Wendy’s: fast food, dine-in, drive-through. Unlike “my” Pizza Hut, it has a very diverse menu with all kinds of drinks and sides. There are breakfast and lunch times, where different things are served, and the type of food, along with the drive-through aspect makes it a completely different beast to handle. The flow is very different compared to Pizza Hut. Scheduling is different, there’s a lot more prep and restocking, and the way shifts are organized took me a while to understand.
I got a job at Wendy’s. Being my second job, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Fast food, right? Cooking, customer service, and prep. Couldn’t be much different than Pizza Hut…right? (Cue me walking into an entirely different situation unaware of what I was about to face.)
Leaving Pizza Hut…Sort Of
But wait. Let’s back up. I have a job at Pizza Hut, right? Things were going well. I’d been working full-time hours there, so why—and how—was I getting a job at Wendy’s?
Like I mentioned in the last work blog post, the tip system at Pizza Hut changed. Where I’d been earning a fairly stable amount of tips per hour before, I was now getting almost nothing. Without the tips, my wage was lower than other jobs in the area. $11 an hour isn’t the most comfortable amount of money to live on, and as I intend to be able to live independently within a year, minimum wage isn’t something I want to spend all my hours working for when every other option pays better. In addition, I wasn’t seeing Pizza Hut as a possible career option. Things just weren’t heading that way. Instability abounded, management didn’t communicate, and it wasn’t something I wanted to get into over my head.
Two months passed, Pizza Hut was feeling like my home. People were beginning to look up to me. I was even put in charge of training people. However, negatives were beginning to outweigh the positives. Everything seemed to be headed in a downward direction, and payment wasn’t enough to keep me there. Thus, I decided it was time to move on.
I changed my availability. Wendy’s was early mornings; I could still work nights at Pizza Hut. Yes, I could’ve completely left. However, I decided to keep Pizza Hut as a part-time job, because one, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Wendy’s, and two, I still enjoyed working night rushes—especially with certain coworkers. Pizza Hut was my first ever job. Even though I knew I’d have to leave at some point, I wanted to hold off saying goodbye for as long as possible.
Enter 60-hour work weeks. 😁It was exhausting. It was stressful. It’s not something I ever want to do again—unless I really love my job—but we’ll get into that later.
How I Got Wendy's
I actually applied for Wendy’s a couple of weeks before deciding to move on from Pizza Hut. There had been a few instances where I’d considered leaving Pizza Hut. Things had been progressively getting worse. Management changed—and not particularly for the best—and the turnover was terrible. My hours got cut “to train the new people.” Things were done in the most inefficient and ineffective ways. Favoritism and partialism trumped justice and gave way to corruption. I’d been getting tired of putting up with it all, so the tip system change was just the last straw. That’s when I finally decided to make the move.
I’d considered leaving multiple times before I actually did. At one point, I applied to several places in my area, just to see what my options were. Among my applications was Wendy’s. I waited a couple of weeks. None of them responded. I kept working at Pizza Hut. My applications faded to the back of my memory, and eventually, I assumed none of the places I’d applied for were interested in me. Thus, you can imagine how surprised I was to get a call from Wendy’s the day after deciding to leave Pizza Hut. The timing was perfect. The job sounded promising. It was a perfect coincidence. Everything lined up perfectly, so I decided to go ahead with the interview—which led to me taking the job.
The first thing I noticed upon starting the job was how professional Wendy’s seemed. There was mutual respect, a clear hierarchy, and good communication both within management and between coworkers. Things like tardiness and laziness weren’t tolerated. It was a refreshing change, and I was relieved to find that all places aren’t as corrupted as Pizza Hut. (Because being my first job, I didn’t know what to expect from any other place. I’d only been working for three months; my experience and knowledge were severely limited.)
I was put on shoulder-to-shoulder work my first day. I pretty much just followed people around, watched what they did, and cleaned in my spare time. That was day one. For day two, I was put on training videos. I watched hours and hours of videos that taught me about the background of Wendy’s and how to be a clean, nice human. Day three is when I was given actual work.
I immediately realized how bad I am at multi-tasking. As soon as I was put on drive-through/”speaker,” things went downhill. I got overwhelmed and panicked. I tried a few times, but no matter how much I attempted to remain calm and collected, things went awry. I messed up orders. I made the wrong drinks. I forgot to give customers their receipts. In all fairness, I knew I wasn’t the best at muti-tasking, but I’d assumed things would just come together somehow. (No, they didn’t. Things went wrong, and my newly-found optimism quickly changed to full-fledged pessimism.)
