, counter monkey – it’s not that unreasonable a request. I ask for no salt on my fries every time (well, the very rare times I can actually stomach the horrible mcdonalds food). Its not so much a concern for how much salt I’m getting (although sometimes – McDonalds sometimes salts the everlivin fuck outta their fries), but more me trying to get fries that havent been sitting there for half an hour and are stone cold.

      • jaya9581 says:

        I frequently ask for no salt on the fries. My local McDonalds has a habit of literally POURING salt on – I mean, shaking that shaker for over 10 seconds. I actually like to taste the fries, strangely enough.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        No salt on fries? That’s “officially hearing it all”?

    • tbax929 says:

      If you’re ordering fries with no salt, you should be ordering that inside. The rest of us would like to get our food today, you know?

      • greggen says:

        Well thanks for that bit of wisdom. If you want to lower your salt intake, dont you dare make tbax929 wait a second, tbax929′s time is more important than your health.

        • Anonymously says:

          My time too, and the rest of the people behind you in line that you’re pissing off. If you are going to ask them to make fresh fries just for you, it’s going to take like 5 minutes, so go inside.

    • christy333 says:

      Recently I got asked to pull ahead and wait for a smoothie, double QP meal, and a drink. They gave me everything but the drink and I didn’t realize till I was halfway home that they missed the drink. Another risk of pulling up ahead and waiting (usually longer, like you said)–you might forget what you ordered, haha.

  7. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    It’s pretty rare that any fast food window has asked me to pull ahead–and usually it’s only if I order something unusual. Like. Chicken strips. But that hasn’t happened in aaages.

    This burger king certainly sounds like they’re trying to cheat their system; it certainly sounds like unusual behavior. But these days it often seems faster and chepaer to just park, walk in, order, and then leave, rather than wait through the drive-through with your engine idling the whole time.

  8. insane1220 says:

    Its funny the BK by me does the same thing … The one time they forgot to tell me to pull off to the side and tried to get me to pay twice for two different orders (I’m assuming the person behind me).

    They need to get rid of these things. They do nothing but piss people off.

  9. spencersonthemac says:

    The Wendy’s near my house does this all the time. If you order, lets say, 2 baconators. You usually have to wait by the door. They say it’s to cook them and to let other people behind you go.

  10. silver-spork says:

    Unless things have changed since I worked there in HS, an “acceptable” time is 90 seconds. We only asked people to pull into a parking spot during the old 39 cent burger/49 cent cheeseburger insanity specials.

    Someone from corporate or the franchise will realize that an average of 15 seconds isn’t right.

  11. Rachacha says:

    I was at a BK in my home town that used to do the same thing. One day, we pulled up to the window at an off peak time, and the cashier took our money and asked us to pull forward and park (we had a simple order like an order of chicken fingers and a hamburger for the lids). As we were the only ones in the drive-thru and we were not delaying anyone elses order, I refused and advised that if/when another patron pulls in behind me and their order was complete I will gladly pull ahead, but until then I will sit where I am. The store manager came over and demanded that I move, again I repeated my position when she informed me that “the timer is still counting and we are graded on our time”. I responded that perhaps if she was being graded on her time that she should get in the back and start getting our order together instead of standing at the window arguing with me about how I was hurting their business and inconveniencing other customers. 5 seconds later my order was in my hands.

    We sent an E-mail to BK Corporate to advise them of how the store was attempting to artificially increase their efficienct rating. They replied back appoligizing and thanking me, and to this day, I have never been asked at that store to pull ahead

    • pgh9fan1 says:

      You give your lids hamburgers?

    • jessjj347 says:

      5 seconds later, there was spit on your food.
      That’s why I don’t mess with them….

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I hope you enjoyed the big honking loogie that they added to your burger for being such a special customer.

      • Rachacha says:

        I was in an SUV so I was sitting higher and had a clear view of the manager and the Drive Thru attendent throughout the situation. The rest of the crew had no clue (and probably didn’t care) what was going on. I did inspect the food before giving it to the kids however just in case.

      • Pax says:

        Oh, if they did something like that to my burger (and yes, after a confrotnation, I’d CHECK) … I most assuredly WOULD enjoy it.

        All the way to the Health Inspector’s office.

        They may nothave beat their timer for service – but they might just set a new speed record for being SHUT DOWN for HEALTH CODE VIOLATIONS.

        >:)

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Good for you for standing your ground. This shits gotta stop with these places. I am not going to appease inept managment so they can earn “brownie points” because frankly, I don’t care. Not my problem. If more customers did this then this would not happen because these places would be forced to pick up the speed and work faster. We have gotten too complacent in always doing something for inept management. Stand your ground and say no. The problem is that these folks aren’t used to hearing the word, “No” because we’re in the habit of saying “Yes” all the time.

      • Alvis says:

        While yes, this is an awesome case of standing your ground, and I applaud it, I feel like there’s a bigger problem – why the priority on the drive-thru?

        I was at a BK last week and was low on gas so parked and walked in. There was one guy who had just finished ordering, and no one waiting in line. It took well over seven minutes for me to get my food. In that time, at least three cars passed through the drive-thru.

