"I did not even attempt to use a drive through for several years after living in the US!"
These are a few answers my friends from India had to the questions, "How long did you live in the US before you ordered in a fast food restaurant or through a drive through?" Some of the common apprehensions to this were:
- Not knowing the menu well enough to order
- Not understanding the American accent well enough
- Not understanding it when people talk fast (as fast food employees talk fast)
- Not able to get out the money in the right denomination 'fast enough'
- Eating in the car while driving (mostly for ordering through a drive thru)
Suggestions for Ordering in a Fast Food Restaurant
Understand the Menu
If you want to go to McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell or any fast food restaurant, firstly do not assume the menu items are the same as the ones you may find in the same named restaurants abroad. Even if the menu name is the same, the taste will be different! It may be wise to ask others from your country already in the US their opinion on the food in the restaurant as they probably have similar tastes to you.
Visit on Off-Hours
Do not go during the busy meal time hours. If possible, go for the first time on a weekend maybe after the lunch rush, about 2:30-3:30pm. This may not be your normal meal time, and that's understandable. Use this time to read over the menu, then when ready, go up to the counter and place your order. On off hours, the staff may talk slower, there is not so much rush, so you can talk slower, and take more time to count the correct change as required.
If you visit a drive through on off-hours, however, they still may tend to talk faster and expect faster responses from you than in the restaurant at the counter.
Go with an American Colleague or Friend
If you think your American friend or coworker can guide you, by all means go along with him or her on the first visit. It's ok to tell the person that the culture of the country you come from is different, and you're not used to ordering so fast or talking so fast in English and they will be happy to help you the first few times until you get used to it.
How Do I Order at a Drive Through
|Who wouldn't get intimated by this? Read the entire thing, select,|
and order in one minute, please!
Credit: Michael Cote, flickr
Take a look at these two YouTube videos that may shed some light into the the drive-thru ordering process.
This second video appears to be a fast food order places in the south. In this video, you can hear an American southern accent.
Note: If you see a drive through lane, do not block it or drive through in the opposite way. If an accident occurs due to this, whomever is blocking the lane or driving the wrong way will be penalized.
Please feel free to share your experiences of using drive-throughs or ordering fast food in the US.
Jennifer Kumar helps your offshore teams prepare for onsite success when visiting the US on business trips. Contact her for more information today.
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