The true cause of fast food service problems falls completely within the restaurant itself. The causes stem from employee training, staff attitude, the conditions of the restaurant and certainly leadership can be culpable for fast food service problems. We can take a look at each of these key causes by breaking them down individually.
It does not matter if a particular fast food restaurant has the most amazing training program in place if the team does not take it seriously. Often times in fast food, employees are hired and simply thrown into the mix without any training because of lack of employees and the high volume that some fast food chains experience on a daily basis. Furthermore, management is so overwhelmed with the responsibilities and volume of the restaurant, that they simply do not have time to devote to employee training. Additionally, if management did attempt to focus on training, the employee turnover is so high in fast food, that the training would almost be a waste of time and money.
The result of this lack in training for employees is simply poor customer service. A lack in training can cause long waits for food when an employee is not familiar with equipment. Poor training could cause an employee to be very impersonal if they are not taught how to "interview" the customer at the time of the order, which includes reading back the order for accuracy. An ultimate service issue would be an employee being abusive to a customer complaining because of a lack in training.
Everyone has heard of the saying that it takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch, and this is very true when it comes to fast food restaurants. If there is one particular employee that has absolutely no work ethic or cares nothing about the product or what customers might think, there is a great opportunity for the staff to follow that person's lead. This can also be the case with management. As I mentioned before, often times fast food restaurants experience high turnover and they are looking for warm bodies to put in positions whether they have skills or not.
The obvious result of this type of behavior infecting the rest of the team will cause carelessness when dealing with consumers. Employees won't really care about order accuracy or whether or not the customer is happy with their service. It seems like more and more, employees display a lack of work ethic.
The conditions of the restaurant
Believe it or not, the condition of the restaurant can result in poor service. If equipment is outdated or rundown, customers might have to wait longer for their order. Employees might feel that the owner does not care enough to spend money on new equipment, and, in turn, the employees adopt the same attitude toward the customer. An employee views the restaurant walking into work, just as a customer would when walking in to get an order. If the restaurant is rundown and filthy, consumers can easily perceive that the restaurant as a whole is not up to par and this includes service. You would have to assume that an employee thinks the same thing when applying for a job in that particular restaurant. Employees might assume that they could skate through this job on a daily basis because of the way the owner has allowed the restaurant to become rundown.
The final absolute cause for poor service in fast food restaurants is the responsibility of management and leadership in charge of a location. Everything listed above could potentially be linked to management - not applying management skills for training, better attitudes, or the upkeep of the restaurant. If there is a day when managers make a decision that their responsibilities are too much, or too overwhelming, then this could potentially be the day when the structure falls apart. A realistic blanket statement would be that service is a reflection on management and if the wrong individual is chosen for this position, the definite result is poor customer service.
The four points listed above are the key factors contributing to poor service in a fast food restaurant. Getting everything to work synergistically within a fast food restaurant is a difficult task due to the volume and variety of consumers and employees that will be working in the same area.