        Do these guys just drop everything when a drive-thru order comes in? They need some sort of system to track counter times as well: print out a ticket when you order, then scan it as you hand it back when your food’s ready.

  12. gargunkle says:

    What’s this timer of which you write?

    • econobiker says:

      It’s inside the store and related to production times.

      Most people don’t understand that fast food places are not restaurants but point of service food manufacturing mini-factories and run similar to factories that make products.

      • Powerlurker says:

        Apparently, Taco Bell expects its workers to be able to make a plain taco in about 2.7 seconds. They have portion controlled scoops and dispensers for pretty much every step of the process.

  13. frank64 says:

    Get out of your cars! How far have we fell we can’t take a short walk to get our food. I think it is quicker to go inside anyway. I also like I can check the freshness of the fries if I go in. If I see them coming outbI order them, if I see I would be getting older ones I don’t.

    • Yoya says:

      When you got a car full of kids, you don’t want to hassle them out after going someplace and just want to bring the food home.

      • econobiker says:

        Yup, drive through use exploded with the universal adoption of car seat laws and seat belt laws.

        The logistics of getting two car seated children out of the car and into the store make the un-belted and un-car-seated “hopping out” of yore seem like a speed sprint.

        And then throw in the fact that most young children have to be helped up into a mini-van or suv and the drive through is a great thing for parents and caregivers…

        Unintended consequences of car seat and seat belt laws: obesity.

        • econobiker says:

          Forgot to mention that mom/dad/adult also has to release/open the child’s/children’s door(s) due to door safety interlocks. Yet more time.

          • Yoya says:

            Sometimes you just don’t have the time. Walking around the park for a while and letting the kids play a bit longer before you gotta go to work, don’t necessarily get the time to cook and need to do a quick pop through and a meat factory.

        • jessjj347 says:

          “Unintended consequences of car seat and seat belt laws: obesity.”

          Low causation.

        • nbs2 says:

          Yep. I’ve noticed that if we are coming home after a long day of being out and about or coming back from vacation, our habits have gotten worse.

          It used to be that we would stop at a late hour megamart, pick up some ingredients that we could quickly assemble, and go home. Now, with the hassle of getting the kids in and out of the car, it is easier to leave them in their seats and do a quick drive thru run. We’ve eaten a lot more BK and TB in the last couple years than I has since my time in college.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      How far have we fell we can’t take a short walk to get our food.

      If they don’t want people using the drive-thrus then they shouldn’t have a drive-thru. It makes no sense to berate the OP for using a service offered by the business.

      Besides, the drive-thru is faster in most cases.

    • Baethan says:

      I only go to fast food places during very late-night car trips. Some places close the restaurant portion after a certain time, so the drive-thru becomes the only option if I want some fries at 2 am.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Actually, I think the most important thing about going inside is seeing how clean the place is.

      Ordering delivery from places that you’ve never stepped foot in can be even worse…

    • eviljamison says:

      I almost never eat fast food myself (Chick-fil-A->Yay!), but my wife occasionally likes McD’s. I always would go in and order her food since I thought that same way you did, however I noticed that I was waiting a long time while they churned out drive-thru orders. No timer for us inside customers, so I would end up screwed, waiting and waiting for food long after people who went through the drive-thru.

      I hate fast food places (again, except Chick-fil-A)…

    • dolemite says:

      If everyone went in to get their orders, you’d run out of parking spots and the line inside would be 30 people deep, and you’d wait 15 min to get the food.

    • CartmanPat says:

      *fallen

    • COBBCITY says:

      I AGREE 100%!

      Almost every time I visit a fast food place, there is a line of 5-8 cars waiting for the drive-thru while the lobby barely has anyone in it. Why on earth would people sit in their cars???

      I park my car, walk in, get my food and pass people who are still waiting at the drive-thru. Makes no sense. at all.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Yeah, go inside and wait on line! With dozens of angry, impatient people and screaming kids!

      Brilliant.

    • coren says:

      But their doors are locked when I typically use the drivethrough :(

      (read: I only use the drivethrough when it’s the only option)

  14. GTB says:

    I’ve had drive through places ask me to pull off and wait, normally because they were waiting on fries or something. It doesn’t bother me, since I like hot ass fries, and it doesn’t usually add but a couple minutes to my wait. If anyone stiffed me on change though, or acted this disinterested in my business, I would stop going there at the very least.

    • Pavlov's Dog says:

      If someone stiffed me on my change like that I wouldn’t get mad, but rather I would get even. I would make it a habit of going there, ordering cheap things off the menu and refusing to move forward just to mess with their precious timer. Granted, that would be if I had spare time…

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      What’s an ass fry and why do you like them hot?

  15. ill informed says:

    you mean you had to sit in your car in front of the building?! how dare they ask you to do that! it’s only appropriate for you to sit in your car at the proper drive-thru window!

    • Dre' says:

      Years ago, I was forgotten about when asked to pull up. I don’t do it anymore.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You didn’t read the article at all, did you?

    • vaguely says:

      It seems like every time I am told to pull up so they can beat the timer, they forget parts of my order, forget me, forget the order of orders. Also, pulling forward in some locations in my area is dangerous, especially with a drive thru worker screaming at me out the window to pull up further, therefore sticking my nose into traffic.

