As someone who has worked in the fast-food industry for the last four years, I’ve encountered too many weird situations and angry guests to count. It’s given me a lot of good life experience.
Being a manager for the last year and a half has allowed me to have many positive interactions and experiences but also put me in the position to notice the angry guests and difficult interactions even more than normal.
Many people that come through the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru treat my team with kindness. I’d like to say that most people who visit our store are conscious of its employees and pleased with the service they provide.
However, that doesn’t mean that every person thinks about the ways they treat the team. We deal with few difficult customers each day, so when I think about the way a shift went, I usually remember the difficult customers more than the nicer ones.
Sadly, it’s the rude guests that usually stick in my memory, because those interactions leave deeper impressions on my team. That’s not to say that the delightful guests who come through don’t leave an impact as well, but it feels different than when guests are difficult.
Before the coronavirus reached the United States and the country began shutting down, these guests were usually few and far between. We would deal with a major conflict maybe once during a shift, or a few times a week.
As we’ve all worked together to make adjustments to meet the continually updating health and safety requirements in response to the pandemic, guests have been getting more and more frustrated with the changes we’ve had to make.
I have been surprised at the number of guests that feel entitled to special treatment. We need to protect our team just as much as the general public. I thought by clearly explaining the need for protective measures, people would come to understand that we mean well with our actions.
It’s almost amusing to me how many people will choose to protect themselves, but become defensive when we ask them to do something small to help us protect our team.
I’m going to be honest and say that this treatment is frustrating. It’s difficult. At times it challenges my professional demeanor.
Keep in mind the ways you treat the people who continue to serve you during such a different and challenging time. The words and actions you choose affect these people more deeply than you might think.
Foodservice workers are essential too, and they deserve your respect for the work they do, no matter how little you think of them. It can actually be stressful for many to continue working around so many people during a time like this.
Your respect goes a long way. A small action can make a huge difference in someone’s day, and if you’re kind to the essential workers you encounter you may be surprised at how kind they are in return.