Wendy's Male Karen's Drive-Thru TikTok Backfires

If you've been to or driven by a fast food restaurant recently, you probably noticed all the signs advertising hiring incentives like sign on bonuses and higher pay to address the worker shortage. According to CNBC, October 2021 saw nearly 800,000 less workers in the food service industry compared to February 2020. To combat worker shortage and incentivize new employees, Chipotle has raised its hourly pay and introduced referral bonuses, while McDonald's is working toward paying all employees $15 an hour and piloting an emergency child care program (via CNBC). Meanwhile, Denny's drove their disaster relief bus around the country in an effort to recruit workers.

Incentives and higher pay will not fix the staffing problem overnight, so restaurants have to adjust by cutting their hours and even their menu items. Wendy's has had to shut down several of their dining rooms, which has put more pressure on the drive-thrus (via Business Insider). They had 95% of their dining rooms open in the second quarter of this year. But by the third quarter, which ended on October 3, only 85% of dining rooms were open.

The challenges in ordering via drive-thru have resulted in quite a few heated exchanges, many of which were captured on TikTok for the world to comment on.

He thought TikTok would be on his side, but a majority sided with the workers

One of these TikTok exchanges was captured recently, demonstrating the issues of longer wait times and establishments struggling with staffing. The video opens to a Wendy's drive-thru in the middle of a heated exchange between a customer and two employees.

The background of the exchange, which is revealed in another TikTok, is that the customer waited in line for 35 minutes and did not know the restaurant could only accept cash until they got to the window. The employee explains that they had signs and that it was pretty clear, so the beginning of the video shows the customer trying to get the food anyway, without payment.

The video ends in a satisfying way for those siding with the workers. The drinks ordered by the "male Karen" fall out the drive-thru window and onto the ground. Many TikTok users were happy with this ending and sided with the workers, saying it wasn't their fault that the card reader was down. "I was at home depot, and their system went down. So I should've got my materials for free? I was there like 90 minutes," commented @a1inamillion. "You're the reason why people don't wanna work customer service," added @dulce.vp.