Taco Bell Informative - The Employee Perspective(UPDATED...again!!!)
WA, MISSOURI -- I have read your reviews, and as an employee I felt it necessary to respond in an attempt to show the other side. I am NOT being paid for this (and am afraid of losing my job if this gets out), but I have worked various fast food jobs over the years and too many people lay all the blame on the overworked underpaid employees.
Yes, sometimes our uniforms are not spotless, and there are grease stains that simply will not come out no matter how many times they go through the wash. This billion dollar corporation only allows a certain amount of spending money for each store, and this money is split between uniforms, new equipment, repairs, utility bills, and other expenses. I have been with the company over a year and still only have one pair of pants and 2 shirts...my newer coworkers are lucky to have one shirt and no pants. We work 10-12 hour shifts, sometimes from 6pm to 5am, and are lucky to have the time or energy to do laundry every single day to wash our one uniform. Also consider our wages and the fact that doing a load of laundry every day is a waste of money.
We do the best we can, considering half the employees call out regularly leaving the rest of us to pick up the slack and work 3 times harder than we should have to. We are not allowed to clock out for a half hour lunch break, and I'm lucky I smoke otherwise I would never sit down for the measly 5 minutes when I get to pop all my joints back in place to relieve my excruciating pain. I get home from work every night and find my leg swollen twice the size it should be. Yet I continue to go to work and do my job. It upsets a lot of us that we are not allowed to sit down and eat for even 10 minutes and some of us actually go across the street to another restaurant and pay for our meals there. Then our food gets cold while we make food for others.
Late night shift involves a lot of drunks. Yeah, we flip an attitude when you ask us for a fur burger. We get an attitude when we are talked down to like children or when you order something that does not exist and never has but you insist we carry it. We are treated like the scum of the earth and I thank heaven for my regular customers who understand the crap we are put through and are patient with us. They understand when we run out of mild sauce or any number of other items because management didn't order enough. The rest of the customers act like it is our fault.
When you get food that is dried out...it's not spoiled!!! I promise there is nothing wrong with it other than dehydration. We keep our hot food very very hot, 195 degrees. After 20 minutes at this temperature its quite obvious that the moisture goes away. Some of the newer employees don't know that you must add water to it regularly to keep it from getting like that. This includes the chicken, beans, and beef.
While I'm on the subject of temperature, it is the middle of the summer right now, our busiest time of year. It is INCREDIBLY hot outside and our air conditioner cannot keep up. We stand there making your food over 195 degree steam, with no relief...Yeah, we might mess up a few orders because we can no longer see straight now that we are more dehydrated than that chicken in your burrito. We don't have time to stop and get a drink of water because if we do the customers assume we are slacking off. We are not allowed to eat or drink in front of the customers, which means eating and drinking are rather difficult to accomplish. And in the winter, if we close the drive thru window quickly, it is because we have no relief from the cold while you sit there with your window barely cracked enough to slip out the dollar for your taco that you could have come in for and you are sweating from your nice car heater.
Most of you come into our store after sitting behind a desk in utmost comfort all day. We tend to harbor some resentment towards you because you think OUR job is easy. You sit there in our drive thru or right in front of us talking on your cell phone and ignoring us. We are people too and we deserve to be treated better than that. When the girl at the counter seems pissed, there's a 75 percent chance that it was supposed to be her day off.
Most of my diet consists of fast food, and I will NEVER allow myself to be one of the crappy customers, because I know what its like on the other side of the counter. Keep in mind that for a fast food employee, EVERY DAY IS A BAD DAY! Anything that can go wrong, always goes wrong all at once. The computers crash, some drunk passes out in drive thru, another drunk pitches a fit over napkins and hits your manager, you run out of sauce, you run out of cups, napkins, lids, food...All within an hour!
When you go into a restaurant in the middle of the dinner rush and the store is trashed, that filth hasn't been there more than an hour. Only reason it is still there is because half the crew called out and we have multiple $20-$30 dollar orders filling our screens.
