To the editor:
A week ago I went to a fast food restaurant for lunch (true story). There were five or six cars in the drive-thru, so I went inside.
Again, five or six people waiting to order.
As I waited, a frazzled counter person asked the cook if she could take the next order from the drive-thru window and the cook responded: “No, I’m already 30 burgers behind!”
When we heard this I, along with two or three other potential customers, like impatient children, left with our needs unmet.
The job of short order cook is a difficult one, and there are limits to the number of orders that can be successfully handled at one time. Burgers aren’t all the same—onions, no onions; cheese, no cheese; hold the mustard.
Not all burgers come from the same place: Some come from chickens, some come from fish, and those burgers have different needs than the average burger. I have a friend who even thinks he is allergic to mayo and tomatoes.
Wow, no wonder my cook set limits on the number of orders that she would take at one time. I don’t know if she was incompetent, or she just recognized that quality would suffer if she tried to take on more orders.
A different cook may have taken all the orders without limit and tried to keep up. She could have stopped toasting buns, skipped some of the condiments, and when she ran out of pre-sliced tomatoes—left them out. Some burgers would be burnt and others possibly undercooked. Oh no, the extras—fries, onion rings, salads! The burgers would leave the store incomplete and some of the customers would be dissatisfied, but the boss would be happy because the till would be full.
My cook, unlike our minister of education and Korean ferry boat captains, recognized that sometimes quality demands limits, even if it affects the bottom line.
Brian M. Perry,