Wednesday, April 12, 2006

#254 - Don't Forget the Gravy!

Via Dave Barry's blog comes this jewel. The basic scenario is this: You drive up to your favorite fast food drive through window, and talk, as usual, to the disembodied voice in the speaker. By the time you drive around to the window, your order is billed, and delivered to you as always. The twist is, the person with whom you spoke was nowhere near the restaurant at the time. He or she was in a call center somewhere near Los Angeles, processing your order and transmitting it electronically back to the burger flippers.

I can see where this might promote some efficiencies in the ordering of my fast food, but I have two concerns:

1. What do they do when the network goes down, as it inevitably will when I order a meal for my incredibly hungry family and the next fast food joint is another 35 miles down the freeway?
"I'm sorry, sir. We didn't get your order. The network is down."

"Well, can I just order it here and wait a few more minutes?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, sir. We're not allowed to accept walk-ins in drive-through."

Yeah. I want some of that action.

2. You just know it's a matter of time before this call center idea becomes a prime candidate for outsourcing.
"Hello, and welcoming to the Jack of the Box. We are not knowing what this means, but we are wanting to takes your order, sir."

"Um, okay. How about a burger and fries?"

"Yes, sir. You are wanting a burka and flies. Will you be liking any sauces with that?"

Beyond the anticipation of dealing with a call center, there's the issue of multi-tasking. According to the article, this is supposed to improve accuracy by limiting the amount of multi-tasking the burger flippers have to deal with today. Oh, really? In my experience, most drive-through order takers still have to process the order and deal with the cash transaction whether they take the order or not. Probably the only real positive spin you could put on this concept is that the manager can no longer punish workers by making them take orders for drive through. "Okay, kid. You really fouled up that last order. I'm sending you to the Call Center!" "Great! Does that include air fare?"

Either way, I'll bet my local Jack in the Box will still get my orders wrong, whether they use this call center concept or not.

America. Always moving forward.

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