On the Burger-Order Approach

I recently spent some time at one of the greatest places on the planet to people-watch: the McDonald’s in Concourse C at the DFW airport.  In doing so I discovered that there are but a handful of ways that people will order their fast food. Now, I’m no behavioral health specialist, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once.  It was in the middle of nowhere, I’m pretty sureit was haunted, and the USA Today was actually …wait for it…USA Yesterday. Be that as it may, I believe I’m now distinctly qualified to make the following general connections between how a person orders their fast food, and their personality, as in the following:

Order Approach #1 – “Give me a Big Mac.”

There are two main personas associated with this order approach:

1) You’re robbing the place, and why not take a burger as well as the cash – you deserve it all!


2) You’re used to fighting to get what you need and want. When you walk through the door of ANY restaurant, you’re already expecting the exchange with the food-service professional to escalate to the point that food will have to be demanded.  As such, you pre-escalate the situation from the beginning, giving an ultimatum for your order.  This saves both time and mental resources, and who can spare either, am I right?

Order Approach #2 – “I’ll take a Big Mac.”

You’re not exactly sure how you ended up at a McDonald’s counter ordering food.  The last few minutes are a blur, and probably something that a medical professional should be involved in.  However it happened, you’re game for anything, and your potential medical crisis won’t get in the way of this opportunity to have a burger. Carpe fries with that?

Order Approach #3 – “Let me have a Big Mac.”

At first glance, you are often confused with the “Give me” guy outlined above.  However, when carefully considered, it becomes clear that you have a style, and a motivation, all your own.  You see deeply into the hearts and souls of fast food workers everywhere, and you know their reluctance to let that hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind burger go.  Your plea, often spoken in soft tones, goes well with a side of gentle eye contact and, if deemed situationally-appropriate, a super-sized hand on the shoulder.  You prove that you’re not just another customer, as you leave the most important tip of all: compassion.

Order Approach #4 – “Can I have a Big Mac?”

You’ve not yet mastered the idea of a free market where anyone with cash or credit can purchase goods and services.  While this might seem like a daunting reality to most, you consider it an adventure, with every financial transaction being at once thrilling and terrifying. You’re left in a constant state of wondering if you will, in fact, be allowed to exchange your currency for the goods you so desperately want and need.  No matter how many times it’s proven that you can, in fact, have a Big Mac if you have $3, you’re never sure.  And that’s ok!

Order Approach #5 – “Can I get a Big Mac?”

For reasons you can’t even explain, you don’t even know if they HAVE Big Macs at this McDonald’s.  Perhaps you believe that, like they do with the McRib, McDonald’s is just going to make this burger available at random times and places, and that you’ve just gotten lucky the last 764 times you’ve ordered one.  It’s ok to be skeptical.  The Big Mac has only been around for 50 years.  It’s far from a proven success, and the day they have to answer your question with “No”, you alone will be prepared to cope.

Order Approach #6 – “What’s a Big Mac?”

You are either a zombie, one of those people who has been holed-up in a Texas ranch compound for 40 years, or have recently emerged from a coma and are eagerly exploring the world for the first time.  Either way, we can all see it, and we’re not amused – there is simply no time to explain and you’re holding up the line.  Just order or turn yourself in.  You will not win.

Where do you fall on this scale? Did I get it right?  Did I leave one out? (Of course those are rhetorical question, because I know I nailed it – I redirect your attention to the Holiday Inn fact as outlined above.)

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