How to quit a fast food job

People frequently ask me for advice on how to quit a job, maybe because I’m a writer. But it’s only as hard as you make it. It’s possible to quit a job graciously and not destroy references you might need someday. Here’s how to quit a fast food job.

Write a letter

how to quit a fast food job
Richard Nixon’s resignation letter was as short and to the point as you can get.

It starts with a letter. It doesn’t have to be a complicated letter. When Richard Nixon quit his job as president of the United States, it was less than 140 characters. The body of the letter would have fit in a Tweet.

Yours needs to be slightly longer than that, because Richard Nixon wasn’t giving notice. You need to. And don’t resign over Twitter. You’ll need to do this in person. More on that in a minute.

How to write your resignation letter

There is nothing wrong with this resignation letter. Substitute the items in brackets as appropriate. You’ll also need to change the names and dates.

But other than that, you can just copy this and use it if you want. Keep it short and simple. The shorter and simpler you make it, the less likely you are to make a mistake that can come back and haunt you later.

                              June 1, 2017

Dear Mr. Brown:

I have accepted a position at another company. I am resigning my position at [company]. 

My last day will be June 15, 2017.

I wish you and [company] well in the future.


                              [leave room for your signature]

                              [your name]

And that’s it. In writing, you don’t owe anybody anything else. Many people put explanations and reminiscences in their resignation letters. That just makes it harder, and increases the risk of offending someone if they don’t think you really mean it. Just state what you are resigning from, your last day, and a simple wish-you-well.

Strictly speaking, you don’t have to say you accepted a position somewhere else, but it’s not a bad idea to have an official reason in writing. It doesn’t have to be specific.

Yes, give notice

Some companies want two weeks notice. Others do not. Always offer two weeks so you don’t put the company in a bind. That gives them time to at least start looking for a replacement, and doesn’t leave your employer and soon-to-be former team high and dry.

Your company may tell you they only want one week. In extreme cases they may say today is your last day. Before you resign, have a conversation with your new company. Ask if you might be able to start early if your current employer declines two weeks notice. In fast food, I’d say it’s unlikely, but it gives you cover in case you need it.

How to resign

Type our your letter. Print it, and put it in an envelope. Come in to work, find your supervisor, and ask to speak with him or her privately. Then hand your supervisor the letter.

Your supervisor will probably ask where you are going, and may ask why you are leaving. You can be honest, but be gracious. These things happen, especially in fast food. Managers pretty much expect it. Some people have long careers in fast food, but most don’t. I stayed in the same position at the same fast food restaurant for 2 1/2 years as a teenager, and that surprises people. Only about half a dozen of my teammates did the same thing. We lost count of how many people came and went in 30 months.

Above all else, be professional. People will ask you about it. Save the jokes for another time and place, even if you were unhappy there.

It’s increasingly rare for prospective employers to ask former employers if they would hire you again, but if anyone ever does, you want the answer to be yes.

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