The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Getting Your Food Spit In

(Disclaimer: Spitting in food is a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE thing to do. I do not condone it, nor encourage it. This list is offered as a cautionary tale from a long time server.)

Number 10: Don’t order multiple drinks

Multiple drinks drive servers crazy. Some of the most annoying people I’ve ever waited on have asked me to bring them a water, a coke (for example), an alcoholic beverage, and a coffee or, god forbid, a HOT TEA. Four drinks, one person. I swear, its happens.

Allow me to explain why this is annoying to an efficient server. Efficient servers work very hard to make every footstep they take count. The reason some servers seem calm and comfortable and others seem out of control is a God given gift to visualize the most efficient way to accomplish the tasks before them. When someone orders multiple beverages that require trips to different parts of the restaurant, it slows efficient servers down. Servers typically deal with one drink per person. Multiple drink orders double or triple the time it takes for the server to prepare your beverages. Multiply this out over several tables and customers per night and, suddenly, an efficient server is playing catch up.

Asking a server to time beverages is even worse. About once a week a customer would ask me to bring a coffee with dinner or a glass of milk with dessert. About 50% of the time I would forget. Servers don’t think about bringing drinks after they have already brought you drinks. It’s not in the natural progression of serving a table.

In my experience, people ask for multiple drinks because, in the past, they have been waited on by slow, inefficient servers who never get around to refilling their drinks. I sympathize with this reality. Some servers are slow and ordering two drinks ensures you have enough of your tasty beverage for the entire meal. All I can tell you is that ordering multiple beverages is sometimes enough to push an imbalanced or stressed out server over the edge. I recommend against it.

Number 9: Order Food to Go

Number 9 of the “Top Ten Ways to Avoid Getting Your Food Spit In” is a cautionary tale. I will admit something about myself: I have a hard time eating food that I don’t see prepared. That is not to say that I don’t go out to eat or let other people cook for me. I have conformed to the societal system of restaurants, fast food, and, yes, “to go” orders. As a server in the Steakhouse, I knew, and trusted, all the cooks in the restaurant. They maintained acceptable levels of hygiene and most importantly, they didn’t spit in my food.

If you haven’t thought about the trust you, as a consumer, put in complete strangers when you go out to eat (and especially when you order food to go) maybe it’s time you start. Everyone has occasionally ordered food to go. In my case, it’s usually on my way home from work on a Friday night. I’ll stop at a local restaurant and order dinner to go. The food is usually wrapped in plastic containers with various condiments in styrofoam cups. Easy and convenient right?

Here are three facts about to go orders:

1) Often times, when you order something to go, you are dealing with a bartender or a host. Bartenders and hosts hate to go orders. They are time consuming and there is very little financial incentive to ensure accuracy and freshness. Many customers do not tip the server/host/bartender who packages the to go order. Those who do tip usually leave four or five percent. Servers, in general, have an unrealistic self worth. We always think we deserve twenty percent tips. However, four or five percent on a to go order barely makes it worth doing. To go orders often have complicated requests to boot. For example, one customer demanded I provide all eight salad dressings the restaurant carried for her salad in styrofoam ramekins. EIGHT. How could one person possibly use that much dressing? I can understand two different dressings, but eight? That boarders on anti-social behavior. This particularly customer left me a 23 cent tip. These types of requests were not uncommon.

Packaging even the simplest to go order can be difficult. Packaging liquid (and in some cases hot soup) may even expose you to legal liabilities as McDonald’s learned several years ago with hot coffee which was, surprisingly, hot. Ensuring the food looks presentable creates even more problems. One of the Steakhouse’s most popular dishes was an impressive two foot rack of barbeque ribs that cost around $20. It looked great… on a plate. To package this meal to go, it required breaking the ribs into thirds and portioning them into three large to go boxes. Not too pretty for $20. People have even asked me to package ice cream to go on more than one occasion. Americans are capitalists. We will work harder when we can potentionaly make more money due to our efforts. The financial incentives of to go orders brings me to my next point.

2) To go orders usually sit around for a long time. When a host or bartender takes a to go order (usually over the phone), they almost always over estimate how much time it will take to cook the meals and package them for carry out. The result? Your meal sits around waiting for you. This is done to make the server/bartender’s life easier. It ensures your food will be ready when you arrive at the restaurant to claim your order. Obviously, your food’s freshness is the victim.

