No, You Can't Order At A Fast Food Drive-Thru On Foot

Fast food and drive-thrus are an iconic American combination. But can you take advantage of the convenient ordering system if you're on two feet instead of four wheels? In general the answer, unfortunately, appears to be no. 

McDonald's addresses the issue explicitly on its website, noting that safety issues are the main reason for not allowing walk-ups at the drive-thru. Vehicles and pedestrians could end up too close in the lane, a mix that's never good for walkers. Burger King had a little more fun telling people walk-ups aren't allowed, tweeting that "playing engine noises on your phone" while on foot still doesn't count. 

On Reddit, one Wendy's worker noted company policy prohibited serving pedestrians from the drive-thru but that they might still help out polite customers. Another commenter who worked the drive-thru called the prospect of someone approaching their window on foot "very unsettling." McDonald's also noted potential safety issues for workers in prohibiting the practice. Other anecdotal online evidence suggests large chains like Starbucks and KFC have similar policies.

Alternative transportation means alternative options

Those on two wheels may be out of luck as well. Many corporate fast food drive-thru policies that prohibit walkers also prohibit bicyclists on the same safety grounds. However, some places, like the city of Portland, Oregon, have passed laws mandating restaurants to accept all comers when the lobby is closed and the drive-thru window is the only option, no matter how they get there.

Pedestrians elsewhere may not have to go hungry at all fast food joints, either. McDonald's has added walk-up windows in some restaurants that offer 24-hour drive-thrus. This can provide some major help for late-night diners arriving after the dining room has closed. Hungry folks without a car can also take advantage of delivery services that can use their wheels to bring your food directly to your final destination, with no need for you to navigate the drive-thru.

This isn't the only common fast food faux pas. Before your next trip, make sure you review the top things you should never do in a drive-thru.