Friday, October 3, 2008

Secrets from a disgruntled waitress

While I've been at work slaving away over a server tray, I got to thinking about all the people who have never worked in the food service industry. Mainly about how lucky you are if you never have, because they don't call it the Black Hole Industry for nothin'. Actually I totally made that up just now, but people HAVE said it. I need a trademark, asap.

Anyway, there are certain things that go on inside a restaurant you don't see. Certain...undesirable things. Things that would make you never, ever want to eat out again. I'm going to break the code of Servers Working for Servers to let you guys in on a couple of secrets. If you don't hear from me in a few days, assume I've been moved and placed into the folds of the Witness Protection Program, Waitress Division.

Firstly, we eat your food. French fries, veggies, popcorn shrimp, olives, spinach dip, if its small enough for you to not notice it being gone, we've eaten it. I even used to know a girl who would press her finger on the steaks and lick off the juices! We are working around yummy, delicious food constantly. We are hungry! However, we never double dip and sometimes we use our own sauces. A small consolation for you.

The kitchen staff drops food on the floor constantly. And guess what? they don't throw it away, either. They might not even wash it off. I don't know. But they toss that baby on the grill or in the fryer and "cook off the germs". Would you do that in your own home? Hell to the no. But it happens. I've seen it with my own two eyes, plenty of times. Think about that the next time you order a tuna steak.

If you order a mixed drink we've never tried, we will try it. We'll stick a straw in that baby, put our finger on the top, lean our heads back and drink from the straw. This isn't too bad, since there are no germ transfers from us waitstaff (bar staff is an entirely different story...their fingers are all up in your drink, by the way) but I've seen people do worse. This has amazing benefits, since you don't have to order a $7 chocolate martini just to taste it.

Lastly, we talk shit about you. Especially if you are rude. The number one thing you can do wrong while eating out is be rude to your server. The more you're an asshole, the more we don't care, and you will cease to get a refill and decent service. Most of the time, the owners even encourage this.
Also, if you're hot, your waiter will go brag to all the other waitstaff about the hottie he/she's waiting on and everyone will try to discreetly look at you and then crack jokes about what you would be like in bed. Seriously. Its disgusting how ruthless we are. (Edited to add: by "we" I do not specifically mean me because I am way above this kind of behavior. Now, I mean. Five years ago, not so much.)

BUT! With the bad comes the good - no one will spit in your food/drink no matter how awful you are, we are constantly washing our hands because we think germs are gross, too, and don't like handling other people's food, either, and most of the time we genuinely care about your dining experience. Unless you're a dick, then good luck getting another jack and coke, baby.


feefifoto said...

All my adult life I've been waiting to meet someone who's "gruntled."

Still waiting. said...

In college, I worked in a small restaurant chain called Daryl's. It was pretty upper class, and a bit expensive.

I started out washing dishes, and was soon promoted to busboy. Yes!

And like you, I have stories to tell. And you do give good advice. Do not EVER make the wait staff angry. They will make you pay - and you will not even know it.

Heinous said...

I was there a long time ago. Host (worst damn job ever, keeping all the servers happy,) busboy, waiter, chef's help. Well, at least you're saving up material.

Petra said...

Hmmm...I have never been a waitress but I have known plenty of them so none of that is surprising to me (except the fact that you are "above" all that--come on, Athena, we know you better than that! ;)

Athena said...

feefifoto - can you even *be* gruntled? a quick check to says, yes you can! Huh. Thank you for this, because for the rest of my life I will be waiting to hear the same thing!

Paul - Oh, the things we could tell people to make them never want to eat out again, lol.

Heinous - Oh yeah, the hosts might even have it worse than the waitstaff...some can be kind of demanding.

Petra - Girl, you know that's just a disclaimer ;)

The Hypocritical One said...

I worked 5 years as a server...All my best stories come from that time.

I can't even mention some of the sick crap that went on....but pushing a steak and licking fingers?? That's pretty nasty.

Robin said...

I've worked in the "hospitality industry" for the past 28 years as a manager at a 4-star hotel and understand how staff are sometimes treated by guests both in our hotel and our restaurant. Contrary to what most customers think, the customer is NOT always right and some of them deserve what they get!

chris said...

for the record, if you as the server are attractive we're discussing how you might be in bed as well (=

as for tasting the drink...just ask. i've no problem with anyone tasting something and most folks i know don't either.

Angel said...

As a former waitress, everything you say is so true! This gave me quite a chuckle, so thanks:-D

Take care.

TommyMac71 said...

okay, avoid the popcorn shrimp, behave myself, and tell my waitress "you can tell the girls i'm OUTSTANDING in bed."

Got it.


Chat Blanc said...

I'm soooo lucky, I've never been a waitress or bartender. But one of my good friends was a waitress for years and years and she skooled me good so I'm super conscious of treating server peeps nice. I have to admit however, I am skeared of some of the things you mentioned, like the dropping and touching of food--ewww! :P

Keely said...

Yep, worked in the restaurant industry for years. Hubby is still there, although he's managing. I gotta say bartending in a nightclub was worse, though. You have no idea the filth behind the bar.

EGE said...

But what if you're the person sitting WITH the person who's rude and demanding? Can there ever be enough apologetic smiles to merit you another beer?

Kirsten said...

I used to work in that industry and it sucks! Most of the general public are asses. I hate people because of it! :)

Kathy said...

Being a server is something I could never do. Not only would I screw up everyone's orders, but I couldn't handle being treated so bad by customers. Although it sounds like there's a quite a thorough payback mechanism in place. I'm also an excellent tipper. What I think I should do is leave a tip first. Maybe that'll ensure nobody's fingers touch my food! Eww!

PurrPrints said...

I'm officially feeling a bit nauseous now...

ettarose said...

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Athena said...

the hypocritical one - Haha! I know. I can never order a steak at a restaurant without thinking of that.

Robin - AMEN!

Chris - I'm well aware of it, too!

Angel - it's always nice to reminisce :) Thank you!

Tommymac13 - LOL you would get excellent service if you did!

Chat blanc - Just try not to think about it! I work in food service and I still eat in other restaurants. I'm in denial...would you care to join me?! ;)

Keely - the filth behind the bar is a special kind of sickness. I've done a few stints back there and its just SCARY.

Ege - absolutely!! We can always tell when someone is just unfortunate enough to be sitting with a real jerk.

Kirsten - seriously, people suck.

Kathy - lol, you should try it, it might work for you! I'd love it! ;)

Purrprints - Aw, I'm sorry! :)

Ettarose - thank you!! I'll check it out now!

Zip n Tizzy said...

My husband has filled me with horror stories of being a short order cook. I have my own shortlived tales as well... short lived 'cuz I always went back to nannying!

Farmhouse Kitchen Sinks said...

well this really make me sick

Athena said...

Serena - it's all so unsavory...I just cringe when I think of it all.

FKS - I know!