3) To this point, if you were going to mistreat, or spit, in a customer’s food, wouldn’t you rather do it to someone who is not going to be closely examining their meal in the actual restaurant? Most people do not inspect their meal when they pick up their to go order. This usually does not occur until the food is back wherever the customer is going to eat it. 99.9% of to go orders are handled hygienically. My point is that if you were inclined to spit in someone’s food for some despicable reason, to go orders would be a likely candidate.

Number 8: Complicate the ordering process

I worked in a small corporate chain restaurant for seven years that specialized in steak, seafood, and a general family atmosphere. In those seven years I witnessed countless menu changes. To customers, these menu changes sometimes seemed random and were almost always unexpected. For example, about five years ago the corporation decided to remove the “chop steak” from their menu. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a chop steak, it is basically ground beef seared on a flat top grill and served with onions. So basically, it’s a hamburger without the bun. Personally, I would rather just have a hamburger. However, dozens of people everyday ordered the chop steak in my restaurant. This essentially made the chop steak our most popular “steak” Chop steak was listed with the other steaks the restaurant offered like filets, rib-eyes, prime rib, etc. It was the cheapest of the “steaks” we offered and this may have had something to do with its popularity.

One day, out of the blue, the chop steak was removed from the menu. For about a month, after several people, everyday, would look for their favorite Steak House “steak” only to be disappointed when they realized it was no longer offered on the menu. Similarly, a year or two later, the corporation decided it would no longer allow hamburgers to be ordered at a “rare” temperature. Again, several people everyday would be disappointed with this seemingly arbitrary decision.

The reason I lead with this observation is because corporate restaurants, even small chains, don’t change their menu arbitrarily at all. Menu decisions are actually taken very seriously. These decisions about the chop steak and the rare hamburgers were undoubted made after consulting the marketplace through research and test runs in test markets before the change was made chain wide. The menu is the menu for a reason. It might be purely profit driven. Changes to the menu might be simple cooking logistics. You can disagree with the logic of the decisions that are made, I know I often did, but they are made for a reason in the corporation’s mind.

Generally speaking, restaurants create a menu with specific items on it ensure their customers efficiently receive high quality meals. A restaurant menu is essentially a “contract” between store and customer. The restaurant can provide the items on the menu for a specific price. The customer can choose any of these items and expect them to be prepared efficiently and with care. Without this contract, restaurants would be slow, inefficient places. Imagine if you could walk into a restaurant and order anything you wanted? It would be complete chaos. Restaurants couldn’t prepare for the meal cycle. They would literally need to stock every type of food and ingredient. Obviously a menu ensures that restaurants can specialize in specific tasks and foods. It is a simple economic concept. To this point, complicating the ordering process through extreme special requests is contrary to the basic principle of business.

Asking for dressing on the side or no for mayonnaise on your hamburger is not a violation of this “contract” in my opinion. Those are simple and reasonable requests. Personally speaking, I rarely make any special requests on my food. I like specific types of food. I don’t go to restaurants that offer foods I don’t like or want to change. Most people are the same way. However, there is a select group of people in this world who want their food prepared exactly how they like it at all times. I blame Burger King and their “Your Way, Right Away” slogan. In my opinion, people who except their meal to be exactly how they want it to be are always going to be disappointed. Going out to eat is about trying new foods, finding new favorites, and enjoying the company of others. It is not about ordering a cook to prepare your food as you would prepare it at your home. If that is your idea of a dining experience, my advice would be to prepare your own food for yourself at your home.

For example, the restaurant I worked in prepared all seafood in a pineapple/soy marinade. It wasn’t my favorite but thousands of people over my seven years absolutely adored the combination. In my experience, about 90% of the people who tried it said they would try it again. About once a month a customer would ask if we could prepare seafood without the marinade, an impossible request. The server would inevitably explain that Salmon, Shrimp, and other seafood items marinade for hours and the restaurant does not prepare un-marinaded seafood. To compound the matter, seafood was shipped to the restaurant frozen. The cooks would literally need thirty to forty minutes to prepare an un-maridaded meal of seafood at a level of quality that fit our standards. I would consider this an extreme hardship on a kitchen designed for efficiently produced high quality meals.

These types of requests lead to stressed out servers, angry cooks, and exasperated managers. Three unwelcome factors if you are looking to avoid getting your food spit in.

