Restaurants are for Suckers

Restaurant Reviews | January 27, 2009

My fiance and I are both avid cooks. I cook a little more often, but that is only because I am a Prima Donna in the kitchen. I own 6 sets of tongs and makes a jus instead of gravy. Am I a prick? Just a little.

So I thought that I should work in restaurants. I love cooking, as I already stated, and somebody said that if you do something you like you'll never work a day in your life. However, I was unaware of the difference between cooking for yourself and cooking for some asshole you don't know.

Anyway, it sucked. I was fine with the cooking aspect. I could cook for hours, making dish after dish, feeling pride in my work and loving every minute of it. Then I started to 'call', or organize bills and try and get all the food to come up at the same time. It was really frustrating and not worth the whopping 9 dollars an hour I was getting.

At the height of my dissatisfaction, I got a call from a friend who told me that I should work at the restaurant where he worked. I would start as a busser, but, just like in any other business, there was room for rapid growth. I had gone from dishwashing to calling in 3 months, so I knew that I wouldn't be bussing for long.

After another six months, I am now bar tending. And I can confidently say that I know everything there is to know about the food service industry.

1. No one is there because they want to be.

Pretty much everyone working in a restaurant is there for a short period of time (or so they tell themselves). When I was in the kitchen, most of the staff were high school kids who wanted a summer job, something to get a few extra bucks. There was one kid who really wanted to be a chef, but he was a little asshole. Managers are usually stuck in the restaurant because they've been working in restaurants so long that they don't have anything else to offer. There's also a high number of children from wealthy families (and I mean children). The sad thing is they end serving their parent's friends or even their parents. It's kind of pathetic.

2. Restaurants are not clean.

You've seen open kitchens. I've worked in two. You know what I'd like to see? An open dish pit. I'm sure you've all heard restaurant horror stories. I've seen clean plates wiped with dirty rags, sanitizer bottles empty without anyone noticing for a few wash cycles, food being left out, cutlery covered in food then wiped clean, the list goes on and on. Don't kid yourself. No restaurant it clean. But hey, that's why we have immune systems.

3. Owners are dicks.

Either they never come in and sit on a beach somewhere sunbathing and drinking wine, or they come in all the time and yell at you because the espresso you made them (with their machine) didn't have enough crema on it. And they're so used to dealing with idiots that they can only talk to you as if you are one. I've even seen the owner of a restaurant get in an argument with a guest.

4. Class division.

The kitchen is the backbone of the restaurant. They make all the food, slave and sweat away in the hot kitchen and get little of the benefits. Front of house staff, especially servers, talk about food, wine and get all the money. Sometimes for no other reason than looking good in the uniform.

5. Restaurants are full of alcoholics.

Either guests or workers, alcohol is a big part of the 'industry'. This reason feeds into why so many people get stuck there. Hell, servers are told to encourage alcoholism because it gets them more tips and gives the owners more money.

6. Eat at home.

It's cheaper, the food is better (if you can cook that is, if you can't you're screwed), the wine is way cheaper and you don't have to deal with a room full of assholes. Or you do, and that's your life.


1. Samantha on February 2, 2009

Hi there Jonathon,

Your article is interesting, and would provide some valid points if you didn't sound like such a disgruntled employee.

It seems you have used this forum to simply air your grievances rather than providing any real value to the industry. I've worked in hospitality for years, I have worked in some dirty kitchens for sure, but I've also worked in some amazing ones, that are clean and produce top notch food. I would be interested to know of the actual establishments you've worked in.

On top of this, if you can't produce crema on your espresso, no matter what the machine, then there's something wrong with your technique, not the coffee machine.

From the tone of your blog and some of the descriptions, I would hazard a guess that you certainly haven't worked anywhere of note, and if you have, you were the bus boy. Why don't you go out there and improve yourself instead of sitting back and complaining about the rest of the world?

Any Comments?

About Jonathan Lee

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