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-   -   Wendy's, I WANT to give you my money. (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=304650)

Tracy Lord 02-28-2005 02:33 AM

Wendy's, I WANT to give you my money.
 
Why won't you let me?

It's 11:30 at night, and I'm struck with some serious french fry cravings. So I look in the phone book and start telephoning all of the fast food restaurants within walking distance of the dorm, as I have no car. All closed, except for one: the fellow at the other end of the line at Wendy's tells me that they're "open until midnight."

Great! I put on my sweatshirt, pick up my purse, and walk over there. Except that the "dining room" is locked up at ten, and the drive-through is what's open 'til midnight. So I walk up, rap on the window, and have a very polite young man tell me that he can't serve me unless I'm in a vehicle.

WTF, Wendy's? I want to purchase something! You have goods and services! I have money! Let's make this capitalism thing work, baby, just you and me! We'll rock the economy's world! Except that oh, wait, we didn't, because you wouldn't take my money.

Also, for the record, drive-through does NOT count as "open 'til midnight." You're two blocks from a college dorm, dude. Who else is going to be calling you at 11:30 on a Sunday night?

And I still want some fries.

One And Only Wanderers 02-28-2005 03:03 AM

they wouldn't serve you from the drive through window unless you're in a vehicle? That sucks. Why should they care? Is it a safety thing? I suppose you have less chance of leaping through the window and garroting him if youre belted into a car.

blowero 02-28-2005 03:11 AM

I'm sure it's a liability thing. If restaurants allowed people to walk up to the drive-thru window, and someone got hit by a car, they'd be in serious doo-doo.

zagloba 02-28-2005 03:13 AM

Yeah, this really gets my goat, too. I think blowero has the explanation.

kimera 02-28-2005 04:04 AM

When I was in high school, the boys used to ride on the hoods of the cars and go through drive-thrus. The people had to serve them since the statement at the resturant just said that they couldn't be on foot. Maybe you can find someone willing to let you sit on the hood or trunk of his/her car? :D

butter pie 02-28-2005 04:19 AM

All the drive-throughs we go/have gone to recently say something to the effect of "customers on foot or bicycles will not be served at the window." I don't blame them. Like someone said, if you got injured by a car that couldn't see you as it turned the corner, you'd be in trouble. More trouble than a 99 cent Biggie Fry is worth...

Grrr! 02-28-2005 05:49 AM

Easy solution would be ask the next person to drive up to buy you some f'n fries. Just make sure you got the money in your hand so they don't think you want a free-bee.

I'm a guy though, that might be a little dangerous for a woman.

Grrr! 02-28-2005 05:53 AM

[puts dad hat on]

And oh! That reminds me. What the hell are you doing walking alone that late at night?!

Hmm, little missy?

[takes dad hat off]

OK carry on...

Scott Plaid 02-28-2005 07:32 AM

"No soup for you!"

blowero 02-28-2005 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SHAKES
Easy solution would be ask the next person to drive up to buy you some f'n fries. Just make sure you got the money in your hand so they don't think you want a free-bee.

I'm a guy though, that might be a little dangerous for a woman.

Might work where you live, but most places, people are a little wary of strangers approaching their car late at night.

Nanoda 02-28-2005 01:54 PM

Yummy salted fried potato shards....
I once went to McDonalds in search of the same item. The first one couldn't serve me because the manager wasn't there :confused: , and at the second I discovered as you did that even though I counted as a vehicle anywhere else, a bicycle wasn't good enough to get me my fries.
I hung around for a minute feeling like a kid at a liquor store wondering if I could get someone with a car to get me some, then got mad at them for having silly rules and didn't want to spend my $$$, then cycled away feeling impotent and morose when I realized I was the only one who cared one way or the other.

Amazon Floozy Goddess 02-28-2005 02:07 PM

Yep, it comes down to liability. It would be all to easy for someone to drive through and not see you, and you'd be flattened. And then that restaurant would be in a heap of trouble.

I'm sure the employee felt for you, but you need to understand that they have to obey the rules that are set upon them by their boss and/or the company. They can't ignore the rules or they can risk getting fired. I hope you didn't give him a hard time about it. If this rule pisses you off, write head office a letter.

Musicat 02-28-2005 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blowero
I'm sure it's a liability thing. If restaurants allowed people to walk up to the drive-thru window, and someone got hit by a car, they'd be in serious doo-doo.

That may be the official explanation, but are you more vulnerable receiving food thru the driveup or standing there being told you won't be served?

Did they tell you not to stand there for safety reasons, or just if you stood there, you wouldn't be treated as a welcome customer?

In a well-lighted driveway, with people walking across it to get to their cars and cars stopping to order anyway, what kind of danger is this? You're more likely to get hit crossing a street, and last I heard, that was legal.

