Fast food/food court etiquette


Just out of curiosity …

When eating at a fast food joint, be it a franchise or otherwise, or a shopping centre food court, do you:

1. Gather up all your food scraps and packaging yourself, and put them in one of the rubbish receptacles?

Or …

2. Treat it like a normal restaurant experience, and leave it all for restaurant employees to clean up?

If you leave your mess for employees to clean-up, are you:

1. Inflicting more pain and drudgery on staff who are already over-worked and under-paid?

Or …

2. Creating job opportunities by refusing to be guilt-tripped by the business into doing work that should be done by staff members.

12 thoughts on “Fast food/food court etiquette

  1. FWIW, I do a mixture of both, depending on the circumstances.

    However, I am impressed by the fact that these operators have for many decades now pulled off the useful – for them! – trick of getting their customers to do some of their work for them! It’s simply and widely accepted …

    Yet McDonald’s and their ilk quite happily refer to their establishments as restaurants!


  2. 1 and 1.

    Because its a food court. You know, disposable stuff! Meal on a plakky plate, eaten with forks. Served on a tray. Collected and taken to the ‘table’ by yourself.
    No staff helping there! Why should staff help you once you’ve inhaled your lot of ‘greasies’?

    Different dynamic to true ‘restaurants’ where meals are delivered, cutlery etc re-used.
    The fact that some places pay students a pittance is a problem for the Immigration Dept (or such) who allow student and working holiday visa restrictions to go un-enforced.

    As to the cleaning staff working in food courts, I would prefer them to clean the floors and tables of crud (sauce smears, spilled drinks etc) than follow up after lazy sods who cant be arsed walking 5m to the nearest bin!

    PS… dont be fooled by Maccas marketing… restaurant as spin.


    • Agree with restaurant as spin.

      I can see both sides of the argument.

      However, there’s nothing hit and miss about staffing levels – I’m quite sure it’s all scientific.

      Thus, if even more – or all – customers clean up after themselves, that’s not going to make it easier on the staff. The boss will simply hire fewer of them.

      As for the “lazy sods who cant be arsed walking 5m to the nearest bin!”, I’m interested in how it became so socially unacceptable.

      Interesting dynamic!

      And there seems little merit in an argument that customer clean-up duty is a fair swap for cheaper prices – by and large, franchise food seems llittle or no cheaper than many other cheap eats in the west or in general. Especially when you consider all the “extras”. Food court prices are certainly no cheaper.


      • Fair call on the “bosses will hire less if everyone cleans up after themselves”… wouldnt put it past them.
        That said, if they were less focussed on costs and more on service, then a pristine food court would be attractive and bring in more custom… but the common Australian MBA approach is to look at costs, make cuts, make your resume sparkle by saying how much money saved/profit earned, then bugger off and leave the place fall into poo.

        Unsure what you mean by the ‘socially unacceptable’ part. Certainly socially acceptable to clean up after yourself and consider others… No?
        Even if it is the token (?) effort of disposing of ‘hard waste’ of trays, papers, plates etc. I don’t expect folk to clean up perfectly the smears of sauce etc, but at least clear the majority of the waste to make the table ‘available’.
        Surely you have seen other patrons moving waste left by predecessors (particularly on busy weekends)? That, I think, is where people need to think more of others and not themselves.

        Loving your blog, BTW… digging deeper as you read this!


  3. Not 100% on topic, but it’s funny that in Asia food courts can have quite good reputations – people don’t necessarily think they’re tacky or mediocre.


  4. I agree Kenny – food courts here tend to be blah. And yes, Ongs was great.

    So is there a potential new food court experience?

    For example, we love food trucks because they’re different and they serve interesting food, but it’s a bit of a pain to stand and eat. How about putting a whole lots of food trucks together with tables in the middle?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s