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'Optional' option at McD's

A new option for special orders.
  [vote for,

Recently, (okay, several years ago) McD's updated their order-placing system to make special orders easier. The system currently allows food to be ordered 'with,' 'without,' 'with only,' and 'with extra' condiments. While this new option would certainly need a better, less multisyllabic title, it would allow you to say that your order may be specialized in whichever way you placed it, but doesn't have to be. This would be useful when you would ie like to get a burger without onions, but don't want to wait longer if they screw up and have to start over assembling your sandwich. Another scenario is if you want all white-meat pieces in a 20-piece McNugget, but don't want to wait for them to prepare another batch of nuggets (although if you expect to get that from McD's, you probably deserve to wait.) While this option wouldn't add much to the specialization of orders, it could speed up the service considerably at key times.

Apparently I wasn't precise enough. Yes, there are a number of places that have order taking systems where this wouldn't be useful or effective. However, there are also a number where it would work well. Fast-food places where the order-taking is sent to the grill area via computer, having something on the order-entry keypad thing that allowed you to indicate the importance of a special order would be useful.

Also, rather than marking a special order as 'optional', one could designate a special order as 'important' ie if someone with lactose-intolerance orders a sandwich that normally has cheese. The theory is that the grill gurus take more care to make sure the order is made properly.

While the improvement wrought by this idea would admittedly be marginal, it would be an improvement nonetheless. And there are alternatives, but the register person probably doesn't want to constantly shout back to the grillers that an order is 'optional,' and completely replacing the order-taking system, especially to emulate those of their competitors, isn't going to realistically happen.

nick_n_uit, Aug 06 2002


       Necessity? Nonexestient.
watermelancholy, Aug 06 2002

       is the service slow? besides, isn't it burger king that makes it my way?
rbl, Aug 06 2002

       There are plenty of fast food chains out there that have the special order thing well under control. (In'N'Out Burger comes to mind.) Or am I overlooking something?
jutta, Aug 06 2002

       As jutta indicated, In'N'Out Burger handles things exactly as prescribed - they use common sense and fresh/quality ingredients through and through, really. They don't *do* Chicken Nuggets, though - thankfully. Do eyeballs count as white meat in chicken nuggets?
thumbwax, Aug 07 2002

       Optionally, you could opt for somewhere else...
PeterSilly, Aug 07 2002

       Thumbwax: Truth in advertising says it's ok as long as they remove the iris. Don't fryem until you see the whites of their eyes....
Mr Burns, Aug 07 2002

       I think what nick_n_uit is after is the ability to specify speed over specificity of order and settle for what they have on the warming racks rather than create his order from scratch.   

       I don't see the problem doing this with the existing systems as long as you and the employee speak the same language...
st3f, Aug 07 2002

       In my experience, of all the multitude of problems that can arise from an automated order-placing system, very few of them would be solved with an "Optional" option. Good communication between retail and kitchen staff does far more. Nice idea, though. One of my own half-baked ideas is to have a "Kitchen-cam", whereby the touchscreen used to place orders turns into a video link-up with anyone you wish to speak to in the kitchen. A bit too sci-fi I think.
DRstrathmore, Aug 07 2002

       st3f: I think the issue is that at many fast foot places the workers are expected to punch into the system 'exactly' what is requested. At a Mom & Pop burger joint, it's easy to tell the owner what time constraints one is under and have them give you the best food you can get within that constraint. At major fast-food places, though, it sometimes seems that if there's not a "button" for it you can't get it.   

       I think what nick is looking for is the ability to specify "I'd like a hamburger with only ketchup and onions, if you can get me one within three minutes; otherwise just give me a standard one." Not an unreasonable request, but providing for all such requests would overcomplicate things. Perhaps what's needed here, though, rather than the ability to specify "contingency plans" for one's food, is to instead provide the order-taker with enough information to let the customer make an informed decision. E.g.   

       Customer: How long for a special-order burger?
Clerk: We'll have a batch of patties coming off the grill in about 30 seconds. What would you like?
Customer: Cheeseburger, with only ketchup and onions.


       Customer: How long for a special-order burger?
Clerk: We don't have any cooking. If I start one it'd be about five minutes. Would you like me to?
Customer: No, that's all right. Do you have any chicken nuggets up?
Clerk: Yes, we have enough for a six- or nine-piece order. Would you like some?
Customer: Sure, give me a six-piece.

       Providing the clerk with immediate information about what's available would allow the customer to make decisions far more effectively than the order-taking system could possibly provide for.
supercat, Aug 07 2002

       Forget McD. A PB&J sandwich would probably taste better than any burger McCrap can make. I, for one, wouldn't mind popping some of my own patties on my own grill and making my burger MY way.
BinaryCookies, Aug 07 2002

       My two favourite burger places seem to do everything mcdonalds doesn't. It's fresh healthy and they make your order right in front of you - usually not taking more than 3 minutes, plus there are couches to sit on if your waiting for a takeway.   

       While surposedly you can be served in under 60 seconds at mcdonalds, you possibly will spend time in standing waiting a queue, and 1 out of 3 times you have to wait a couple of minutes for the burger anyway because their warmer is not stocked. The other two times the burger is cold. Priority is given to drive thru no doubt, if your on foot looking for quick food mcdonalds isn't really that fast.
venomx, Jul 13 2003

       I happen to work at McDo, and I kind of find this a wee misinformed.   

       See, when you order a burger, special or not, we toast the buns, put on the condiments, put on the meat that is there for no longer than 10 minutes after it has been cooked, and then serve it up, homestyle. We have quality alarms on everything, to ensure relatively fresh stuff (Late at night, right before a close, this tends to not hold true, however).   

       If you order it special, a little slip of paper comes up from a printer in the kitchen and is put on the back of your burger wrapper. It tells the people what is special about it.   

       Then the kitchen poeple make it according to the slip, and it takes about 3 extra seconds in your entire order.   

       Now, as for the white meat chicken nuggets, (supposedly o.o) they are all white meat, and before they were white meat, you couldn't tell them apart before they went into the fryers, unless you did some chemical tests on them or something. Which we don't have the facilities for.   

       As for fresh burger patties, the regular patties (like, hamburgers, big mac, etc) take 40 seconds to cook, and the quarter patties take 110 seconds to cook. So, they don't take five minutes.   

       If you want like... a fresh mcchicken or a fresh crispy, it will take five minutes. Fresh nuggets are 4 minutes. Same with fiilet au fish. Strips are 6 minutes.   

       Everything is designed so the customer can get WHAT they want as fast as possible without sacrificing quality. That is only sacrificed by people being stupid and not following procedure.   

       Feel free to complain if an employee fucks up. They deserve it. It isn't too hard.   

       In short, you don't want cheese, you don't get cheese.
dracujesus, Nov 29 2004


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