Do Fast Food Employees Like When You Make Small Talk?

There's a fine line between being friendly and being annoying when it comes to small talk, and you probably feel that you're teetering it each time. Per English Club, most people engage in this sort of conversation style to fill time while waiting on something and to break what appears to be an awkward silence. Small talk is rarely about anything of consequence, yet many people feel rude when they don't partake. You might find this practice unnecessary at a restaurant where you may never see the staff again, but the stakes are higher if you frequent the business or run into a lesser-known neighbor or family friend.

According to Forbes, small talk is great for improving listening and social skills, unearthing common interests, and transitioning into conversations you might feel are more meaningful. But what about employees, particularly fast food employees? Do they love it or hate it when you strike up a time-filling back and forth?

It depends on what is being asked

According to Reader's Digest, small talk in itself isn't frowned upon in the fast food world. However, the type of questions you choose to ask can make employees feel uncomfortable. In an awkward exchange, former Carl's Jr. employee James Cobb felt uneasy at the response to the company's promotional badges. The badge read "I believe in old-fashioned values," which led to consumers putting him on the spot. "Customers would ask me, 'what old-fashioned values do you believe in?' Do you give them a glib answer? Do you go sincere? Do you tell them the company was making you wear it?" he wondered.

In a two-year-old Reddit thread, one retail worker made it clear how they feel about small talk. "It's stupid and annoying and just wastes everybody's time. As a customer my favorite cashiers are the one who don't make small talk and leave me the hell alone," they wrote. While this stance is probably a bit harsh, it's still safe to assume that a simple "how are you?" may suffice when it comes to this debate.