I'm not saying that there aren't bad employees, because I've had the misfortune of working with some of them, but for crying out loud show us a little respect and try to be more understanding. We are only doing what we are told to do, we are only following company policies. The 2 sauce packet per item is an actual company policy and if you get more than that it's your lucky day. If you ask for extra sauce, its 3 per item. If you order more than 10 dollars worth of food, expect to wait a little bit longer. If you order nothing but grilled items, expect to wait a little bit longer so we can grill each item for the full 30 seconds...we can only fit so much on those little grills. (4 crunchwraps, 6 taquitos, 4 grilled stuffed burritos, OR 2 quesadillas NOT ALL OF THE ABOVE AT ONCE!)
And I think that's about all I got for now. If I think of anything else I'll be back.
And after another day at work I am back with an add-on for this review.
When you walk in with your half-dozen screaming children and you notice us wince...we are not trying to be rude, we are simply aware of the hideous mess you are about to leave for us to clean up. Folks, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! Clean up after yourselves and your children!!! Yes it is our job to keep the restaurant immaculate, but we are not your mommies, we are not your maids. Have a little respect for us. If you notice that 2 of the trash cans are full, please don't throw your trash in them so it can fall on the floor! I promise if you look hard enough there is another trash can that is always empty because no one pays enough attention to it to realize it is there. EVERY fast food joint I have worked in had at least 3 trash cans and one of them was ALWAYS empty. If you notice a trash can is full, or something needs attention, please tell us! We've probably been too busy to notice, but if you let us know now, it will be less of a mess to clean up later. If you spill a drink, NO PROBLEM! Let us know so we can mop it up and put a wet floor sign down! And even in defense of the screaming children, I've noticed that adults leave worse disasters. This saddens me a great deal, because as adults, you should know better unless you were raised by wild boars. I won't bother to tell you what we find in our bathrooms, but on two or three occasions I REFUSED to clean the men's room.
I also think people should realize that when they eat in our dining room and take an absurd amount of napkins and sauce, leaving the rest on the table...no one uses that stuff on the table...in fact, it gets thrown away the minute you leave. Take a little bit, and if you need more, get off your lazy butt and walk ten feet to get a little more. This is a prime example of why drive-thru has a sauce and napkin limit. Also keep in mind that more stuff YOU waste, the lower OUR raises are. Sounds ridiculous to me too, but the level of product waste directly affects our raises. It could mean the difference between a 3 cent raise or a 10 cent raise, and at our level of employment, those pennies really matter!
Yes, drive-thru is for YOUR convenience. Therefore, when you pull into our lot and notice that the drive-thru is wrapped around the building, it would be more convenient for you to park your car and come inside for your one soda, rather than wait 10+ minutes in the line. Even better, you can get a cheaper soda at the gas station a block away.
Every fast food restaurant has a timer for their drive-thru window. We get in trouble if too many of you are sitting in our window for more than a minute per car. We tell you your total at the speaker, so that you can get your money ready BEFORE you get to our window. This is supposed to save us time. So please, don't come anywhere near the window until you have the money ready. If any part of your car is near the window, even though you are not pulled all the way up, your car is still sitting on the sensor that triggers the timer. I realize you wish to check your order to make sure it's correct, but if the dining room is still open, pull into the parking lot and check, then come inside to correct the problem. Don't sit at our window for 5 minutes, and for crying out loud, don't eat in our drive-thru, it's rude to us and the people waiting behind you!!! Get out of the line as quickly as possible, PLEASE!
We also keep track of the amount of time you spend at the speaker. If you don't know what you want, we have a PREVIEW MENU!!! There is NO difference between that menu and the one at the speaker. Don't pull up to the speaker and tell us to give you a minute, because we are probably busy cleaning or stocking and have to drop everything and wait for you to decide. If you sit at the preview board for a minute, this will also give other people a chance to order when they actually know what they want.