  16. Dover says:

    What does the store’s manager or BK HQ have to say about this? Maybe they would rectify the problem if they knew about it. (Obviously the manager knows about it, but maybe he doesn’t realize how his customers feel)

  17. Spaceman Bill Leah says:

    Call corporate. They are gaming the internal system. Stores will get bonuses and other rewards for maintaining low drive thru times. I bet the corporate overlords wouldn’t be particularly happy to find out they’ve been rewarding a store for pissing off its customers.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      You’d be surprised. A lot of corporations are willing to look past things like this if the numbers look good. You have to remember, for the most part they only care about the numbers, not so much what is actually being done to accomplish them.

      • nobodyman says:

        I disagree – corporate instituted those metrics in the first place because low response times (generally) lead to higher customer satisfaction. Gaming this particular metric has the opposite effect. So I’d bet that the upper levels of management would be pissed.

        I bet it would only take a few instances of refusing to park before that BK got the message.

        • Rachacha says:

          I agree completely. I told my story above how I refused to move when the only reason for me to move was to help the store improve their performance time (the manager asked that I move). I informed corporate (not complaining to ask for anything in return, just informing them of the practice). Since I complained, I have never been asked to pull forward at that store so I suspect that the message was received loud and clear, especially when the average time used to read under 1 minute, and it now reads closer to 2 minutes every time I go into the store.

  18. c!tizen says:

    The King would not be pleased.

  19. NarcolepticGirl says:

    My boyfriend wanted to go to Captain D’s (nasty) and they were doing the same thing. People in the parking lot were getting mad because they couldn’t get out of their spaces because no one had anywhere to “park and wait”. We waited 19 minutes (after we paid) and man, was my boyfriend pissed. He finally went inside all mad and got his food.

  20. 420greg says:

    I like to call this the ‘forgotten zone’ at the McDonald’s near my house if they tell you to pull forward you might as well go somewhere else. Out of sight out of mind. I once waited 18 minutes, finally went inside to talk to the manager and sure enough they had forgotten about me.

    Now if they ask me to pull forward I just ask for a refund and go somewhere else.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That sounds like the best thing to do. Why give them your money at all if they’re going to do this? I haven’t come across this yet, but if it happens I’ll just do what you do.

      Mostly I park and go in because when I go through the drive-thru they mess up my order and I don’t have time to check it before I leave, what with cars behind me. At Taco Bell they do it every time. I never ever do drive-thru there anymore.

  21. techstar25 says:

    I saw a McDonalds nearby that has a parking space in front of the store with a legitimate sign that says “Reserved for drive-thru customers”. Seriously. This place has a spot reserved for people to wait.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I’ve seen this too. It makes sense for orders that would legitimately take a long time (huge orders or special orders).

    • OSAM says:

      This is common practice as many items do take longer. In busy times if the fry station has gotten behind or with certain items like chicken strips that aren’t as common and are *gasp* made to order. So they ask you to park in those spaces.

      Obviously these arent supposed to be used in the manner depicted in the article.

    • Elginista says:

      A couple of the newer ones near me have this. We were directed to it once when my friend requested unsalted fries. I think for special orders or large orders, it’s a good solution because it avoids some of the congestion.

    • Cyniconvention says:

      We have three of those at our McDonald’s. Most of the time, they aren’t full with even one person.

  22. GMFish says:

    I tried to let her know I hadn’t paid yet

    If you hadn’t paid, why didn’t you simply drive away? If they get enough drive aways, they’ll stop this BS.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      She wasn’t the one who wanted the food, it was her brother.

    • tealandlace says:

      OP here.

      I personally didn’t care much about driving away, but my brother wanted the food. Trust me, I wouldn’t have gone here if he hadn’t wanted it & I though I’d be nice and just do it.

  23. Tracer Bullet says:

    BK in Dallas does this same tactic even when no cars are behind me. I’m not sure how this “cheats” their timer system but next time I am going to ask why I need to pull up when there are no cars behind me and then promptly refuse.

    • Rachacha says:

      By asking you to pull ahead they are cheating the timer. They have sensors installed at various points in the drive thru lanes so that when a vehicle passes over a certain spot (right before you get to the window), the time resets from the previous customer and the time starts ticking up. When the vehicle crosses the sensor at the end of the drive thru lane, the timer stops and the time for the transaction is recorded. As far as the timer system is concerned, you paid for and received your order in 52 seconds, even though you sat patiently in the parking lot for 5 minutes. Your 5 minute wait is never recorded.

  24. Riroon13 says:

    My theory is that the management probably gets some type of bonus for drive thru times. I don’t think that many minimum-wage high school students would conspire to trick the timers, esp if there is no compensation for them. It would have to be organized by the higher-ups, who probably have a monetary stake in the clock times.

  25. Jeff_Number_3 says:

    The store I worked at had a window timer instead of a line timer, so instead of tracking total time between order and pickup, it only tracked how long the car was parked in front of the pickp window. Target times for lunch was around 25 seconds, and a store best of around 18 (it’s been awhile and I don’t remember the numbers exactly, but I do remember we were doing EXTREMELY well on that 18 second day). Evening time was 45 seconds IIRC, but was rarely met (low staff, and people not in a hurry to pull ahead).