Number 7 and 6:
Don’t be a jerk about your wait time
Don’t blame your server for your miserable day.

There are two things a restaurant can’t do anything about no matter how experienced the server might be, how well the food is prepared, or how efficient the kitchen is: control how many people walk in the restaurant’s door and stop your day from being miserable. We simply have no power in those realms. To this point, complaining about the wait or taking your miserable day out on your server are two sure fire ways to ensure your restaurant experience is below your expectations.

As the saying goes, “you will get more flies with honey rather than vinegar.” The same can be said in restaurants. Servers make more money (through tips) when they are pleasant, efficient, and generally understanding. On the other hand, customers will receive better service when they respond in kind. Human nature is to respond to feedback, whether that feedback is positive or negative.

Both positive and negative feedback garner significant reactions in the restaurant industry. Say, for example, you are a customer in a restaurant who isn’t receiving the service you would like. You are infinitely more likely to leave a smaller tip. On the other hand, a server is much more likely to be attentive to your needs when you treat them like human beings.

When I was a server I would work a lot harder for the friendly, pleasant tables I waited on. I am a capitalist. I believe in the motivating power of incentives. I knew, subconsciously, that friendly people are more likely to leave larger tips when compared to nasty curmudgeons. Tables that make me more money are going to get more of my attention. On the other hand, I might write off a nasty and confrontational table as a bad tip in progress. What is my incentive to bend over backwards for a table that’s not going to reward my efforts with a reasonable tip? In this scenario I chose to allocate more of my time to the friendly table.

Generally speaking, being a jerk to the people you encounter as a customer in a restaurant will ensure poor service and, possibly, spit in your food if you run into the wrong person. As I have mentioned previously, when a restaurant runs a wait to be seated, there is almost always a really good reason for it. You will, occasionally, run into a restaurant that is not being run efficiently and the wait is caused by human error. If you think you are in this type of situation, my advice is to find a different place to eat. A long wait for a table might be the least of your concerns by the time your meal is over. However, if a restaurant asks you to wait for a table, and it’s obviously a busy night, tough it out and enjoy the company of the people you will be eating with. When a restaurant runs a wait they are essentially telling you that, at that moment, there are more people who want tables then there are tables to give them, servers to serve them, and cooks to prepare their food. Constantly badgering the hosts and bartenders about the wait time will only accomplish one thing 100% of the time: it will identify you as an impatient and rude individual. I guarantee if the hosts had the power to seat everyone on the wait instantly they would. It is a lot more work for hosts to run a wait than it is to just bring customers to their tables. Identifying yourself as an impatient and rude individual is the last thing you want to do in a restaurant when you are implicitly trusting the staff to treat your food with respect. Show some respect to get some.

To this point, we all have miserable days. I remember, on one particularly shift in the restaurant, I was asked to clean up a little girl’s urine. In my opinion, cleaning up another person’s urine gives you the right to feel like you’re having a bad day. More about that in a future post. We all have ways of dealing with these pressures. Some of us rant to our loved ones. Some of us bottle it up inside. Some of us release these tensions by taking it out on everyone around them. If you know you are one of the latter, my advice is to avoid restaurants when you are feeling the need to decompress. It can only get you into trouble. Servers are far more sensitive than we should be. Many of us focus on perceived injustices that have been forced upon us, whether they exist or not. Treating your server to match your day is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you generally treat your server like your day has been you will, eventually, run into a waiter who will make your day even worse.

Number 5: Take care of your children.

I am a father of two young children but, long before I had babies, I knew a few things about parenting. Specifically, what not to do with young children in restaurants. How you might ask? Well, lets just say I learned from the mistakes of others.

As a long time server in a small chain Steak House I waited on, literally, thousands of families. Most of these families were friendly, polite, and generally pleasant to be around. Even crying babies or generally loud/excited children didn’t really faze me. Sure, a screaming baby isn’t fun to listen to, but that’s what small babies do best. They eat, poop, sleep, and cry. Hang around a baby long enough and you will see, smell, or hear something you don’t want to. The Steak House I worked in specialized in creating a family environment. The Steak House mailed thousands of free meal coupons on birthdays; many to young children. As I said, this never really bothered me. However, what did bother me was the horrible parenting I was forced to witness on a nightly basis at the Steak House. Some people, truly, should not be allowed to breed. Although I could write an entirely separate book on bad parenting courtesy of my customers, there are three things that really set me off.

