10 Things Your Restaurant Won’t Tell You? Whatever.

No shit.
No shit.

A special shout out to ABC News for writing an article called “10 Things Your Restaurant Won’t Tell You” which could also be called “Ten Things We Pulled Out of Our Asses Since We Don’t Work in Restaurants.” It’s the same old tired shit that people write about the service industry and I feel it’s my duty to respond. They broke the points down into three different categories and I would like to dissect each of them:

The surprising:

The second-cheapest bottle of wine is marked up the most: This may or may not be true since I have never had the opportunity to set the prices on the menu. If it is true, I have to say it’s pretty fucking genius because I know lots of people order the second least expensive bottle of wine so they don’t look like cheap ass. Good job, restaurants.

Wait times are made up: Of course we make it up because how else are we supposed to know what time that bitch at Table 9 is going to finally take the last bite of her salmon that she’s been making love to for the last forty-five minutes? We tell customers it will be “about 15-20 minutes” because we are making a guess based on previous experience. We aren’t psychic  and that Magic 8 Ball has a crappy track record. “Oh, Magic 8 Ball, is that lady at Table 9 ever going to be finished?” “Ask Again Later.”

Restaurants re-use your half-drank bottle of wine: In my 75 years of restaurant experience, I have never seen this happen. So they’re saying if a customer is going to leave a half bottle of wine that we will serve it by the glass the next day? No way. Maybe I’m wrong, but that just does not happen. Then again at the places I work, I don’t have enough room in my reach-in for a half-empty box of wine. At least in New York State, customers are allowed to carry it out with them if the bottle is corked and in a bag but I’d be really surprised if any restaurant owner took that bottle back to the bar and started to sell it again. If anything, the server will drink it, but even that is unlikely unless your name is Bus Tub Connie and you’re cool with eating and drinking the leftovers of customers.

The not-so-surprising:

Your server is probably lying to you: True. Depending on what we’re talking about, we might be. I worked once for a fancy as fuck celebrity chef-owned place that was peppered with famous people. One night we had a white truffle pizza as an appetizer that was $125. Every customer asked how it was and I told every single one it was the most delicious piece of pizza I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. Do you really think the kitchen made a few extra $125 pizzas for the staff to try? Of course they didn’t, so yeah, I lied. I also lie every time a customer asks me how I’m doing and I say “I’m good.” Other lies I have said at work: “My pleasure,” “I love working here,” and “The coffee is fresh.”

And your server knows when you’re lying to him: True. If you tell me that you come in all the time and you know the owner, I’m not going to believe you unless I see you in the restaurant all the time and you know the owner’s name. And don’t tell me you’re allergic to gluten as you stuff that fifth roll down your throat.

Homemade can be more like half-made: True. Anyone who eats at a chain restaurant and believes that Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie was actually made by a grandma is an idiot. It came from Costco or Sysco and was thawed out by Miguel who then peeled it out of it’s aluminum tray and placed it lovingly on a plate that was garnished with a sprig of parsley to give it that “fresh from the garden” look. Fresh from the walk-in is more like it.

Your lemon water is kind of dirty: Duh.

The obvious:

Servers procrastinate, too: Basically, the article is saying that on slow nights we might not be as attentive to customers as the customers would like because we are doing other things like side work or eating dessert. I don’t know how that makes us procrastinators but I do know that plenty of us are putting off getting another job, going back to school or figuring out what we want to do with our lives. So, yeah, I guess maybe we are procrastinators.

That coffee you ordered for an energy boost post-dinner is probably decaf: It’s a fact of restaurant life that at the end of a shift you want to start getting ready to go home and dumping the regular coffee is right up there with blowing out the candles and hiding the silverware that you’re too lazy to roll. I would never give someone regular who wants decaf, but if it’s the other way around who the fuck cares? Decaf is magic. Like I was in college, it goes both ways.

The menu is designed to make you spend more: News flash here, but restaurants are in the business of making money. So just like marking up the second cheapest wine bottle, they are going to design that menu to make the most expensive things sound and look the best. I’m glad this is under the “obvious” category but they should have just made a fourth category called “No Shit, Sherlock.”

Thanks for the words of wisdom, ABC News. Your crackerjack staff has really upped the ante on this breaking news story. Your Edward R. Murrow award is in the mail and I have filed the paperwork for your Pulitzer. They should both be there shortly. In the meantime, please allow me to pour you some fresh coffee and I will go slice you a piece of Aunt Betty Sue’s famous chocolate cake. It’s homemade, you know!

 

I wait tables and bitch about it on my blog, The Bitchy Waiter.

