Before I start this particular rant (which I’ve been meaning to write for a week now) let me say that I love the food at Wendy’s.
The Wendy’s closest to my house is having real service problems. The last few times I’ve been there they’ve botched at least part of my order. I could point to the fact that my order-taker had a strong mexican accent and blame immigration, but I’ve gotten enough good service from hard-working, well-intentioned immigrants all over this country that I’m not going to play that card. I’ve also gotten enough crummy service from american-accented punk teenagers and meth-mouthed thirty-somethings that I know it’s not about race.
But back to Wendy’s: on my most recent visit I pulled in with a large order — one for the whole family, with several burgers, and one special order. I looked at the line in drive-through, and my thinking went like this: “I don’t want to be pressured by the line behind me when I’m deciding whether it’s worth it to double-check my bag.” In short, I EXPECTED them to screw up my order, especially if I placed it over the speaker.
So I went in and stood in line. While I was waiting I saw two people come in with screwed up drive-through orders. Well… score one for me making the right decision.
Then I waited… and waited… and waited. Okay, lunch rush is a busy time, but I’ve been to Wendy’s that were busier and far faster. They’re also halfway across town rather than around the corner.
Then I placed my order. Then I waited some more. Aaaand some more. And finally it’s bagged up and ready to go.
I open the bag, count, and I’m short a sandwich.
I can probably point to the exact moment in my conversation with the order-taker when things went wrong. Her english was imperfect, and while I tried to be explicit, and was careful to speak slowly, I can see in retrospect where she might have misunderstood me. The missing burger had not been paid for and was not on my reciept. Apparently “two Big Bacon Classics, plus ANOTHER Big Bacon Classic with no onions” would have been clearer as “three Big Bacon Classics. One with no onions.”
(This reminds me of one of the screw-ups from an earlier visit, when I asked for an extra patty on a Big Bacon Classic, and my burger showed up with one patty and… wait for it… a side order of mayonaisse.)
To their credit, they dealt me the extra burger quickly, and at no charge. The manager never questioned whether I was trying to sneak extra food — he just assumed the best of me, and the worst of his employees, and the final burger arrived in something like 30 seconds.
But let’s look back at the whole sequence: The service here has been so consistently bad that they’ve trained me to a) Not order at the drive-through, b) speak slowly and carefully, and c) take inventory of the contents of my bag before leaving the store. Not only do I EXPECT bad service from them, I’ve already adjusted my behavior to compensate.
Couple that with the fact that the burgers are usually assembled rather haphazardly, and it’s a wonder I go back at all.
So I guess what I’m seeing is probably symptomatic of bigger problems: 1) management over there hasn’t figured out how to put together a decent crew, and might not even care, and 2) I keep eating fast food.