"May I Take Your Order?"
A Commentary on Fast-Food Drive-Up Windows
Have you ever gone to one of those drive-up places for fast take-out food? Sure! We all do it. Pull your car around the side, and thereís a big
menu with a speaker-mike squelching out "May I take your order?"
If youíre like me, you wait in line behind the other cars, reading their license plates and bumper stickers (because thereís nothing else to look at)
until you get to the menu and speaker-mike.
You arrive at the menu and speaker-mike, and youíre frantically trying to read all of the items on the menu to figure out what fast-food delicacies to order.
The speaker squelches, "May I take your order?"
But youíre trying to read the items on the menu.
The speaker squelches again, "Excuse me, may I take your order?"
You respond with, "Just a minute, Iím trying to read the menu."
The speaker squelches, "Iím sorry, if you donít know what you want to order, youíll have to drive on, or come into the restaurant."
Then, the car behind you blows their horn!
OK, Iíll admit it. I have not committed to memory all the items on the menus for all the fast-food drive-up restaurants I frequent. But curious enough,
the fast food places I tend to like the most are the ones that place their menus along the drive leading up to that omnipresent speaker-mike. By the
time I get to place my order, Iíve had the opportunity to read all of the standard items and new items which are on the menu. By the time I hear
"May I take your order?", Iím drooling in anticipation of all the great things Iím going to order. Sometimes, those menus actually have
great pictures of what you can order (which makes it even more enticing,..... although nothing ever comes out of the bag the way it looked on those
Anyway, my thought here is about selling. If you want to sell something to somebody, try letting them know what you have to sell before you try to take
their money. Fast-food take-out window lines should move quickly. Try letting the customer know what youíre selling before you ask them for their order
or, their money. Move that ridiculous menu further back in the line so customers can be enticed with the wonderful cuisine you have to offer, rather than
telling a customer to move on. Thereís nothing wrong with waiting in line to get something to eat at one of these types of establishments. Why not make
good use of this "waiting time" and let the customers see how they can spend their money.
The fine art of selling is directly related to the customerís knowledge of what is being sold. If the customer doesnít know that youíve got a "Triple-Bacon
Cheeseburger" on the menu, they just might end up ordering something basic like "2 cheeseburgers and a medium fries" (which happens
to be what I order when they wonít let me read the menu).
If you stop long enough to let the customer buy, you might be surprised at how much you end up selling!
Mark S. Deion
17 August 1999
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