Thursday, September 20The Voice of London

The dark side of working in fast food restaurants

Photo:Bloomberg

Working in a fast food restaurant is one of the most terrible, but also one of the best life experience (teaches you that life sometimes might be tough). It is not a dream job, it is not something that anyone would like to do all their life. My father used to say you have to study hard, because otherwise you will end up flipping burgers in McDonalds. And where I am today? Flipping the burgers and shaking the fries in fast food restaurants (not in McDonalds but still).

Being a part of this industry for almost three years led me to want to tell the story of how this workplace looks at the back of the kitchen. Apparently, it seems very easy: just flipping burgers all day long, or making fries. In fact, working in fast food restaurants might be a hell and here are few examples why.

Law Wages

Can you imagine yourself in one of the massive fast food restaurants in central London? In one and a half hours the company makes 1,500 pounds. You are sweating on the grill or running like a headless chicken from one place of dining room to another trying to stay in control. How much do you get per hour? Seven pounds fifty. No, it is not a joke. That is the sad reality 

It is not just about flipping the burgers

Fast food restaurant are not about flipping the burgers all day long. If you are in the management team, you cannot be unskilled worker. You have to know how to ménage all shift, lead the crew, train and supervising the an new worker. In critical situations, you need to be able to make quick and right decisions. Be patient like an Archangel. Did you know that A Trade Union Congress research found that “Women working in retail, hospitality,transport and many other sectors deal with cliemts, patients and customers on a daily basis and currently have little protection from their employer when facing harassment”. Also  roughly one in eight workers report being discriminated because of their gender, race or did not get paid for overtime shifts Moreover, 99% of workers in fast food restaurants suffer injuries mostly from hot oil-burns

Customers can be difficult to handle

It is a very broad subject. Here are some examples of customers from hell

The Customers who love complaining about everything: the prices, the items, the menu, the toppings, the food and the prices again.

The customers, who talk on the phone while ordering and completely ignore you when you ask them what would they like.

The parents, who do not control their children and let them do whatever they want like throwing napkins or spilling drinks on the floor.

The customers, who blame you because of company rules or standards. And there is nothing you can do.

The customers, who make fake complains and treat you like you are going to lose the job and be expelled from the country. Brexit is coming…

The customers who make a mess literally everywhere and do not care that you have to do a million things. The customers, who come in as a big group and make a huge order 10 minutes before closing.

The customer service is very important, but some of them can make this job way too hard for everyone

Stres

Did you know that working in fast food restaurants and dealing with rude and aggressive customers can lead to dysfunctional psychological problems like anxiety, and depression.

“Sometimes I feel I cannot do it anymore,” says Laura Kozma from Hungary. “I have been working for three years in this fast food restaurant and I feel I exhaust my physical and mental energy. Sometimes when I have to deal with another unbearable customer, I feel dead inside but still place a fake smile on my face.”

But the fast food industry is not only about the customers and the food, it is also about the results of food alerts, mystery shoppers and targets

Pain everywhere

Are you around 20 but feel you have a worse backache than your 75 years-old grandma? It means you are one of us. Your legs hurt, your whole body is in pain. But there is no time for relax, because the show must go on, the customer is coming and someone needs to flip that burger.

Cleanliness

As a customer, have you ever wondered who keeps restaurants clean, tidy and organised? The answer is we do. After every closing we spend around two to three hours cleaning, including scrubbing the floor, removing mop lines, polishing every single tale, and cleaning literally everything. Because we want to give our customers an amazing experience and let them enjoy their food in a nice and tidy place.

Words: Dorota Ciolek| Subbing: Asya Gadzheva

-->