Friday, October 5, 2012

More to fast food industry than meets the eye

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

I am back. After a two-week break as we prepared for and then executed the move of our Piqua Daily Call offices to our new home on Fox Drive, I can finally, along with my co-workers, sit down and take a breath.

I would like to look at food for this week's column.

First, I believe that there is some acknowledgement due to some working people out there who rarely hear a good word.

Most of us take the fast food industry for granted. When we do make mention of the industry or the people who work in the trenches, it is usually to complain.

I am no different as I sometimes find myself looking at an order that I thought was given in simple, easy-to-understand English, yet received looking nowhere near my instructions.

Granted, the fast food industry sometimes does not attract the most dedicated members of our work force.

There is another side to that, however. I have been fortunate to get to know some of the folks whose responsibility is to manage and operate some of our local fast food restaurants.

The time, knowledge and responsibility necessary to successfully run a store is mind boggling. They are just like their counterparts in any other profession. And, I use the word "profession" quite deliberately as they are true professionals in their chosen career field.

These professionals have a wealth of knowledge about the food products that they serve. They deal with inventory, maintenance, cooking and cleaning on a daily basis. They also must deal with the occasional disgruntled customer, who like so many of us when we fail to get an order that meets our expectations, tends to treat even the management staff in a condescending and rude manner.

In addition to the same headaches that all management people face in any business, managers in the fast food industry face personnel issues seldom seen in most industries. The turnover rate of a largely high school age and young adult  staff is astounding. Add to that a generation or two of a work force that has no work ethic whatsoever and you have one of the more stressful jobs in the market.

The bottom line is that behind the counter at our fast food restaurants may be a handful of kids who are working at their first job. They may be just putting in their time. But, behind them is a core group of hard-working professionals who are dedicating their life to their chosen profession just as we do ours. They do care if our order is correct. They do care if we are happy with the service and that the room is clean.

Every one of us likes to know that the work we do is appreciated. I would venture to say that our professionals in the fast food industry get a "well done" far fewer times than any of the rest of us.
Maybe the next time you visit a local fast food restaurant, you might take a minute to thank the folks behind the counter for a job well done.

Wouldn't you like to know that the simple smile and thank you that you give might be the one positive thing that someone takes home from work to share with their own family?

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