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A Typical Shift of a Fast Food Worker

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Perhaps it will be easier for you to understand what a typical shift at a fast food restaurant is like if you can read about the work that two hourly workers did at different fast food restaurants. Of course, every worker at a fast food restaurant will have a slightly different experience, and tasks will definitely not be the same in all chains. However, you will be able to see what these two workers' primary responsibilities were and how these responsibilities were assigned to them.

Working at "Dairy Queen"

"Dairy Queen" offers customers a wide range of ice cream products including the very popular "Peanut Buster Parfait'' and "Blizzard," the new "Chocolate Mountain Bar," and a variety of soft-serve desserts. In most "Dairy Queens," hot foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and fish sandwiches, French fries, and onion rings are also sold. Service features vary with the stores. At some stores, service is almost immediate, while at others it may be necessary to wait for the item or items to be prepared.



Linda worked at "Dairy Queen" for two summers and during her senior year in high school. The first summer she worked four to seven-hour shifts, six days a week. The next summer she worked the same number of days, but shorter shifts of from three to four hours. During the school year, she limited her work time to weekend shifts of six hours each day. Her store manager was willing to adjust her schedule if Linda gave sufficient advance warning of her need to switch shifts or have a vacation with her family.

Linda worked at a small "Dairy Queen" store that normally employed only three workers on a shift, plus a manager. She was usually a "front of the store" worker, although at times she worked in the back of the store. At either task, she did some cleaning. When the manager did not have enough workers on a shift, Linda would have to cover both the front and back of the store.

When Linda worked at the front of the store, she operated the cash register and took orders. She or a helper would make the drink orders for the customers. During peak hours, she would also assemble orders. At the end of her shift, she would clean the dining room as well as stock such things as spoons, napkins, cups, and dessert dishes for the next shift.

As a "back of the store" worker, Linda cooked food on the grill. She would also clean the back area, which meant cleaning the floors and the large walk-in refrigerator. In addition, she would clean the bathrooms, take out garbage, and put new linings in the garbage pails. No matter where she was working, Linda would be assigned at times to wash windows, sweep outside, and clean the video games.

It is evident that Linda performed a wide variety of tasks during her shift. This is a typical assignment for workers in smaller fast food restaurants. In larger restaurants with more employees on each shift, each worker does fewer tasks, and the hourly worker's job becomes more specialized.

Working at Fuddruckers

Fuddruckers sells more hamburgers than any other item, but the chain also offers such foods as fish and chicken sandwiches and salads. Typically, customers place a food order and receive their beverages. They take a seat until the food items that must be prepared are ready, then the customers' names are called and they pick up their orders.

Mike worked at Fuddruckers as a busboy, which is an entry-level position. His average shift lasted from five to six hours, and he usually worked in the evening four or five days a week. When he arrived at the restaurant, he was wearing his own white pants, and he donned a white shirt that the restaurant provided. After punching the time clock, he would put on a hairnet (required by local health code), white paper hat, and apron-all provided by the restaurant-and then begin his job.

Mike's primary job was to clean tables. He would carry a plastic bin to a table and place everything that the customer had used into the bin. Next, he would spray the table using a squirt gun with cleaner in it and then wipe the table with a clean rag. Before leaving a table, Mike had to make sure that there was an ample supply of ketchup and mustard for the next customers who sat at the table and that the containers for these condiments were clean. He carried ketchup and mustard in his bin in order to replace empty containers. Mike's final job at a table was to place the salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, and other things on the table in a uniform arrangement.

Mike carried the bin to the kitchen, where he would dump the food, paper, and plastic items in the trash can and put the trays in a sink. Then he would grab more ketchup and mustard, if needed, and return to the dining area to clear another table. If there were no tables in his assigned section to be cleared, he was expected to help other busboys clear their tables.

From time to time during a shift, Mike was asked to help restock by bringing out cases of beer. He also refilled mustard containers. At the end of his shift, he was assigned a section of the restaurant to clean. He would put the chairs up on the tables and mop the floors and then punch out on the time clock. In the summer, he would take down outside umbrellas.
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