After TikTok users showed confusion as to why service workers were placing a metal sheet outside their drive-thru windows, one creator finally provided an answer.
In a viral video, a TikToker known as The Knight Danger (@the_knight_danger) stitched a video from creator Zack Dean (@zak.dean) with over 23.6 million views that questioned the employees’ tactics. User @the_knight_danger, who used to work at a Tim Horton’s drive-thru, claims it all comes down to metrics.
“They’re cheating the system because the system is designed in a way where you have to [cheat it],” the creator says.
The metal sheet is used to set off detectors that are intended to track how long customers wait in the drive-thru, he explains. The TikToker then suggests that workers use metal sheets or objects to set off the sensor and bring down the overall service time.
Some commenters on Dean’s initial video suggested the workers were attempting to trip the sensor in case it had missed an order. “It is a sensor that tells you if there is a car. If for some reason it missed a car, they ‘add’ a car, so you get the right order,” one user suggested.
@zak.dean FINALLY AN UPDATE 😂 #1yearlater #update #fastfood #viral #question #fyp #foryou ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral – WZ Beat
However, many viewers shared the same conviction as @the_knight_danger, who elaborated on the measurement of speed in his video.
He claims that owners of fast-food establishments believe it takes 20 seconds to hand off an order and for a car to drive away, “because in their tests, they are often dealing with the ‘perfect customer.’”
The TikToker offered examples as to why the “perfect customer” doesn’t always translate into a company’s measurements of employee efficiency. He notes customers not having exact change or being unprepared with payment, add-ons at the window, and wrong orders as examples that can have an impact on these metrics.
“It also doesn’t weigh the size of the order for the duration of the wait. It’s an average so to it, 1 drink is the same average as a bus full of people,” he added in a comment.
He also notes that utilizing speed as a metric to measure customer satisfaction doesn’t always equate to good service. “They also don’t account for the people that work in those kinds of stores and want to make people feel human and have even just a short conversation with them,” he says.
@the_knight_danger clarified in the comments that this does not necessarily apply to all fast food places, as he only had experience at Tim Horton’s.
In the comments section, users shared their surprise, experiences, and opinions.
“This is smart. We used to have one of my co workers drive around the building a bunch of times right before close to lower it,” one user said.
“Another rule made by corporate employees that have never done the job they’re telling others how to do,” another commented.
“I didn’t realize you guys were timed,” a third user said.
The Daily Dot reached out to The Knight Danger and Dean via TikTok comment.
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*First Published: Aug 8, 2022, 5:01 pm CDT
Lauren Castro is a reporter based in Austin, Texas.