    25 seconds is hard to hit. You can lose up to 10 by the person being slow when pulling up or away, and in this time frame you need greet, ask if they want condiments, hand out the drink, and hand over the order. This is hard to do even in the given time, and if pretty much anything goes wrong it’s blown.

  26. Dallas_shopper says:

    I always go in…they rip you off at the drive-through. 9 out of 10 times when I used to use the drive-through, my order was wrong or I was severely shorted on fries.

  27. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I’m digging the “pull over? no it’s a cardigan but thanks for asking” tag.

    I think the OP should tell anyone in the car with them that this BK is not an option. Tell whoever is in the car with you that the only options are a different restaurant or a different BK location. Also contact corporate because Riroon13 is right and the local management has to be the reason this is occurring.

  28. MerlynNY says:

    Sounds like the simplest thing to do is just refuse to pull aside. How can anyone expect the service to get better if the people working there are tricking the timer? Politely say no. They can’t make you move and the longer they sit there arguing with you the longer the timer goes.

  29. tealandlace says:

    OP here.

    Some of you have said it is acceptable for the fast food place to ask you to pull over to the side if you have some specialty/big/complicated order. I could understand that, as the fast food place probably doesn’t want to have all the customers behind you wait as they get your order ready. However, this particular BK has you pull over even if you want 1 burger without any modifications. Surely they should be able to give you a simple sandwich before the timer goes off.

    Also, I try to avoid this particular BK as I hate going through the extra wait and hassle when there’s a McDonald’s across the street that gives great service and has a fast drive thru. However, since it is down the street from me, sometimes my family will want to go there to get a bite to eat. Honestly, this is the only reason I even visit this location.

    & they’ve had this practice going on for years. I used to visit this BK on a semi regular basis, but stopped because it’s not worth the hassle. I know a lot of people say that it’s not that big of a deal, but other fast food places in the area do not do this and they manage their timers just fine, so why can’t this BK do it? Also, the point of the drive thru is to (most of the time) get your meal more quickly while staying in your car. Having to wait on the side for them to bring out your order kind of defeats the purpose. Why offer a drive thru if you’re not going to use it correctly?

    • goodfellow_puck says:

      Sooo…you’re going to complain to corporate, right? Or else this nonsense will still be going on the next time your relatives drag you there. ;)

      • tealandlace says:

        Yeah, I was planning on it. I looked up the phone number yesterday and they only take calls from 9 – 5 eastern time I think & I’m on the west coast, so I wasn’t able to call yet. &this only happened yesterday so I think its still pretty recent.

        • Bob says:

          Actually many of our Burger Kings are franchised. Talk to the franchise owner (not the idiot manager of that store) and you may get a faster response. They don’t want Burger King to berate them a year or more after you write the letter to corporate.

          How do I automagically know the store manager is a complete idiot? Its the manager’s responsibility to get his store’s times down and he is obviously too incompetent to get his crew organized to get it done without cheating on the timer every single time. Stupid is as stupid does.

  30. m1ek says:

    The proper response to this is “No, thanks”. And then if they insist, get a refund, like the last commenter suggested. Make it very much not worth their while.

  31. doughrama says:

    I had no idea. The only BK I visit has 2 parking spots, with signage, specifically for getting people out of the drive through line. I never thought much about it because they’ve always been fairly prompt and friendly. I always just wrote it off as method for promoting efficiency.

    The last time I went there, I was the only only person in the drive through and they asked me to pull around to the waiting area. I thought it was really weird and a whole lot of extra work to walk my food out to rather than just pass it through the window.

  32. brianisthegreatest says:

    I’ve only had this happen when chicken is ordered, and they have to make a fresh batch of whatever. It is annoying, but unless that’s an excuse I don’t see what is wrong with it, if it’s for something like that. It’s one thing to cheat a timer, but if food is going to take 5 or 10 minutes because of a cooking timer, there’s no point in making other people wait–as long as they hand over the drinks first.

  33. smo0 says:

    Odd… places that actually cook your food like, Fat Burger and In and Out – never ever do this… I think I’ve only had this particular issue with BK in general.

    But on the flip side – it’s probably in some store quarterly that threatens their jobs of they don’t meet time expectations, like talk time in call centers…. I really can’t blame them at this point.

  34. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    At the taco bell by my house, there was one in this box by the window. The workers would put their hand covering the sensor after about a minute to reset the beam. It made me wonder what the point of the timer was.

  35. firemunkie says:

    this is common practice in my area. all burger kings ask you to pull up, regardless if ur the only person asking for food or not. its rather annoying especially when they screwup the order and you have to get out because the person that brings out the order never waits for you to check it and they always screw something up. the screw ups can be from something simple like straws or utiensils to forgetting a whole burger. also even if you ask for a drink other then a soda (and no food) they still ask for you to pull up. its rather annoying and i have stop going to bk unless the craving is to strong or someone else is picking up.