If you have a loud engine, TURN IT OFF! You also have the option of coming inside when the dining room is open! And if you want to be extra nice, tell us to take the headset away from our ear when you start your engine again. Some of us have sensitive ears and those drive-thru speakers amplify everything. Same goes for your blaring radio, and your screaming kids in the back seat. If your kids can't behave, leave 'em at home. If you can't behave, learn to cook.
If you frequent one particular fast food joint because the service is always good and so is the food, keep in mind that we are not supposed to accept tips, but we usually will. To be fair in this situation, once a month offer a dollar a piece for all the employees and managers on duty. Or if there is one particular employee who always makes your day, ask them to come out into the dining room with you for a moment, and offer them a 5 dollar tip. If you have a large and complicated order, offer a dollar to everyone. If you can afford 25 dollars worth of food, you can afford an extra 6 or 7 bucks.
If your order is messed up, be nice and understanding about it, and we will fix it to your liking. If you come in yelling and screaming and throwing things at us, we will ask you to leave. It is common for us to miss a taco or leave one of the following steamed items in the steamer: Meximelt, Mexican Pizza, Enchirito, and sometimes the Chili Cheese Burrito. It is also common for us to mix up orders and hand the wrong one out, or some impatient customer grabs whatever we put on the counter regardless of the order number or contents of the order.
If we handle a mistake to your liking, or you were satisfied with the order to begin with, call the 800 number on the back of the receipt. The store ID number is on the front, and you can always ask for a pen to jot down employee names. When you call the number leave a compliment! Too many of you call to complain when we mess up, but you can't be bothered to call and say something nice when we do things right. That hurts.
If someone is not there to greet you right away, consider the following: Front counter cashiers are responsible for cleaning dining room but sometimes they wind up on dishes as well. At my store, when I work the counter, I also run Pizza Hut Express, do dishes, clean and stock dining room, make orders, clean and stock kitchen area, take orders in drive-thru, pan up lettuce and cheese, get meat out of the cooler to heat it up, pan up already heated products, fry chalupas, potatoes, empanadas, nacho chips... etc. I do it all. So try not to be impatient because chances are we have our hands full. We will be with you as quickly as possible.
If you pull in and see an employee smoking a cigarette, ask them if they have to put it out to take or make your order, if they say yes, tell them you will wait...hell, sit down and join them. Chances are, it's the only break they will get on a 10 hour shift.
And now I take you on a trip in the Way Back Machine...Remember kindergarten? Remember them teaching you about Please and Thank You? Still applies!!! Please and Thank You should ALWAYS be used no matter where you are. I just don't hear it often enough.
Learn to pronounce our menu items please, this is a personal request as we do not sell the following items: EmpaLLadas, MAximelts, GorditOs, TaKWitos, KWEsadiLLIOS, Armadillos, Oompa Loompas, ChalAHpOs, and nowhere on our menu does anything say SupremOH. While some of these do sound stupid, people have ordered them. Sometimes we don't understand what the heck you want. If you aren't sure what something you like is called, don't spend an hour looking for it on the menu, tell us what was in it and we will tell you what you want. If you aren't sure what is in an item, ask us, and we will tell you.
In summation I think all I can say is this...
Treat us right and we will do our best not to screw up your order.
After 2 years of working for taco bell, I finally witnessed someone spitting in the food...a cop's food no less. Manager promised she'd handle it so I wouldn't be found as the snitch. Well, she is apparently two-faced because everyone is asking me about it. Spitting in food is considered assault, so imagine the charges for spitting in a cop's food. I've always been one to hook up food for police officers, because you never know if it's gonna be their last meal. I hate to look at it that way, but its true. My manager not only lied to me, but apparently broke many company policies(and another law or two) by putting me in danger because yes I was indirectly threatened by the culprit. He doesn't know it was me, but it was either me or one other person. He said if he found out who it was he'd basically beat the crap out of them.
THIS IS HOW I AM TREATED FOR STANDING UP FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IS RIGHT! I am not against crushing someone's tacos when they treat me and my coworkers like crap, but spitting in the food is DISGUSTING!