1) Please do not ask your server to heat up your baby’s food/bottle/apple sauce/etc.

As a father of twins, I think I have some credibility on the topic of efficient parenting. Beyond the bare necessities of extra diapers and clothing, my wife and I do not go anywhere with our children without the proper rations. Cheerios, baby snack bars, powdered formula, bottle water (for the powdered formula), apple sauce, etc. We always plan for the worst possible baby scenario because, often times, it happens. Beyond planning for baby Armageddon, my wife and I do not go out to eat when a) the girls are scheduled to eat themselves, or b) need a nap. Hungry and sleepy babies are not happy babies. Unhappy babies do not belong in a restaurant. We put our baby’s needs first.

When a customer asks me to heat apple sauce, warm a bottle, or even make a bottle (yes, it’s happened) I have to wonder about the parent’s priorities and where they are focused. Before I had children, I had no idea how warm a bottle needed to be to serve a young baby. I certainly didn’t know how to mix powdered formula. That didn’t stop dozens of parents from asking me to warm/make bottles. As a father, the only person who’s touching my young child’s food is me, my wife, or my family. PERIOD. I will not trust a complete stranger with my baby’s meal or bottle. The chance for cross contamination is very real. Although I considered myself a very sanitary server, many who work in the restaurant industry are not. Catching e coli from a server who may have not washed their hands after they went to the bathroom might put me in the hospital. It will put my child in the morgue. This says nothing about allergies. As a server, I handled seafood, shellfish, and peanuts; all things young children should not be around. If you know you child needs a meal, focus your priorities when they belong: with your children. Don’t expect servers to bail you out because you didn’t plan accordingly. If they need a warm bottle or meal, make it yourself, at your home.

2) If a host or a server suggests where a stroller or high chair should be placed at your table, listen to them.

Restaurants are very busy places. Servers constantly feel the pressure of time and, as a result, they move quickly around the restaurant and kitchen area. Sometimes servers even drop things like plates, bowls, and silverware. I’ve dropped soup more times than I care to admit. Most restaurants have comfortable distances between tables and walkways are wide enough so that, even if a server drops some plates, no one gets hurt. However, if your child sits, either in a high chair or stroller, in the middle of a walkway you are putting them in terrible danger.

The odds of a server dropping an arm load of hot food on to your child is small. Those odds increase exponentially if you place your child’s stroller or high chair in a high traffic area. It only takes one mistake for the unthinkable to happen. Playing the odds with your child’s safety is dangerous and despicable. If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Dozens of times in my career I’ve seen huge, SUV sized strollers placed directly in the middle of a busy area of the restaurant. The child obviously is not capable of defending themselves from an arm full of dishes at that age. The responsibility falls directly on the parents to listen to the gentle suggestions people like me make when they see this potential hazard. Also, placing your stroller in the middle of a walkway ensures that traffic has to walk around you and your belonging. This says a lot about you, your sensibilities, and your general level of selfishness. Servers and hosts make these suggestions because they know how the restaurant flows. Often times I tried to encourage parents to place high chairs by walls or on the interior of tables. This ensures far less traffic will flow past the child and the odds of an accident decreases. Do your job as a parent and take the advice of the people who are trying to be helpful.

3) Don’t let your child roam the restaurant.

When your child is old enough to walk, and no longer needs high chairs and strollers to enjoy their meals, they are still susceptible to the same dangers I’ve listed above. In some cases, mobile children are dangers to themselves and the servers working the restaurant. As I said, servers move around the restaurant quickly. They have a financial motivation to do so. It is not O.K. to allow your child to entertain themselves by wandering the restaurant. I’ve seen children as young as two and three on their own exploring in the Steak House. Kids this age have a several things going against them. They are small, come up to a server’s knee, and don’t understand the dangers of getting run over by a quick moving adult with an arm load of hot soup who didn’t see them. Parents need to intervene in these situations before the unthinkable occurs.

Taken together, these three points paint a dismal picture of restaurant parenting. If you run into the right server on the wrong day, watching your terrible parenting might be enough to get your food spit in.

Number 4: Don’t ask for the birthday treatment.

When it comes to birthdays, you can pretty much divide people into one of two categories.