  36. iambeaker41 says:

    Ironically, this happened to me at McDonalds this morning. I was getting my breakfast (before a long out of town trip), and the drive thru attendant asked me to pull ahead to get my food (I already paid for my food, and there was no line). I asked if there was something wrong with my food, to which she stated “No, but it is policy in the morning to have all customers pull ahead to get their food.” I politely told her that I would not pull ahead, as I have done so before and I have waited a long amount of time to recieve my food. The young attendent rolled her eyes and closed the door. About a minute later, an older man came to the window, gave me my money back and asked me to longer patronize this location.

    I said fine, went to Burger King, got my food in less than a minute, did one of those “Twilight” game pieces and won a free whopper!!!

  37. El_Fez says:

    The quick and easy response? “No, that’s okay – I can wait here”

    *shuts off engine*

  38. Scuba Steve says:

    While I can understand the practice for someone ordering for more than 5 people through the drive through, I can’t condone it for every car.

  39. Tim says:

    I say, first notify the manager. If s/he doesn’t seem receptive or doesn’t actually change things, notify the franchisee and Burger King corporate. I bet that’ll knock some sense into them.

  40. shonblatt says:

    I stopped patronizing the Burger King down the street because of the timer system.

    I got sick and tired of screwed up orders and pretty much having food sacks shoved in my face, all so that they can shave 5 seconds of their time.

    Get the orders right, and stop being rude, even if it takes a couple seconds longer.

  41. chimpski says:

    It is pretty simple guys, REFUSE to move. Just because someone ask you politely doesn’t mean you have to comply. I get this all the time, and I simply say. “I’m sorry but I’ll just wait here.” I’ve gotten some really weird looks, a couple of “what’s?”, “excuse me”, “sir if you’ll just pull…”. You have a choice, you don’t have to do what people ask of you.

    Also, this usually results in getting my food right away =)

    • chimpski says:

      Also, I always check my order. No matter how long it takes. I paid, I’m not leaving without my food.

      I do wish that wouldn’t piss them off so much. Oh well.

  42. rooben says:

    Seen this before with McDonalds, at a location that had a plaque for the fastest drive-thru time. They have a weight that starts the clock, so they tell you “wait behind the line”, then move you through to the other side, to end the clock quickly.

    It is a total scam, and if you see this, make a call to corporate – they are cheating in their metrics, wasting customers time (not to speak of safety), and looking good to corporate while doing it.

    My wife actually called in and reported this, and the plaque was mysteriously removed.

  43. COBBCITY says:

    While I understand the OP’s gripe, I am not seeing where they wrote or contacted Burger King before sending this here. They even have the store number!

    • tealandlace says:

      Hi, I’m the OP. I actually called BK today. The reason I didn’t call yesterday (when the incident happened) was because their consumer relations lines are only open 9 – 5 EST. I’m on the west coast, so they were already closed for the day by the time I was able to look up the number and everything. Considering that this happened yesterday and I called within 24 hours of the visit, I don’t think that’s too bad, is it?

  44. rooben says:

    Seen this before, and it is a scam on the clock, to either win a contest between stores, or to meet their average serving time requirements.
    At Carls Jr (Hardees to the east coast), they did the same thing, and had everyone stacked in their parking lot, having food hand-delivered. My wife actually refused to move, knowing about this trick (they actually had painted a yellow line where the weight trigger was, and had patrons wait before the line, then cross it, time them one minute, then have them park somewhere else). The manager came out and yelled at her, and when my wife picked up her cell phone, informed the manager that she is in the process of calling the district office, they quickly gave her the food at no charge and asked her to leave.

    Moral: Catch burger king doing this, and you have a chance for a free meal!

  45. utpn says:

    I live in a college town in Delaware and they do the same thing at my Burger King. Numerous times I’m asked to pull forward and park, but there’s no one at all in the line behind me. I’m sure it takes a longer time for the person to come around the employee exit and come all the way to the front to give me my order, longer than me waiting at the window, and it’s annoying to have to do this. I just stopped going there because it frustrated me so much.

    I used to work at another fast food place when I was a teenager and such practices of tricking the timers were really frowned upon by the corporate office. Perhaps I should call them sometime to make them aware that they’re losing business due to their timing manipulation.

  46. Winston says:

    My local McD’s has an automated voice that asks me if I want a particular item. Before I can ever respond, another automated voice asks me if it can take my order. I’ll place my order and then a live person comes on and asks me again if they could take my order. Has anyone else experienced this? It’s awfully annoying.

    • Big Ant says:

      When I worked at Arby’s we had one of these timers, during rush periods we would usually have all orders out and ready well under the required 120 seconds, with some days exception due to short workers, untimely delays, etc. But these were the rare occasions. Now a days the time is always over and slow, and the rare is when the speed is ok.

      I have talked to some people I know who still worked there and there seems to be a consensus between employees is that the management decisions and bad customers is what causes it. I think it is just an attitude problem with the employees. We rarely had bad customers and when we did just got rid of them and ignored them. Today it seems when there is a bad customer, the employees gets attitudes and every customer then is a “bad” customer.

    • LoadStar says:

      More and more recently, unfortunately, at multiple fast food outlets (not just McD’s). I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, or why it was even necessary to begin with. When I worked in fast food in drive through, it wasn’t terribly hard to either take the order immediately, or provide a polite “Welcome, please hold for just a moment” if I was in the middle of serving another customer.

