9 Things You Will Only Understand if You Work in a Restaurant


  1. You never, ever go into a restaurant to eat 15 minutes before they close. 1
  2. You don’t just randomly pull tables together without asking a server or hostess first. 2
  3. A walk-in refrigerator can be a very wonderful place.3
  4. If your server fucks up, he was probably just having a bad night and you tip him 20% anyway.4
  5. Sometimes restaurants are out of things and it’s totally no big deal. 5
  6. Just because you work hard doesn’t necessarily mean you will make a lot of money. 6
  7. But, sometimes you can make a lot of money without even trying. 7
  8. If it’s not on the menu you can’t have it. 8
  9. Five wonderful words: dead food in the window. 9If you like this list, then you should go to Amazon and preorder my book. Don’t worry, it’s a cheap. Click here.

26 thoughts on “9 Things You Will Only Understand if You Work in a Restaurant

  1. bewarethegypsies

    You forgot………never stay more than 15 minutes past closing………and if you do……your tip better reflect that

    1. Don

      Dead food in the window: I’ve never worked at a place where you were allowed to eat dead food. Is that because I only worked in college towns with 20 year olds? I guess the managers were concerned that we would LET food die so we could eat it.

  2. Abe Froman

    Hi Bitchy Waiter! I have a question/comment about a dinner experience I had a few months ago and the servers response to my question. You stated in this post that restaurants run out of things and that’s no big deal. I went to a bar/restaurant that isn’t high end but is not a chain and I would consider it to be a few levels above pub food. I asked for a Kale salad and the server informed that they had no Kale and the salad wasn’t avail (it was 6:00pm and the dinner rush didn’t even start). The restaurant is around the block (3 min walk) from a huge grocery store and I asked the server in a more curious tone than serious “If you run out of something like Kale couldn’t someone run to the grocery store and get some?” The response from the server was “theres always a smart ass.” and then went on to take other orders etc… I was a little taken aback as I didn’t intend to ask a “smart ass” question. I thought it was a little absurd that they had no salad so early in the night. So I ask you, was my question a smart ass question? Is it ludicrous to think someone could go buy kale at a store as opposed to it being delivered by their normal supplier? Thanks!

    1. sdstochastic

      If it’s not a chain then there’s no outside reason they couldn’t, although I imagine it would take a little more effort than you seem to think. Maybe the owner wasn’t in that day so the store credit card wasn’t around and they’re not allowed to do cash outs for that sort of thing. However, while you may not have meant the question in a smart-ass way, I completely understand why the server took it that way, and it’s never really appropriate to suggest solutions like that to your server. I guarantee you someone already thought of that and there’s a good reason they didn’t do it. Your server has a brain, too.

    2. Amanda

      Also the price of grocery store food would cost them significantly more than just saying they’re out forcing a few customers to choose another menu item. You have to think first off rush or not owners/managers stay very busy and they are the only people allowed to even leave the restaurant when on the clock. One person requesting something they were out of is not worth the effort or costs even if it costs them one customer.

    3. sarah

      No, we have three restaurants at a resort there is a grocery store across the street, no we don’t just run to the store because a customer wants something we dont have, for one thing we have everything costed out to the penny per serving and use food service delivery trucks to bring things we need, if it is a big deal, we may run to store but, a customer wanting a kale salad? No. We also don’t just have extra employees to run out to shop, even if it don’t look like it’s busy to you, I guarantee, there is work happening, we also can’t have employees leave on the clock, so nobody wants to do it for free, I assure you the pub was not trying to ruin your salad craving day, it happens, we run out, please don’t snub your server or the establishment for the issue.

    4. Lynn

      As someone who has managed and served for 20 yrs, I can tell you there is no reason they could not take thier butts to the store and get some more Kale. Any manager who gives a crap about their store would get the kale no matter what they had to do. As far as the servers comment of you being a smart ass, I’m sure the servers have thought “why don’t they just go to the store?” Did the server need to respond that way to you, No.

      1. Sandy

        One small legality in this is that a chain restaurant has set suppliers to provide their produce, which guarantee quality and are liable should their products be contaminated or are at fault to make the consumer ill. Sometimes a product is out of stock or the restaurant has simply misordered or had a greater volume of that product sold than normal. The restaurant can therefore not compromise the reputation of the business by simply popping out to a local store to buy a similar product as this would not be covered under their liability insurance since it was not supplied by their contracted supplier. This doesn’t excuse the comment made by the server, which was very rude.