MRirian 02-28-2005 02:38 PM

Still, none of this explains why they were serving food at the drive thru but not inside the restaurant. :confused:

FatBaldGuy 02-28-2005 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MRirian
Still, none of this explains why they were serving food at the drive thru but not inside the restaurant. :confused:

A lot of fast food places have started doing this recently. It allows them to clean up the dining area and send most of the staff home at 10:00 or so, and then stay open to serve the night-owls with a minimal staff on hand.

Musicat 02-28-2005 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MRirian
Still, none of this explains why they were serving food at the drive thru but not inside the restaurant. :confused:

I can think of several reasons. It's late at night. Security is a concern more so than in the day, as there are probably fewer employees around. It's easier to keep an eye on one window than the whole dining room and multiple entrances.

And when they are ready to go home, they don't have to wait for lingering diners and clean up after them. Just close the window and douse the lights.

None of which explains the refusal to serve someone at the window.

Lockz 02-28-2005 03:11 PM

Perhaps it's an effort to keep employees working for the shortest time possible? If they let people eat inside the restaurant, then they'd have to keep employees after the closing time to clean it. This way they can have people take orders and cook, and send everyone home right at 12 (or however long it takes to clean the cooking equipment). But they wouldn't have to clean tables.

MRirian 02-28-2005 03:29 PM

Eh, I'll buy that. Still, it's not like you would make any kind of mess just walking in and ordering something to go. Although, it would be kind of senseless to make a rule saying "you can come in and order your food, but you can't sit at a table." Security-wise, I can sort of see how they'd be more likely to be robbed at midnight than at noon.

How many people walk to Wendy's that late anyway?

blowero 02-28-2005 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Musicat
That may be the official explanation, but are you more vulnerable receiving food thru the driveup or standing there being told you won't be served?

I'm not defending the practice. I'm just giving an educated guess as to why they do it. I'm pretty sure it's not just to be mean. They want to make money; they aren't going to refuse service for no particular reason.

The unfortunate reality in today's litigious society is that companies' decisions are predicated on whether they could be held liable in a lawsuit. The bottom line is whether they could be sued and lose a lot of money. If they have a policy of refusing to serve walk-up customers at the drive-thru window, that's going to be strong evidence in the event of a lawsuit, whereas, "Well gee, your honor, we didn't think it was very likely that anyone would be hit.", would be a losing argument in court.

Having said that, I actually think it would be more dangerous to be standing there receiving food. It takes much longer to take an order, take money, give change, prepare the food, and give it to the customer, than it does to tell the customer to leave. In addition, if the customer refuses to leave, and is hit by a car, the restaurant is less likely to be considered responsible than if they encouraged the person to stand there.
Quote:

In a well-lighted driveway, with people walking across it to get to their cars and cars stopping to order anyway, what kind of danger is this? You're more likely to get hit crossing a street, and last I heard, that was legal.
It's probably not very likely, but it would only take one instance of it happening for the company to conceivably lose millions of dollars in a lawsuit.

Crossing the street is legal, but only in marked crosswalks or controlled intersections. Cities never encourage people to jaywalk.

Tracy Lord 02-28-2005 03:42 PM

A few clarifications:

* There were no other cars around, literally. The Wendy's was in the middle of a strip mall-type shopping center, and it could clearly be seen and heard that there were no vehicles in the vicinity besides the employees' cars in the parking lot.

* Of course I didn't hassle the young man at the window! He said, "I'm sorry, but I can't serve you unless you're in a vehicle"; I said, "Thank you," and walked away. (Oy, what is this world coming to?)

* I can understand the safety concern, except that one of the doors into the restaurant was two feet to the right. One would think that they would want paying customers to enter through said door, which would involve said paying customers crossing the drive-through strip. ...

* The really frustrating thing is that -- well, they're open! I want to buy food from them! That's their business! I feel I should reiterate that this location is two blocks away from a college campus. It seems as if it would be a good business decision to allow pedestrian customers. And dammit, I really wanted fries!

Gangster Octopus 02-28-2005 03:52 PM

I'm not so sure it is about liability and more about making customers come into the restaurant, when it is open, if they are on foot. I can see how during the business hours that wouldbe clearly prefereable so as not to clog up the drive-thru. I suppose they could change the policy after the restaurant opens, but it is probably better to keep the policy onsistent all the time. Why would liability be a concern in the drive-thru versus, say, the parking lot?

blowero 02-28-2005 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tracy Lord
A few clarifications:

* There were no other cars around, literally. The Wendy's was in the middle of a strip mall-type shopping center, and it could clearly be seen and heard that there were no vehicles in the vicinity besides the employees' cars in the parking lot.