      At least with McD’s, most have altered the automated greeting to clearly indicate that it’s automated, something like “Someone will assist you shortly.” It’s more annoying at the local Hardee’s, which has an automated message like “Hi, my name is Melissa, I’ll be your order taker today…” then as soon as you start ordering, you get interrupted by a male voice, almost assuredly NOT someone by the name of Melissa, telling you to hold.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I don’t get two automated voices but yeah, I’ve gotten the automated greeting, spiel on the “highlighted” item, the “please order when ready” and then gotten asked to hold by the actual employee.

      At least with being told to hold you know they’re not ready. I hate when I give my order and then it’s just silence because whoever is on drive-thru decided not to bother to respond to you.

  47. Rocket80 says:

    “No thanks, I’ll just wait here” and pray my food doesn’t get spit in.

  48. PDQ says:

    How about when the drive through order-taker barely speaks English? They screw up your order so badly every time you go there that you finally just stop going to that restaurant. Then they don’t have to worry about timers at all!

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      We have that problem in Dallas BIG TIME. At the local Jack in the Box you’re better off ordering a “numero siete con Sprite/Coca Cola/etc…si, con queso…no, no quiero los ‘curly fries’, gracias…si, quiero salsa de tomate y servilletas…etc.”

      Sad that it’s come to that.

  49. skapig says:

    Yeah. It’s a weird, customer-unfriendly practice that is clearly designed to game the corporate monitoring.

    The drive-thru can often be slower during peak times since there’s only 1 line. Just go inside.

  50. rossodianima says:

    The Wendy’s by me asks you to pull forward and then roll back when they wave. Ridiculous. After they did it to me twice I don’t go anymore.

  51. madvillainy says:

    I work at a Culver’s Drive-Thru 6 or 7 days a week. Calling a drive-thru worker a “GED Candidate” is highly offensive, fyi. I’m a sophomore in college right now, and only work during the summer and my long breaks to help chip away at tuition costs. Surprisingly enough, you’ll find this in most cases your typical fast food worker is only there temporarily, trying to fund a higher education.

    That said- at a Culver’s, a “good time” is anything under 4 minutes. Then again, you’re usually paying a little more, and getting a better quality meal.

  52. dush says:

    If they make you pay first you should not leave the drive through without your food.

  53. JennyDB says:

    I had this happen to me almost every time I went to Burger King in Durham NC. I always thought it was I ordered veggie burgers which presumably took longer to cook but apparently this happens to everyone? Silly Burger King!

  54. JeremieNX says:

    This story again?

    How much would you want to bet that the “timer goal” is some unrealistic number that was compiled by suits that have never worked the front lines of a fast food joint in their lives. I would also bet that the same suits lower that timer goal every few months without making any changes in the processes to warrant a lower handle time. I know these tactics since I have worked with the “timer-goal-setting suits” with a different company for several years.

  55. Jerem43 says:

    Reasons I will ask you to pull out of line:

    1. You added an item at the window,
    2. You made changes to your order after you paid
    3. You didn’t order at the speaker box (Really, you waited ten minutes? The timer says you have been in line 1.)
    4. The item you requested is cooking (Most products take 3-5 minutes to cook)
    5. Your order is huge (Get out of the car and come inside.)
    6. The order was wrong and needs to be remade.

    Also, over those headsets many words sound the same: fries and Sprite or Icee, Hi-C and Iced tea are the most screwed up orders. Please enunciate French fries etc, and please don’t lie to me that the screen wasn’t working, you just couldn’t be bothered to stop talking on the phone and pay attention.

  56. tgrwillki says:

    I follow a simple strategy: I don’t pull forward. I remember the look on the girl’s face the first time I told her “no.” I ordered a ham and Egg Biscuit from BK that morning (No hash browns or drink), and I told her that if i was going to wait, I would make sure that they would have the time to have everybody else’s order ready when they pulled up.

    I also have the courtesy to go inside if I’m ordering more than two meals during a peak time.

  57. buckeyegoose says:

    Ex Fast Food Slave here,

    What I truly don’t get is why haven’t they figured out that when your slow at night, and your numbers for the day suck, just have someone drive around a few times till the average handle time is back in the green? Thats what we would do to fix our times.

    Also, the system is designed that if you blow one car’s time, use that time to get all the cars behind it ready to go, so you only have one car’s time thats shitty, and can bang out the other cars, negating the effect of the long ass car.

    Also when getting money from the customer, ask them if they need any condiments, shaves more time there. Its possible to meet the metrics, you just gotta know how and when to work the system.

  58. Pax says:

    … wow. Never, ever have I seen a drivethru operated this way. I would flat-out REFUSE to leave the window, until I had my food in hand. What are they going to do, after all … call the police, and complain “our customer won’t leave without being given the food they’ve paid for” …??

  59. OBEYshiba says:

    there’s a jack in the box i used to go to, but i’d only go really late at night. the guy who worked there was nice and always gave a dog-cookie to my shiba (@_tar0_). sometimes it was just him + 1 other person when i’d get there. after paying, he’d tell me about the timer and ask me to back up and then pull forward. it wasn’t inconvenient to do, so i did it almost every time i was there.

    however, if i was in a situation more resembling the OP’s (pull forward, weird payment, line of cars waiting for food but not in line), i can’t imagine i would have gone back.