    5. Andrea

      If something isn’t super popular and doesn’t bring in a lot of money, they aren’t gonna go out and buy it. They will just wait till it comes in on the truck. Was ur server kind of being a douche, yes.

    6. Nicole

      Sometimes by the time a restaurant runs out of something, it’s too late to send someone to the store. Especially if it happens in the middle of the rush. However the server’s response was a bit more rude than I would be, I can understand the frustration behind it. As a server we don’t always control what goes on in the kitchen but we have to be the bad guys and tell people we can’t get them what they want. Not everybody is as polite as you were trying to be when asking your question so it’s tough to keep your cool.

    7. Stephanie

      In the state I live in it would be against the law to go get it from the grocery store, everything needs to be bought from a wholesale distributor. You, in fact, were being a smart ass and rude when you asked that.

      1. Francisco

        I think it was the fact that it was Kale. I’m guessing it’s not very popular. On something like that it’s easer to 86 it. Now if it’s a popular menu item there might be a store run. For example I have gone to the store for wasabi powder (we serve tuna four dif ways and not having wasabi would have caused the guests heads to explode)

    8. Sandra

      They were busy and I’m sure they didn’t have time to fetch it for u. Did u walk past the store and not stop to buy your own kale salad? No you came to be served and they were out. Would u like to get bad service asking an employee to leave all their guests so one would get what they want? So yeah u probably sounded like a smart ass lol!

    9. Michelle

      At my restaurant we are always running across the street to pick things up. Much better for us to pay a little more than we would from our supplier than to 86 the item all night. We are an independent restaurant though so the rules could be different for a more corporate establishment.

    10. Julie

      Restaurants order from purveyers who deliver on grocery trucks, the costs is lower due to bulk orders. Most will not pay high retain costs to fullfill s menu. Most trucks only deliver once or twice a week….so if they are out…..they are out for a few days.

    11. The Prozac Queen

      Late to the party, but…
      No, it’s not ludicrous to think that a restaurant would go to the store rather than wait for an order-I’ve been sent to Walmart a number of times, as well as the steakhouse next door to borrow tea. The server may have thought you were suggesting that someone go to the store and get kale *just for you* I know you weren’t and he could have handled it differently, but we run to the store all the time.

      1. The Prozac Queen

        And just to clarify, even if a restaurant gets things from the store or borrows them, that’s something I’ve only seen done in a major pinch on something they use a lot of-I.e. lemons or tea. They’re not going to rush to the store for something the moment a customer mentions it for something “secondary”.

  3. RamZ

    I love all these BS answers. It’s not illegal to buy from a store. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Your question was legit. If it’s on the menu then they should have it. Either the petson who used the last of the kale should of notified the manager or the computer should of let the manager know they were out of kale. They could of checked with another restaurant or bought some at a store. Your server was rude.

      1. chacha1

        not to mention liability. sending an employee off the premises carries extra risk (yes even if it’s just across the street. there is one level of workplace liability when the employee is on premises, and another when they are off; and many liability policies won’t cover the business at all if an accident occurs while the employee is off the premises, even if they were sent off by management), many businesses don’t allow it at all, and most restaurants don’t have high enough margins to take that kind of risk.

    1. Jen Jen

      Dead food is an order that’s been sitting in the window too long, making it impossible to sell to a guest (but still perfectly good), food that’s been mistakenly rung in or rung in wrong, or food that’s been sent back to the kitchen by a guest for whatever reason. Restraurants can’t resell that food, so it often gets thrown out, or saved by the servers to shovel into their faces because it’s the middle of dinner rush and they’re starving.

  4. HM

    Dear Bitchy (or anyone else that would like to help) I had a question regarding customer parking issues. I wait tables at a restaurant in a busy outdoor mall, and there is a sepearate (small) lot for employees of the mall to park. If we park in the “front” (aka customer parking) we can get cited and the restaurant or store we work at will be fined. Now, I often see customers parking in the back (employee) lot, possibly because it is easier to get in and out of and less busy but it’s further away so I don’t really know what the hoopla is. But anyways, my question is, if I see a customer parking there should I say (nicely!!!) “hey, I just want you to know that this is employee only parking and it’s important that we have spots available because we could get fined for parking in the front lot!” Is it worth it? I just worry that they’ll get upset/butt hurt and end up being one of MY tables and stiff me!!! Any help is appreciated! Love your blog ❤️❤️


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