Save Everyone Time And Avoid Placing Large Orders In The Drive-Thru

The three pillars of drive-thru etiquette are as follows: Don't vape at the drive-thru window; know what you're going to order by the time you get in line, and if you're going to place a large order, don't use the drive-thru. Today, we're looking a little closer at this final rule. If you know you're going to be placing a large order, do everyone a favor and order inside. The drive-thru line is for quick service; do your part to keep the line moving and get out of your car to order.

For starters, dropping a bomb on underpaid, overworked employees may immediately suggest that you've never worked a fast food job before in your life. On the subreddit r/Starbucks, one apparent barista paints the unpleasant scene of one customer ordering seven Frappuccinos during an understaffed shift. "[W]e had a busy cafe and really only one person on bar, but we still got those fraps out in 6ish minutes." But, even so, the poster says that a customer behind the large orderer pulled up to the second window. Frustrated by the long wait time, they requested a free item, failing to appreciate that the baristas just cranked out such a large order so quickly while workers "were trying to get closing tasks done, and [I've] been here 6 hours."

Read the room, and read out your large order in person — not over the intercom

Similar grievances have been aired on other subreddits including r/doordash and r/unpopularopinion. The issue has even inspired a crop of TikToks of people calling out folks for placing takeout orders large enough to be considered catering in drive-thru lines. Call it "making a scene," call it "totally justified," but whatever you call it, it sucks to get stuck in line for 15 minutes when all you wanted was a 10-piece and a soda.

It's not just about inconveniencing the staff or the people behind you, either. It can also be a matter of public safety and urban planning. Chick-fil-A has announced plans to open a massive first-of-its-kind 75-car drive-thru in early 2024 to help curtail its infamously long wait times. The popular fast food chain has even become the center of at least one lawsuit for its sprawling drive-thru lines that caused cars to pour out into the roadways and fill the parking lots of neighboring businesses.

As another modern hurdle, effectively communicating an order through the drive-thru intercom can be tough enough, but the issue could be further exacerbated by AI ordering systems on the rise if they glitch, requiring employee intervention. Ordering multiple Party Packs from Taco Bell? Sounds like you've got a fun night ahead! Park and go inside.