Starting Out Flipping Burgers

How hard can flipping burgers be?

In late January, I got my first job at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steak burgers near Emerson and County Line, a 15 minute drive from my house.

The first time I walked in, I was greeted by a nostalgic 50’s style dining room clad in red and white and a smiling staff as well as an abundance of menu items to choose from, from the California Steak burger to the Chicago dog.

I was a guest at the time, and I ordered the limited time A1 steak burger. While I would not recommend the A1 burger because it was not my favorite, it was a great meal that came with fries and a cola. That and the amazing service and atmosphere is what really got me hooked on the Freddy’s way.

That day I took an application from the cashier and filled it out. I turned it in the week after, and immediately after turning it in. Luckily I came prepared.

One of the questions that will forever stick in my mind is ‘What is an example of when the customer is not right?’ This question caught me off guard. I answered ‘If they say they’re missing a fry and it does not show up on the receipt.’ The manager seemed to like that answer as he smiled and jotted down notes.

After the interview, I waited days for a phone call. I was anxious, and I could not think of anything else. ‘Did I mess up?’ I thought over and over again. I finally could not stand it anymore, and with trembling hands and butterflies in my stomach, I called Freddy’s.

That day over the phone, we scheduled my orientation, a sign I had gotten the job. I cheered, ecstatic that I had gotten my very first job. I called my friends and family; I was beyond excited as I explained what happened at 100 words per minute.

On my first day I was assigned to the Grill One position, where I made steak burgers for four hours. It did not take me long to learn how to smash them and scrape them off the grill. That was the easy part; it was not a busy day.

At the end of that first shift I was introduced to Freddy’s custom Learning program for the workplace, uniquely called Freducation. I was told to sit in front of a TV screen with built in touch sensors and watch a few videos, after which I took a test over everything I learned.

After that I slowly progressed through the stations, Grill One, Grill Two, Bun and Make. The only one I have left is Fry, which I will be starting soon.

Once I started learning the Make position, however, I realized a horrifying truth that will plague me for all eternity. I am too short to reach the bun toaster. In order to put in the buns, I would have to jump up a little or at the very least get on my toes, one foot leaving the ground. After an exhausting day of that, my ankles were sore and painful and hard to walk on, a sure sign of constant jumping for four hours.

As the days went on, thinks got smoother, and I am happy to report I experience only slight ankle pain from tension and exercise.

I will never forget my first job and the challenges it brings, but it is one I plan to keep for a long, long time.

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