Again, this is just an educated guess, but failure to consistenty enforce a policy would mitigate the policy's effectiveness in reducing the company's culpability. They probably don't allow low-level employees to make judgment calls, because that would blow up in their face if they had to defend a lawsuit. So in the interest of consistency, they're going to instruct the employees to never serve walk-up customers. So from the company's point of view, how many cars were around isn't really relevant. Besides, what guarantee is there that a car won't drive up? Just because there isn't one there right now doesn't mean one couldn't drive up at any time.
Quote:

* I can understand the safety concern, except that one of the doors into the restaurant was two feet to the right. One would think that they would want paying customers to enter through said door, which would involve said paying customers crossing the drive-through strip. ...
Crossing, and standing there are two different things. And I'd be willing to bet that they have some sort of marked crosswalk, and most likely a sign to alert motorists that pedestrians are crossing. Now, I know what you're going to say, "Well they could put a sign saying people might be standing at the window." They could, but they probably figure it's less risky and easier to just not allow them. Sometimes it's just not possible to design a restaurant so that customers can get in without crossing the path of cars, but they probably would if they could. The local Jack-In-the-Box here actually has a steel rail in front that makes it impossible to enter from the drive-thru side.
Quote:

* The really frustrating thing is that -- well, they're open! I want to buy food from them! That's their business! I feel I should reiterate that this location is two blocks away from a college campus. It seems as if it would be a good business decision to allow pedestrian customers. And dammit, I really wanted fries!
Yeah, you'd think. I'm guessing that the security risk from leaving the doors unlocked all night outweighs the potential profit from late night walk-in customers. That must be the case, because it's very rare for fast-food places to leave the dining room open all night. I agree that it's frustrating.

duffer 02-28-2005 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tracy Lord
* The really frustrating thing is that -- well, they're open! I want to buy food from them! That's their business! I feel I should reiterate that this location is two blocks away from a college campus. It seems as if it would be a good business decision to allow pedestrian customers. And dammit, I really wanted fries!


For one thing, even here in little ol' Grand Forks some of the fast food joints have walk-up windows.

With regards to what happened to you, keep in mind that because there were no cars when you went, doesn't mean there won't be ever. Can you imagine 11pm with car, truck, 4 drunk college kids, car, 3 smart-ass HS kids trying to be contrarian/cool, van, car, 4 drunk college kids?

And more important, consider this. Once a pedestrian is served at the Drive-Thru, you've set the precedent that you serve pedestrians at the DT. Imagine people in the summer wanting lunch at Wendy's but not wanting to go inside the store?

Smapti 02-28-2005 05:35 PM

I work at a restaurant where the drive-thru is open all night, and more than once we've had inebriated foot traffic almost run over in the drive-thru.

Furthermore, another store in our district was robbed not long ago by a pedestrian who climbed through the open drive-thru window.

The rule makes sense to me.

blowero 02-28-2005 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Smapti
I work at a restaurant where the drive-thru is open all night, and more than once we've had inebriated foot traffic almost run over in the drive-thru.

Furthermore, another store in our district was robbed not long ago by a pedestrian who climbed through the open drive-thru window.

The rule makes sense to me.

That reminds me - I actually got rear-ended in a drive-thru once, and the person was at a dead stop only a few feet behind me before she did it. She just pressed on the accellerator and drove right into me when I was right there in my car right in front of her. And a car is a hell of a lot easier to see than a pedestrian.

CanvasShoes 02-28-2005 08:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blowero
I'm sure it's a liability thing. If restaurants allowed people to walk up to the drive-thru window, and someone got hit by a car, they'd be in serious doo-doo.

It's a safety thing, their little signs affixed to the drive-up windows even say so. But otherwise, a pox on idiots that can't provide APPLICABLE and CRUCIAL information, such as a simple "but that's only our drive up, dining in closes at X O'Clock.

blowero 03-01-2005 03:53 AM

[QUOTE=CanvasShoes]It's a safety thing, their little signs affixed to the drive-up windows even say so.
[/quoe]
Some do, some don't. But anyway, we're talking about the same thing. "Safety" - "Liability" - tomato, tomahto.
Quote:

But otherwise, a pox on idiots that can't provide APPLICABLE and CRUCIAL information, such as a simple "but that's only our drive up, dining in closes at X O'Clock.
Yep - that's what happens when you pay minimum wage.

Pammipoo 03-01-2005 06:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MRirian
Eh, I'll buy that. Still, it's not like you would make any kind of mess just walking in and ordering something to go. Although, it would be kind of senseless to make a rule saying "you can come in and order your food, but you can't sit at a table." Security-wise, I can sort of see how they'd be more likely to be robbed at midnight than at noon.

How many people walk to Wendy's that late anyway?

<Wendy's manager mode>
We actually get a lot of walkup orders, because we're right next to a hotel, and there's not a lot around for restaurants. It sucks saying no, but it does come down to liability and the safety of the employees. And if we say yes to one guy while it's slow, we can't say no to the next guy while we're getting our butts kicked with orders on the clock.

And letting people in just to order would not only mess up the floors (there's actually a very detailed cleaning procedure for the floors), it'd put the store more at risk for robbery. We're not allowed to let anyone in the restaurant after 10 pm. Ever.

voltaire 03-01-2005 06:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lockz
This way they can have people take orders and cook, and send everyone home right at 12 (or however long it takes to clean the cooking equipment). But they wouldn't have to clean tables.

Cite?
:p


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