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8 Unwritten Rules When Dining At Fast-Food Restaurants

8 Unwritten Rules When Dining At Fast-Food Restaurants
Image by Denys Gromov / Pexels

The popularity of fast-food restaurants, even during the pandemic, is undeniable. Aside from the affordable selections, it is also more convenient to order food especially if you don’t have much time to prepare and cook meals at home -- in fact, many homemakers admit they order in more frequently these days. Some, on the other hand, still eat out once in a while to satisfy their food cravings.

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When eating out, there are unwritten rules one must abide by, based solely on common courtesy and human decency. This applies not only when you’re in a fine-dining restaurant but even at fast food joints! Fast food etiquette is more than just saying “Please” and “Thank you – it’s what you do (or not do) that matters, too.

Some of us are simply unaware of fast-food etiquette. However, many of us know but need reminding. Truth be told, how many of these rules do you follow when you eat out?


1. Practice CLAYGO or clean as you go.

Leaving the table after eating is quite the norm among fast-food customers. However, fast-food restaurants are typically self-service, which means that aside from placing your orders and getting utensils or requesting for extra sauce packets yourself, the rule extends to cleaning up after you have finished your meals -- yes, even if the restaurant has busboys to do that.

Practicing CLAYGO is simple: When you’re done eating, stack your plates and cups into piles, and place all utensils aside. Throw away your food wrappers in the bin and put the used tray back where it belongs. If you cannot do this much, at the very least place everything on the tray for easier cleanup. Doing so is a kind gesture the overworked staff will appreciate.

2. Avoid bringing in food from other restaurants.

Even though fast-food restaurants are a bit “casual,” bringing in food from other establishments is still deemed rude. However, if there’s a special reason you must do so, remember to extend courtesy to the restaurant’s management by getting their permission beforehand.

3. Have your orders ready before you reach your turn at the counter.

If you are still undecided about your order, refrain from getting in line even if there is no one else behind you, because doing so will require the staff at the counter to stand there and wait for you while you are still making up your mind.

However, if you’re already in line and change your mind about your order, you can let the person behind you go first if she’s ready. Doing so will prevent long queues and service delays during busy hours, plus isn’t it a nice feeling to be considerate of others?

4. Clean up spilled drinks right away.

If you happen to spill something while dining, either on your table or on the floor, inform a busboy right away. Ignoring the mess until you leave creates an eyesore and may cause accidents. On the other hand, if it’s just a minor spill that can be cleaned up quickly, maybe you can deal with it on your own even without the help of the restaurant staff.

5. Watch your kids.

It’s okay to let young kids run around, as long as it’s within the restaurant’s play area. If there is none, keep your children from roaming around without adult supervision as they may hurt themselves or disturb other customers. 

6. Take only what you really need.

Condiments like catsup, sugar, or creamer are quite costly too on the restaurant’s part. If you need more than what is provided, it’s certainly okay to ask for more. Taking only what you need is conscientious and helps the environment too.

7. Avoid using the dining area as your meet up place.

Before the lockdowns, fast food restaurants were always packed with people. If you have no intentions of dining there, it is not a good habit to use the restaurant as a waiting spot.

8. Choose to be kind.

Addressing the staff by name, saying thank you, or striking a conversation with them are easy ways to brighten up their day and yours. If you are dissatisfied with the service, bring up the matter with the manager on duty in an objective and polite manner. Rather than yelling or getting angry, look towards resolving the issue, especially if the situation is beyond their control.

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