Don't Forget the Ketchup: 8 Drive-Thru Mistakes You're Probably Making

Drive thru


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Drive thru


When you’ve had a bad day, the “I’ll just hit the drive-thru” mentality is a hard beast to outrun. We know this problem well, and everybody knows that drive-thrus make life easier. A quick trip to Taco Bell or Chick-fil-A could probably turn things around.

There are so many moving parts in fast food, and you don’t want to mess with its delicate nature. Make the most of your meal by avoiding these eight drive-thru mistakes.

Jack in the Box Drive Thru
Gado / Getty

Not Knowing Your Order Ahead of Time

At least narrow it down to two or three options before pulling up to the window. You don’t want to be the person holding up customers in line, and you definitely don’t want to be the person making the drive-thru employees’ shift more annoying than it already is. And yeah, ordering additional stuff at the window is just as frowned upon.

Luckily, this will never happen to me because the thought of holding up a line of cars in the drive-thru cranks up my anxiety to critical mass.

Dunkin' App

Skipping the App

Ordering through a drive-thru box is basically just a bad game of telephone. Nobody can ever understand each other through those crappy speakers, so cut out the verbal communication altogether and use the restaurant’s app. Once you’ve placed your order, all you have to do is say your name or order number.

Starbucks coffeehouse chain Drive Thru in Bucharest Romania
Cristi Croitoru/istockphoto

Missing Out on Rewards

Here’s a second, even better reason to order on the restaurant’s app. Nearly every major fast-food chain has rewards points that may help you score free fast food, and every trip you make through a drive-thru line without acquiring points is a bit of waste. Your next free burger could be just around the corner.

How will you be paying?

Not Having Payment Ready

Is your wallet accessible? Do you have your cash ready? If you’re bold enough to pay with exact change, have you counted it out? Don’t be caught on the spot in front of the drive-thru workers without your payment ready.

Related: 'So How Do We Get Out?': Tesla Dies in the McDonald's Drive-Thru

Drive Thru

Leaving Without Checking Your Order

Friends, a lot of these fast-food employees are making minimum wage and are constantly forced to deal with the most obnoxious customers on the planet. Many of them simply don’t care about their jobs enough to double-check your order, and I can’t blame them.

So, you do it. Give that bag a little look-see before you head out.

Related: These 8 Fast Food Chains Are the Biggest Ripoffs, According to Reddit

Heinz 57 ketchup packets

Ignoring the Receipt

This is one of the easiest drive-thru mistakes you can make. Sure, the food is cheap, but don’t let all that waiting in line stop you from checking the receipt. Mistakes happen … constantly. Don’t accidentally pay for the food of the guy in front of you.

Related: 35 Secrets for Better, Cheaper Meals at Your Favorite Chains

Cars Lined Up at a Brantford Starbucks Drive Thru
The Bold Bureau/istockphoto

Driving Your Food All the Way Home

Once you’ve left the drive-thru window, you might be tempted to take your food all the way home. Don’t bother, if you can avoid it. This food has such a short amount of time in which it tastes good, and if you’re not cracking into it immediately, you’re asking for trouble. 

Have at it right there in the car. I won’t tell anybody.

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