by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Confounded by a cavalcade of order takers, money handlers, and food runners encroaching upon his vehicle at a dizzying pace in the drive-thru of the Route 83 Portillo’s and bewildered by the introduction of a double car lane that instantly merges back down to one lane, Elmhurst resident Dan Offerman told reporters riding along in his SUV Wednesday afternoon that “over-staffing” is the reason that the fast-food franchise charges $2.99 for a “goddamn hot dog”.
“It’s a miracle that this place is still in business with so many employees out here,” said Offerman, apparently unaware that each Portillo’s unit averages nearly three times the sales of a typical McDonald’s location. “Why can’t the same person who takes your food order take your payment as well?”
Bitterly staring at the order number now affixed to his windshield which he is certain will not be removed after he receives his food, Offerman read a complicated order for his family of five to a Portillo’s employee wearing a headset and carrying a tablet before inching his vehicle forward to pay a different employee.
“Make sure they pack the cheese sauce for my fries,” barked Offerman, seemingly agitated by the payment processor’s correct recital of the food order riddled with modifications – yet impressed that the teenager is entrusted to walk around outside with a “fat stack of cash”.
Having now reached the menu board nearly 150 feet after his food order was taken, Offerman took a moment to look at the food prices.
“Are you (expletive) kidding me? I’m paying $2.99 for a goddamn hot dog?” shouted Offerman, who earlier this month discarded a plate full of Parkview brand hot dogs that his wife purchased at Aldi and boiled in hot water. “These prices are outrageous!”
After a grueling four-minute drive-thru experience from start to finish, Offerman let his emotions boil over when employee Jacob Shields delivered his food.
“Now take that damn ticket off of my windshield, you worthless piece of crap,” yelled Offerman to the Timothy Christian senior honor roll student who works 20 hours every week at Portillo’s and volunteers at the Yorkfield Food Pantry on Saturday mornings.
At press time, Offerman was back at home eating his third hot dog while trying to decipher the hieroglyphic order codes written in pencil on one of the food bags.