Because guests and employees leave!

I went to get a late lunch at a local Taco Bell store at about 4:00pm today. I only had a few minutes (which is why I went to Taco Bell rather than Rosa’s Cafe just down the road) before I needed to be at my next appointment. I pulled into the drive-thru line behind 3 other cars (all of whom had already ordered) and waited for the attendant.

About three minutes went by before the employee inquired about my order. Our conversation was:

  • Me: “I’d like a Zesty Chicken Bowl.”
  • Employee: “Ok sir. We don’t have any Zesty sauce, is that OK?”
  • Me: “No. I prefer the Zesty sauce. I suppose I’ll just have a soft taco and a bean burrito.”
  • Employee: “Thanks sir. Would you like hot, mild, or fire sauce? Would you like a drink?”
  • Me: “Yes, I’ll take some fire sauce. Don’t need a drink.”
  • Employee: “That will be $1.92 at the window.”
Inventory Side Note: There may be a problem with the store’s inventory management systems also … they have Zesty Chicken Bowls, but no Zesty sauce. So, instead of a gross sale of $3.49, they received $1.92.

As soon as I was done ordering (the line of cars did not move at all), a lady in a white car pulled in behind me, blocking any escape. Three more minutes went by before the line in front of me moved forward. One car. Six minutes. The man directly in front of me moved forward, and turned his car off. And we waited. I cleaned out my car and dumped the trash in Taco Bell’s trash can. Six more minutes went by , and the car at the second window drove off. The gentleman in front of me turned his car back on, and after yelling at the clerk, moved forward to receive his food from the first window.

I rolled down my window and paid the female clerk $1.92 before she sprinted off to help the kitchen. I was given the opportunity to listen to three more songs (six more minutes!) on the radio before food arrived for my compatriot in front of me, and I got to the first drive up window to receive my food. From my vantage point , I could see the problem.

Only three or four employees in the entire restaurant!

Taco Bell had two dozen customers in the front, eating or waiting on their food. One clerk was attending the front counter. One girl was standing at my window, with receipts printed out and placed on napkins (for quick placement into bags). She also appeared to be taking the drive-thru orders. The clerk who took my money was running all of the food lines by herself , making and assembling all of the food, then running back and taking money from drive-thru guests. She obviously was not the fastest line cook that they employed.

Six more minutes went by, and the clerk opened the window, said “I’m sorry about the wait”, and shoved my food at me.

Twenty-four (24) minutes for two basic items off of a drive-thru quick-service menu!

Had Taco Bell appropriately scheduled their labor force for a Sunday afternoon, getting my food might have taken less than one minute. More importantly, they would have served six-times (6x) the number of customers, which would mean six-times (6x) the profit.

How long does it take to make your labor schedules? It should take less than 5 minutes! Did you know that TimeForge can streamline and minimize labor costs through effective employee scheduling at your restaurant, bar, club, or business.

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