  60. gparlett says:

    When I worked at Taco Bell Time Of Service was a bid deal and the minimum wage worker bees did care. You didn’t get a cash incentive, but you would get yelled at if your TOS got too high. There was no drive through sensor though, TOS was calculated based on how long the order was up in the register rather than by how long a car was in the drive through. We would game the system by clearing orders off of the register before we gave the customer their food. As long as you could remember what a customer ordered without looking at the register there wasn’t really a downside.

  61. trippingguavas says:

    My favourite thing to do when Burger King does this to me in my hometown is to just simply pull forward about ten feet and stop there, blocking everyone behind me from accessing the windows. This unfortunately aggravates the people behind me, but I take comfort in the fact that now people working inside have to put up with three angry cars behind me.

    For the record, the only thing I ever order at Burger King is a double whopper. This should take about five seconds to complete, and it usually does, once I stop in a manner that blocks the entire drive-through from working properly. BAM. An employee is suddenly running out the side door with my burger, looking flustered.

    I just act like an idiot and shrug and say “SORRY! YOU JUST SAID TO PULL UP, PLEASE, YOU DIDN’T SAY WHERE. SO I STOPPED BY THE DOOR SO I COULD GET MY FOOD :DDDDDDDDDD” Meanwhile people behind me are honking and cursing and the cheat-the-timer system has failed, utterly and completely. (Please note that the bed of my truck is usually completely blocking the drive-through window while all of this is happening, and I turn up my music and pretend to be blissfully unaware of the manager yelling from the window for me to move).

    :DDD

  62. RayanneGraff says:

    I can’t say I blame the employees for doing this. I guarantee they’re being micromanaged by corporate to be as fast as possible. They most likely get bitched at regularly if it takes more than 90 seconds to get an order ready. I HATE shit like that. I work at Auto Zone & we get punished with weekly 6 am meetings, which consist of literally NOTHING but being reamed out for an hour by the manager, if our ‘percentages’ are too low. Basically if we do not FORCE customers to purchase enough impulse-buy bullshit at the checkouts, we suck & we are terrible, lazy employees. They call it the “checkout challenge”, and we are required to push whatever weekly item they put out on every customer. I call it the “bane of my existence”. I hate my job. I have a high school diploma & numerous skills & qualifications, yet this is the only job I could find.

    Wow, that turned from a comment on the story into me bitching about my job, sorry O_o

  63. shibblegritz says:

    Um, I think every fast food drive-through chain does this. Honestly, I don’t see the problem because I’d just as soon they move the car in front of me if I’m behind someone who’s going to have to wait for food.

  64. drburk says:

    I think you witnessed theft. It involves waiting for a big order of whoppers and fries and your small order. They never put your order in the system so they cannot collect the money at the window. When you pull around the worker comes out for your money so you pay him. They pretend the big order customer checked his order and was short a burger and fry, which they will bring out and give to you. Either way your order never went through the system as a purchase so BK isn’t expecting to see cash in the drawer for it. A worker just stole $5.00 and everyone got their food so corporate won’t get angry letters. They will see a few orders were messed up but that’s par for the course so no red flags will be raised. They can probably do this once or twice a shift if they are having everyone pull aside.

  65. LastError says:

    Yeah, they are trying to beat a timer. The store is rated and scored on wait times. The scores are used locally, at the corporate level, and by QSR industry research outfits who publish these things as a ranking, comparing all the similar restaurants against each other.

    The cheap and easy way to get a high score is to cheat. Send the cars to the parking lot. Keep the line moving and with fast wait times. Win.

    My local Wendys does this all the time and proudly sports some local-level wall plaques testifying to their speed of service. They’re not supposed to cheat, but results are results people. How you get them is not important.

    There are times when restaurants really do run out of fries and things and ask you to move rather than wait. I am OK with that on one level (I’m always in the car behind, it seems, so yes, get out of my way with your damn special order), but but but all the major chains have modeling showing them exactly what items are likely to be needed at any given time so there’s not a LOT of excuse for running out of fries or something else pretty common. They should expect demand and be prepared.

  66. physics2010 says:

    If it’s used wisely the “pull ahead” system benefits everyone. Piling people up just doesn’t work. Having a separate order taker and money collector/deliverer during peak hours is the reason many fast food joints have two windows. Its a pity they believe that overworking one person to save an additional minimum wage payment during these times as it just leads mistakes.

    Placing the bucket over the sensor or driving a car around sure sounds stupid. 300 cars went through your drive through, yet only 200 placed an order….and if its tied to the register it still doesn’t start the clock until someone orders something. Only the “pull ahead” makes sense.

    Times to legitimately use the pull ahead system is a long cook time order (complex or chicken), or a tiny order (e.g. drink only would get pissed if they wait 5 minutes+). Beyond that stacking people three deep just doesn’t help since now instead of passing the order out the window you have to walk out there. In this case the order deliverer sat there trying to hear and remember another order, wouldn’t be able to provide the price etc. That brings up another practice that you don’t notice as much…ringing you up only once you reach the window. “Pull up I’ll give you the price at the window”, which means they have time to cook the food, bag it and reduce their overall wait time… kind of a pain for a person paying with cash.