I am no longer with a corporate TB, I am now with a franchise which I knew was a mistake. I love my coworkers, but franchise will treat people like crap if given half a chance. This is my third experience with a franchise and so far all 3 experiences are BAD VERY VERY BAD!
Yet another update...
You don't get what you pay for. Plain and simple. The cheesy beefy melts are supposed to get about 3 or 4 ounces of cheese...we aren't even allowed to put 1 ounce on them. Same goes for the quesadillas. These items are supposed to literally get a whole handful of cheese and we are being told to only put in a pinch of it. Bean burritos are supposed to get 3 ounces of beans, most of the time you get half of that. Grilled stuffed burritos are supposed to get 3 ounces of meat, I can almost guarantee that no matter where you go you are only getting 1.5 ounces. Cheesy gordita crunch is supposed to get about 2 ounces of cheese melted onto it, and you're lucky to get a pinch. And these are the manager's orders. It pisses me off that the customers don't even realize they are getting ripped off half the time. It pisses me off that this is the best store in our franchise and their standards are this low. All for the sake of a profit.
I would like to personally apologize to anyone I have been forced to rip off. If I try to give you what you pay for, I get yelled at and made a fool of in front of everyone. If I intentionally rip you off to avoid confrontation with my managers, I am still yelled at and told I'm not ripping you off enough. If it's any consolation, I can honestly say I'm the only one that will give you what you actually ordered. This brings me to...
Keep your receipts, keep your food. If we mess up your order, you either need to have a receipt and/or the messed up food in order to get a replacement. ASK for a receipt! I've already had customers complaining about their order, the manager tells them they need a receipt, but they were never given one. Just one more rip off.
And yet another update. 10/03/2008
So, now I'm just venting. As per the last update, supposedly the manager didn't lie to me, either way the offending employee was caught drinking on the job recently and was fired. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
This brings me to drug usage. I won't lie to you, I used to partake of a very common illegal drug. I made the conscious decision to quit about 8 months ago (My friends and I went out for a celebratory coffee). Unfortunately, thanks to my coworkers and managers, I'm not sure I could pass a urinalysis (piss test). I have finally given up on taco bell and plan to quit as soon as I learn to drive(just got my permit...don't get too excited, I'm 23). Even if I quit now I can easily get unemployment due to the failure to provide me with a drug-free work environment. Have told my manager about the many times the entire store reeks of marijuana. She SEEMS angry enough, and has told me to call her when it happens again. Not only is the back door not supposed to be open after dark for our safety, but they stand there with the door open and smoke. One of the managers is at least smart enough to close the door, the other manager that actually doesn't smoke just giggles and sprays a bunch of perfume. So not only do I get a headache from the weed smoke but my throat starts to close up from the store smelling like a 2-bit whore house.
I've got this one employee that always screws up every other order. ALWAYS. Yet they insist on allowing him to keep his job. He never comes in on time, on occasion doesn't show up at all, and even when he IS there, he may as well not be because he is incapable of working and is always stoned.
The great thing about this state is that breaks are required by law. In missouri breaks are at the discretion of the company you work for. Unfortunately no one is completely familiar with the laws and you can wind up going on a ten minute break an hour after you clock on, go on your half hour break an hour later, and your last break an hour after that, and work the other 4 or 5 hours with no break.
I imagine the next time I post anything it will be about the customer care call center I'm hoping to work at. I hear only good things about how they treat their employees, and they give decent bonuses (as opposed to the 25 dollar bonus I get every other month at taco bell). They also allow and sometimes schedule overtime, whereas at my current store if you get overtime they adjust it so it appears as regular hours on a week you worked less than 40 hours. Yeah. That's against the law. But I understand wanting a 25 dollar bonus as opposed to maybe 10 dollars in overtime because it's never more than 30 minutes.
And for those of you that have said I appear to be too intelligent to work for taco bell, I plan to self-publish my book of poetry. Been working on it for a few months now, only thing stopping me is money, but, well...I work at taco bell....