After that one morning on speaker, I was put on other stations. The first was front counter. I was in charge of coordinating (putting orders together) and taking orders or cashing people out. One of the managers helped me the entire time, so it wasn’t too bad. Over time, I know I would’ve gotten good/quick at it.
The second station I was put on (another day) was back cash. It’s the first window, and all I had to do was pull up orders, take payments, and hand people their receipts. It’s actually the easiest job in the entire store. Most people want it, but the station is only opened up when there are enough people working. Anyway, I really enjoyed that station. Customers commented to my manager on how I “took care of them.” I liked the interaction and simplicity of the job. (Give me one thing to do, and I’ll work hard and do well. Give me two or more, and I’ll get nothing done.😅)
So, customers loved me, and I loved them.
Coworkers and Managers
Coworkers—we got along. Everyone there is pretty friendly. People invited me in, tried to make me feel included, and taught me where everything was and how to do stuff. Unlike Pizza Hut, I feel like I got a warm and informational welcome. From the beginning, I was set up for success by both my managers and coworkers. People took active steps to ensure I felt included, and I really appreciated the change.
I know I just talked about how wonderful everyone and everything at Wendy’s was, but yes, I did end up quitting. Drive-through is what really got to me. Being a morning shift person, it’s not something I can just avoid. It’s a necessary evil of the job. In the morning, you’re in charge of prep, speaker, and food production. Even if you’re not assigned speaker, you’re going to have to do at least 30 minutes of it while someone takes their mandatory break. People liked me, and I liked them, but speaker just didn’t get along with me. It pretty much broke the deal for me.
But…that’s not the whole of it. Embarrassingly enough, I actually left in order to go to Walmart (highest competitor in my area). I’d applied around the time I decided to move on from Pizza Hut. However, because of how perfectly coincidental Wendy’s had been, plus the lack of response from Walmart, I jumped into Wendy’s right away.
I shouldn’t have. I should’ve waited for Walmart. It was my first preference. There were career opportunities and better pay there. Instead, I was hasty and gave into fear of missing out, taking the first thing that came to me.
So how I left Wendy’s? A few days into the job, as I was questioning whether it was the best fit for me, Walmart called, asking for an interview. I accepted the interview. I got all the information I could, and I told them about myself. Everything seemed to line up perfectly with what I was looking for in a job. I went back home and thought things out. A few days later when I got the formal job offer, I accepted it and put in my two weeks at Wendy’s. I then proceeded to work out those two weeks, along with Pizza Hut nights.
Juggling Two Jobs
60-hour weeks aren’t fun—that’s what I learned from having two jobs. There’s almost zero time for anything. Sleep, eat, work, eat, repeat. What little time you have extra is easily spent in keeping up with friends or family. Sometimes, there isn’t even time for that. Food? No time or energy to think about that. I was exhausted both physically and mentally.
Needless to say, when I finished my last day at Wendy’s, I was relieved. (I was working full-time hours there; part-time at Pizza Hut. Actually, if we’re being technical, I worked full-time at both for one of the weeks.) Without Wendy’s, I finally had enough time and energy to function properly.
I left on a good note. For the short amount of time I’d been there, I met some really nice people, learned the basics of working at a fast food drive-through, and discovered some of my strengths and weaknesses job-wise. A lot of coworkers didn’t want to see me go. Some tried to convince me to stay as I worked my remaining days, and when I left, I was told that if Walmart didn’t work out, I was welcome back. I really appreciate those managers’ kindness. While the job wasn’t the best fit for me, they were patient with me, taught me everything I needed to know, and tried their best to accommodate my preferences. Why they asked me back, I don’t understand (besides the need for labor). However, I am thankful for it. I’m happy we were able to separate on good terms.
I learned a lot from Wendy’s. it was my first job where I feel liked I worked in a professional environment. I was able to learn about what it takes to make things run smoothly, as well as how to keep a positive, helpful atmosphere. It was a good comparison to Pizza Hut. Even though those two alone aren’t enough to tell me everything about different work environments, I feel like I know a lot more about myself and my work preferences. No, I don’t want to be in fast food for the rest of my life. I’m not sure what I want to spend my life doing, but I do know how I operate in different environments and under pressure.
I’m grateful for the experience. I’m grateful for my managers at Wendy’s. While I should have thought things out more thoroughly before taking the job, it’s not something I can say I regret. I learned a lot from it. Without this opportunity, I don’t think I’d be in the same place (job-wise) with the same conclusions as I am now.