My coffee shop is a drive-thru hut, which also has a small walk up window. We thought it was clear that the walk up was reserved for those who were actually walking. However, during the busy times we are experiencing an outrageous amount of park and walk ups. This slows the process, causes car backup, and angers drive-thru customers. I have made a sign stating:
To Our Loyal Walk Ups,
We give priority to our drive-thru customers, to prevent backup into Brady Street.
We appreciate your patience, and your business!
(The sign also has cute pictures of people walking, jogging, walking dogs, biking, etc. as a border)


However, this sign does not seem to be doing the trick. How can I nicely, but firmly state: Walking up when not WALKING is called CUTTING! Help me be tactful, I am running out of patience!

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how is that cutting? what do you have parking spaces for if not for walk-ups? if they are employee spaces then tell them that its employee parking only. what if someone wants to park and walk up for the sake of having another few minutes of not being their car before they're stuck in hours of traffic? i ran a drive-thru. there were many reasons our customers parked and walked up instead. taco bell doesnt get mad when people park and walk in instead. so no one will expect you to.
I'm sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. (Which is sort of the issue!) My shop is really only a drive-thru, and is located off a busy one-way street. There are no spaces for parking at all, not for employees or customers. We are located on the Iowa-Illinois border, so sitting through traffic on the way to work really isn’t a part of the lifestyle. Those who do cut are regulars and do so daily. We are a small shop with only two employees per shift, as the store is only 150 sq.ft. We make fabulous drinks quickly and are a fun, friendly staff, but these “cutters” are creating problems. I can understand a person walking in a Taco Bell as you mentioned but this is not a walk in establishment. They are cutting, they know they’re cutting, and the drive-thru customers know it too. I am just looking for a tactful way to explain this to the walk-ups so I don’t have to listen to drive-thru complaints!
If I understand correctly they aren't "parking" in a "parking space", but just getting out of their car that is in the middle of "the car window service line of cars", leaving the car there blocking any further forward movement by the cars behind them, and walking up to the walk-up window to get served ahead of the cars in front of them?

Hmmm, I'd post a sign "Unattended Cars Will Be Towed" and do it! No, that would take to long to make happen. To tell the truth, I wouldn't worry toooo much about tact, they are already being rude and disrepectful of other people. If it's a 100% certainty they walked up from their car that is in fact in the car service line, I'd ask them to return to their car and wait their turn. If they did not return to their car, I'd serve EVERY car that was ahead of them first while they stood there. I would NOT serve them out of turn, period. If possible I'd have someone go to the cars behind their parked in line car and get their orders and serve them first too. The world has too many "I'm entitled I'm more important" thinking people.

Maybe also check with your local police about what they might be able to do if someone refused to move their car and hence blocking access for other people.
wait, wait... so they are just pulling in and parking in line? you shouldnt have bothered serving them in the first place. had someone tried to pull that at my shop, even regular customers i see every day, id have told them i wont serve them unless they get back in their car and either move it or just stay there until its their turn. in their eyes, its still ok because you havent told them its against your drive thru rules. those people are just being ridiculous and will quit as soon as you call them on it. trust me. people are just testing your boundaries.
I have this same problem at my drive thru shop. We only have 2 windows, one strictly drive thru and the other for walk ups. My issue is once the drive thru has 4 cars lined up people don't come and traffic blocks the main road, so when customers have told me in the past that was the reason they didn't stop I encouraged them to use the call while you wait or walk up window system cause the reality of the situation is that I'm losing money when this happens and most of the time I'm only making one drink per car and I have the ability to make several more at once. If customers get mad about it I encourage them to call ahead or use the walk up window simple as that !!
Can we get a little clarification on the situation here? are people pulling into the drive thru line and then leaving their car and walking up to the "walk up" window or are they parking somewhere as on the street or in a lot near by? And is the walk up window right next to the drive up window? or around a building corner?
Thanks,
Chris
If people are parking in the cue and getting out then it is a 'Occupational Health and Safety Issue' -- they must stay in their cars. If they are parking in a non-parking/no-standing area of YOUR property then it is also a safety issue and you must ask them to either stay in their car or park in a designated spot.
If they are parking somewhere else and walking to your store -- then serve them -- or take the walk-up window away. You could try looking at your order and prep. processes to speed and streamline, or hire more staff for the peak period.

Either way it shows that you are exceeding capacity for your peak periods. View your walkup window as a way to increase your capacity for customers. If you can't find a way to service that capacity with your staff & equipment you probably shouldn't have it.
OH NO You have too many customers! If you want to get rid of a few of them without singling anyone out then just tell every third customer "F*** you very much" as you hand them their drink. I think that should solve your problem.

Oh I guess you could make your drinks faster but that seems unreasonable.
To those who were truly trying to help and wished me to clarify; yes, some do leave their car in the drive-thru line and proceed to order at the walk up window. Most times we get their order not knowing they have left their car in the drive-thru line until we got back to the window to have them pay or even give them their drink and go, “Hey where he/she go?” Many also park literally on the sidewalk and walk up.

Thank you to those who understood my dilemma and sought to help a sister barista out! I am new to the barista exchange and am taken aback by some disrespectful comments. My dilemma was not unreasonable, and certainly not malicious.
Hi Paige,

To me, it looks like you got lots of great feedback so far. I'm with the suggestion that you close the walk-up window during peak car traffic times if at all possible. You have people that have fallen into a pattern of cutting, and there will be no other way to get them to stop. Post a sign explaining, in a straightforward manner, why you are doing this. Am I right in thinking that your prime times for walkup traffic are not the prime commuter times anyway?

Be prepared to lose some of these customers, but I think you are probably ok with that.

To Jarreds comment, you might also take a good look at your efficiency and speed. I hope you are not offended by this suggestion, because to me the root cause of your problem sounds like you have more customers than you can currently handle in a timely fashion during some times. This is a problem we all have to deal with, it just manifests itself in different ways. I'm sure you're already running pretty fast, but are there any opportunities to gain more efficiency? If not, then your line will take care of managing your customer count for you.

Good luck!
Have you though about having an employee walk down the line and take orders, having the orders earlier can give your production team inside more flexibility and allow them to pump out drinks faster. Also they could run drip drinks out and allow your regular coffee customers to get out of the line. If you have employees managing the line then your customers are less likely to get out and walk past them to the walk up window. It sounds like you're busy enough that an extra person should just raise your production capacity and should easily pay for themselves.
I agree with Jason Shipley. We do that on a regular basis and customers love it. You can expidite the easier and quicker cups of coffee and (if your set up allows) let them pull out of the line. Even if your line doesn't allow for easy pulling out, it would still speed things up considerably when your entire line dissapears in a few seconds after the first cusomer pulls out. Get the rep for quick service. It wont make sense to stop and get out of your car. Just remember, every customer counts.

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