‘Employees are people too’


Michael Long, Sports Editor

Of the Statista-estimated 3.8 million fast-food workers, I am one of them. Well technically I work at Penn Station and that’s considered “casual dining,” but it’s pretty much the same. Anyways, in my year and a half worth of experience, I’ve noticed that many customers have an unneeded sense of entitlement. It’s like they think that they can treat workers like they aren’t humans just because they’re paying for the service or because they’re in a hurry.

Employees are people too, and there should be a code that customers follow when communicating to workers in order to make the going out to eat experience better for both parties. Well, guess what. I made a code. It’s nothing big or groundbreaking. It’s just a few small things I thought of that people need to consider when going out to eat. So, here they are.

The first and probably most important thing to consider when going out to eat is to take the extra second and read the menu. I can’t say how many times I’ve been at work and we’ve had to remake someone’s order just because the customer “thought” it comes with onions or other toppings. The details of all the orders, all the possible options, anything you will need to order your meal correctly is listed on a restaurant’s menu.

The second thing is to be patient with workers. Something that customers need to understand is that fast-food workers serve hundreds of people per day and with the number of employees per establishment going down, according to Stasta, and with 40 percent of fast-food workers living in poverty, their jobs aren’t getting any more desirable. Being impatient and not willing to deal a small wait is not something that is courteous to the people doing nothing but trying to get you your food correctly.

Something else people should consider when going out to eat is the appropriate times to show up. This is not a difficult task to master as a customer. Literally any time between the time the restaurant opens and about 30 minutes before the place closes is acceptable. Showing up right before a restaurant closes is a sure fire way to make the employees angry. Usually by that time, they would have started the closing task so that they can leave after their long shift, and having to serve someone completely sets them back. Technically restaurants have to serve you all the way up until they close, but if you’re striving to be a more polite person, this is something small, but huge to consider when going out to eat.

One of the smallest things you can do as a customer that can brighten a fast-food employee’s day, is say “thank you” or “have a nice day,” especially when we initiate it.This is a form of practicing gratitude, which is listed fifth on Forbes’ “The 5 Essential Steps To Have A Good Day.”  

All we hear about in our world is how good customer service should be from restaurants, and anyone who has worked in food knows how heavily the phrase, “the customer is always right” is pushed. It’s this mindset that has led to the fall of our customer etiquette. Yes, it is a real thing, and we should be practicing it more.