Woman talking(l+r), Drive Thru sign(c)

Ongkan/Shutterstock @polkadotkumquat5/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Less time to read the price‘: Woman questions why fast-food drive-thrus don’t put menus up earlier on in the line

‘Why do they not do it that way?’


Nina Hernandez


A woman questioned why fast food drive-thrus don’t put menus up earlier on in the line. She says she would like more time to decide on her order before getting to the speaker.

TikTok user @polkadotkumquat5 posed the question during a video posted last week. “Is there a reason that fast-food restaurants do not put their menus earlier on in the drive-thru line?” she asks to start the video. “I get that it is a very autistic thing to want to look at the menu before you get up there, but I feel like A) If somebody doesn’t know what they want, presumably that cuts down on the time that they’re deciding, and so reduces the wait time for everyone behind them?”

She continues, “But B) Does it not work the same way that those cash register checkout lines at the grocery stores work? Where they increase their sales by putting a bunch of little things in front of you. Would it not increase their sales to have someone looking at the menu options and consider more menu items for longer? Am I crazy? Is that not a better market strategy? Why do they not do it that way?”

In the caption, @polkadotkumquat5 writes, “Is the issue paying for signage because I also don’t understand why they don’t just use a projector or one big screen for everything? #fyp #autism #audhd #autistic #actuallyautistic #drivethru”

The video has amassed more than 89,000 views as of Wednesday morning. In the comments section, users weighed in with their own thoughts on the matter.

One user wrote, “Who go to the drive thru if you don’t know what you want? Pull it up on your phone?”

Someone else had their own improvement to the drive-thru system. “Or not have the menu change 5 times while ordering,” they wrote.

Another person agreed with @polkadotkumquat5. “Yes!! this has ALWAYS bothered me.. I don’t have time to read the menu or decide what I want before they ‘can I take ur order?’ or ‘anything else?’ me,” they wrote.

@polkadotkumquat5 Is the issue paying for signage because I also don’t understand why they don’t just use a projector or one big screen for everything? #fyp #autism #audhd #autistic #actuallyautistic #drivethru ♬ original sound – polkadotkumquat

One user suggested the reason is it gives you “less time to read the price.”

Someone else said, “Drive-Thru’s were designed for speed, not necessarily customer satisfaction. So with that comes the assumption that customers more or less know what they’re getting.”

But others pointed out that some restaurants do employ this tactic. “Love jack in the box for having an extra menu,” wrote one user.

The question is not new

Internet users have long-awaited an answer to this question. In a Reddit thread posted to r/NoStupidQuestions five years ago, users discussed this very issue.

“I’ve seen some places that do. But I believe that most places don’t because they don’t want you holding up the line by staring at the menu. If you’re already at the call box, you’re more likely to feel pressured to speed up your order,” one user wrote.

Fast-food places want to maximize efficiency, especially in drive-thrus

New Zealand news organization the Spinoff tackled this subject in an article in 2023, entitled, “Why are drive-thru menus so hard to read?”

To answer the question, the writer contacted McDonald’s, which explained that fast-food menus have changed because its menu has expanded over the years. “Not only is McDonald’s’ menu more extensive, drive-thrus themselves have been tweaked to maximise efficiency and move customers through quickly. Speed is now the aim of the drive-thru game,” the article states.

The Daily Dot reached out to @polkadotkumquat5 via TikTok direct message for comment.

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