13 thoughts on “10 Things Your Restaurant Won’t Tell You? Whatever.

  1. I don’t really get the “procrastinating” point. I pay more attention to my tables and give better service on slower nights. If I have 20 people in my section and that bitch keeps flagging me for a fifth refill for her water (the restroom is down the hallway, asshole, you should be peeing in your pants by now), that moron needs his check, fucking ladies have 5000 questions and my food is getting cold on the line while I have my hands full and this jerk is trying to give me his card – for all I care – stick it in between my asscheeks, for I ain’t got no more room anywhere else – what are you talking about here? fuck it, i pour decaff for everybody and don’t worry about making a new pot. a question about the menu item gets simple “its delicious” rather than descriptive passage on awesomeness of the dish, i ain’t got anything but stupid cheesecake for a dessert, no black pepper mill for anybody, no fancy fireworks from up in my ass, none of that shit. here’s your food, give me your money, get the fuck out, cause i’m turning this bitch 4 rounds and wanna do 5 cause i’m that fucking greedy.
    if its a slow night and i’m getting three tables all night – yes, i’m five feet deep in your ass kissing it any way i can. and my nose is brown like my manager’s eyes.

    matter fact, sometimes you make better money on slow nights too – people don’t mind throwing tips left and right cause they get all the attention. and i can still eat my pie in the back. its slow, get over it.

  2. Just to be fair, sometimes when I ask the server how something is, I mean, “Have other people who ordered it seemed to enjoy it?” Anyone who expects that the kitchen made a $125 truffle pizza just for the staff to try is ignorant and deserves to be lied to. I’ve been in nice(r) restaurants where I ask, “How is that?” and the server is honest: “The staff didn’t get to try that but other customers have really enjoyed it.”

  3. They also don’t tell you that servers touch the menu’s, tables and EVERYTHING else in the restaurant, and then use those hands, without washing, to make your salad. At least at every singe place I worked at. (Granted, I worked in lower class places, but still). If you are a germaphobe, you should never, NEVER go out to eat. Period. Menu’s get “wiped down” once a week, MAYBE. Tables get wiped down with the same rag that wiped down the previous 20 tables. I’ve known cooks who dropped a steak on the floor, picked it up, dropped it in the deep fryer for a couple of seconds and served it to customers.

    And I still eat at restaurants. Just not certain ones.

    Oh, and ALWAYS be nice to restaurant staff. They most likely won’t fuck with your food, but they are still humans and deserve respect

  4. How come people still brew coffee? Haven’t they heard about espresso-machines? Who would ever pay for a coffee that has been sitting on the counter for hours?!?

  5. So if I understand correctly, Restaurants and bars buy certain products at one price, mark them up and sell them to customers for a profit??? I’m confused! lol

  6. That last pot of coffee for the day has regular and decaf in it, just depends on which pot gets poured into which pot and that depends on what the customer asks for. I’ve never seen the resale on the wine but have seen a waiter drink the leftover stuff. I’ve even seen a waitress eat a piece of leftover steak off a complete strangers plate, eewwww

  7. I question the one about coffee, too–I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen in any of the restaurants I’ve worked in. If you’ve got decaf left to serve, you still have coffee you have to dump–it’s not a big deal to dump two pots instead of one. I can see it’s a (small) PITA to make a new pot if you’re out of regular, so yes, maybe sometimes, somewhere, people get decaf instead. But as a common thing? I don’t buy it.

    1. Yes, giving decaf instead of regular happens all the time. If there’s an empty pot of regular and a fresh pot of decaf you’re getting decaf. I usually dont have the time or patience to wait for a new pot to brew.

  8. Since first reading your article about lemons in pubs, bars and restaurants I have nEVER ordered any drink with lemon. So thanks for that. As for the rest well – it’s all either bloody obvious or downright bullshit – reselling left over wine? Really? On what planet?

  9. Why are these writers always so shocked that restaurants are trying to make money? Of COURSE things are marked up and designed to have you spend more…like any business? Its the same in every damn article. It really irks me – restaurants aren’t the bad guys. You’re just fucking cheap. Stop trying to split a bowl of french fries and an app between your 5 kids. Stop trying to take the leftovers home from the next table over. Stop asking for 15 packets of Splenda and pocketing the 14 you don’t use. You’re not being thrifty, you’re creating financial burden on the restaurants who then have to cover those costs in the menu prices. Come to Australia and see the prices. You won’t be shocked at the $4.00 spaghetti and butter for your little snots anymore.

    Yeah.
    *shuffles away and clears throat*

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