I will start off my Wednesday Whine series of posts with one matter that has been bugging me for longer than I can remember. Hopefully someone can shed some light on why this simple matter is such a widespread problem.
Why can’t I get takeout food without there being a problem with my order?
With a large number of excellent restaurants literally down the street from my house, I can’t resist getting takeout at least 3 or 4 nights a week and almost always for lunch. The selection includes Longhorn Steakhouse, Chili’s, Panda Express, Arby’s, Chik-Fil-A, Bonefish Grill, Cracker Barrel, and many others. The ability to regularly use $5-off coupons generally brings the price of a night’s takeout meal for myself and my wife to around $20, which is around what I usually spend at the supermarket for dinner.
However, for some reason, it is almost impossible for me to order something for takeout, whether it’s from a sit-down restaurant or just a drive-through, and have the order be 100% correct. It’s not like I’m creating custom orders every time either. I simply order directly off of the menu and, sure enough, something is always forgotten or incorrectly prepared.
Today for lunch, right before posting this, I went through the drive-through at Arby’s and ordered a chicken bacon & swiss combo (sandwich + fries + drink), a regular roast beef sandwich, potato cakes, and a small order of southwest egg rolls. After paying, I received no potato cakes and no dipping sauce for the egg rolls.
Not receiving all of the items I ordered is the easiest (and most common) problem to deal with, but it’s still obnoxious. Because of the recurring problem, I can never leave a restaurant (fast food or otherwise) without triple-checking every tiny detail of every food item to ensure that I won’t be annoyed when I get home to find that Longhorn Steakhouse has given me a sweet potato wrapped in aluminum foil instead of a regular baked russet/Idaho potato (yes, this happened recently).
It has gotten to the point where I almost have to eat the food at the restaurant to make sure that the steak is not overdone, the fries are not undercooked, or that there’s no mayonnaise on a sandwich when I specifically said “NO MAYO.” A typical takeout experience now involves getting the food, opening every styrofoam container, foil wrapping, or plastic lid and inspecting every item before leaving the restaurant.
And the one that really ticks me off the most is when fast food locations don’t have what’s on their menu! I can’t count the number of times I’ve ordered corn on the cob at Kentucky Fried Chicken, a baked potato at Wendy’s, or a milkshake at McDonald’s only to find that they “ran out of corn,” “the potatoes are still cooking,” or “the milkshake machine is broken.” Isn’t the point of fast food to have everything on the menu ready at all times? Why bother staying open late if you’re only going to have half of your food available?
So I ask… is all of this really necessary? Is it really that hard to prepare a takeout meal properly?Tweet