  67. TTFK says:

    The first thing to do:

    Say, “No thanks, I’ll wait here.”

    The second thing to do:

    Ask them, “Are you trying to cheat your internal timer?”

    The third thing to do:

    Get the number for their district/regional office to complain. Very often, you will end up with massive handfuls of free food coupons, which then hurt the store’s bottom line when you redeem them.

    From experience, I can tell you that nothing freaks them out more than option 1. They’ll usually call the manager over which gives you a chance to repeat your response, possibly coupling it with a conjured anti-social tendency such as autism, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Tourettes or your choice of any other disorder to inflict on those that want to pad their numbers.

    The places that do this on a serial basis are those that most need to have as many bad timers forced on them as possible.. Otherwise, the system fails because they are never forced to change.

    Oh, there is also option 4: Let them know you have already spoken to their district/regional office before about this kind of poor service, and you will not hesitate to do so again…. combined with getting the manager-on-duty’s name.

  68. psykomyko says:

    I’ve had drive-thru operators ask me to do this at the Burger King in downtown Detroit and Jack-in-the-Box in Eureka, CA. After the first time, I caught on and have refused ever since.

  69. Oliver Q. says:

    This happened to me at a Taco Bell once, first time they asked me to back up and pull forward. I did it, the next time I went there I asked why. When they refused to give me a straight answer I just didn’t move. They weren’t happy but I got my food faster.

  70. Kat says:

    You know, you can refuse. In places where it’s dangerous because of cross-traffic or what have you, we refuse.

  71. Endgame says:

    Eat healthier

  72. jeromiahb says:

    You should see the wait times at Whataburger in Texas at least 15 minutes in the drive thru.

  73. jedifarfy says:

    The stores are judged by their timing. It determines their hours, sales goals, bonuses, everything. If they can be fast they can hire more employees and get you your food faster. It’s all a numbers game. As long as you get your food (bleh), there should be no problem here.

  74. da34amadeo says:

    dont forget having someone just drive thru the drive thru a few times just for the express purpose off driving the timer down .lol!!!! i hated working fast food .

  75. CalicoGal says:

    “Ma’am, would you mind parking over there? We will bring your food out momentarily.”

    “mmm, nah, I’m kinda in a hurry and it will take forever if I wait over there. I’ll just wait here. Thanks, tho!! *smile*”

    ALSO, I usually go in, anyways. Like Joe Peschi said, “YOU ALWAYS GET F^

  76. DanGarion says:

    Or maybe it’s because they have the order ready for the person behind you and your order takes longer?

  77. crazydavythe1st says:

    It’s not “cheating” the timer if this condoned at the corporate level of most fast food places. And it is, to a limited extent. Asking everyone to pull forward is unacceptable, however asking one or two people to pull forward is acceptable. The official policy of the fast food place I worked at when I was younger was that any order that would take longer than 90 seconds to complete had to be parked. Of course, it was also expected that this would happen relatively infrequently.

    Additionally, asking someone to pull forward even if nobody is behind them is acceptable. It has nothing to do with “cheating the timer”. There are ways to do that don’t involve having the customer pull forward. It often doesn’t occur the way it is supposed to, so I can understand the frustration. In theory, having someone pull forward was supposed to be an opportunity to provide better service to those that had to wait. You know – making absolutely sure that you had all the sauces you might want, refilling drinks if someone has waited long enough to finish their drink, and we would often give free ice cream to the kids if their parents approved. It also has something to do with the time – it does save a couple of seconds if someone does appear behind you waiting for you to pull forward. I know that it often doesn’t happen this way, but this is the theory behind the process. It’s basically supposed to be a “carhop-like” service if your order is taking awhile to cook.

    I spent way too much time in fast food as a teenager, but there are some interesting things to note. First is that a corporate store location almost always has at least two or three more employees around the clock doing mundane tasks like just making fries, for example. A corporate location is usually the model of efficiency, as the goal isn’t usually to make a profit, but just to run the place until they can get someone to take over the franchise. A franchised location has to cut corners if they are to actually make a profit – that’s when you end up with two or three employees doing the job of five or six employees. The idea basically is that fast food service will never be fantastic in most situations; there are just too few employees to guarantee fast times and the margins are too razor-thin to often hire more employees. There are the exceptions though: the corporate locations as I mentioned, continuously high-volume locations, and corporate “inspection” time of a franchised location.

  78. actuatedpoodle says:

    I found that when I complain to their corporate website, I am oft rewarded with coupons for freebies and improvements in store performance, which is a win-win-win, since the chain also keeps its customers.

  79. Montecore Jones says:

    I didn’t realize how widespread this problem was until reading this discussion. While enjoying a delicious sandwich in the parking lot of a local Burger King, I observed someone making at least a dozen or so trips through the drive-thru while there were no other customers. I went inside to investigate and it turns out the manager was doing the driving, and was up front about the timer. Rather than risk food poisoning on my next visit, I didn’t make an issue of it. The management is wrong for cheating, but corporate is also wrong for using such a stupid system that can be gamed so easily.