Category One: People who fall into this category enjoy the extra attention they are receiving. It’s nice to have a day just to celebrate you once in a while.

Category Two: People who belong to this group loathe the constant pressure of time passing. Another year older is another year closer to the grave.

Depending on which of these two categories you fall into, you either love or hate your birthday.

Birthdays in a restaurant are a different animal. Most servers feel the same way about birthdays: they hate them… ALL. They may not hate their own birthdays, but I guarantee they hate yours. What do servers have against birthdays and yours specifically? It’s really not anything personal against you, your mother, or the particular day you were born. It has much more to do with the wacky and time consuming chores servers must do in virtually all restaurants when they are informed there is a birthday in their section.

Once upon a time, restaurants began the practice of providing complementary desserts to patrons on their birthdays. This is a good idea in my opinion. It establishes a fun and friendly environment. However, that is not where the birthday celebrations ended. The competition for your disposable income in the restaurant industry is fierce and simply bringing a free dessert morphed to include the dessert, candles, clapping, group singing, and in my restaurant’s case, holding a large stuffed animal puppet that birthday boys and girls had to kiss for good luck.

There are several reasons why many servers really dislike customer birthdays. The first has to do with sheer number of phony birthdays restaurant provide for. My restaurant, along with many others, does not ask for identification when people claim it is their birthday. We accept people at their word and provide the whole insane birthday ritual of cake, singing, clapping, etc. Our good nature is taken advantage of by people who love free stuff. I estimate that one out of every three “birthdays” is a phony. People love free stuff and the desserts at the restaurant I worked at were really good. I remember one particular family of six that would visit the restaurant about once a month. This particular family would claim a birth in their family each visit. It doesn’t take a genius to determine that this particular family was taking advantage of us but this was a relatively common behavior among many of our patrons.

Also, many servers hate the simple logistics behind the birthday ritual. The customer sees several happy, singing, clapping servers wishing their patrons a happy birthday. The reality is that the server had to beg all of those birthday well wishers to leave their tables and other responsibilities behind for three or four minutes while the server prepares the cake, lights the candles, and walks out to the table. This time away tends to put servers behind on their other responsibilities which can hurt the efficiency and service in the restaurant on a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Ultimately, the financial incentive for the birthday ritual never justifies the difficulty it creates. Often times, people who request the birthday ritual and the complementary dessert that usually comes with it, do not reward their server with an above average tip. Servers, like any good capitalist, respond to incentives. The birthday ritual goes beyond normal expectations for service and the patron is receiving a free dessert in most cases. The financial incentive does not match the extra work.

When taken together, these three factors leave a sour taste in many servers mouth. Often servers are providing the birthday ritual to a table that doesn’t actually have a birthday and will not reward the server financially for the extra work that goes into organizing said ritual. Moreover, the extra work that goes into the birthday service can put a server behind on other responsibilities further affecting the server’s bottom line. It is a noxious and frustrating situation for many servers.

Number 3: Order LOTS of desserts.

Although I personally have nothing against desserts, many of my server friends do. I have a gigantic sweet tooth and order desserts at every opportunity when my wife and I go out to eat. I do this, however, fully aware of the risks I take. Risks, I will now pass on to you.

From a server’s perspective, desserts can be a logistical nightmare. There are several reasons for this. First of all, many desserts you order in your average chain restaurant are complicated to prepare and have a very short sell period. Most desserts are made of ice cream or are topped with whipped cream, both of which melt quickly at room temperature. This makes dessert a time sensitive item and must be delivered to the table that ordered it immediately after it is prepared. Desserts are the abused step children of the kitchen. Cooks don’t like to prepare them because they require several time consuming steps in the preparation process. As a result, they are almost always moved to the back of the line when they are ordered. Cooks, like many of us, tend to procrastinate with tasks they hate to do.

To complicate matters, who exactly was responsible for the preparation and presentation of desserts changed from year to year in my restaurant. For several years, the cooks handled all aspects of the preparation process including toppings like whipped cream and hot fudge. Eventually corporate decided that it made more sense for the servers to prepare the desserts because it would ensure a “great looking product”. It wasn’t that the cooks didn’t do a good job preparing the desserts. The problem was with the servers. Most of the time the cooks prepared the desserts in a timely manner. The reality of food preparation is that many items can sit under a heat lamp for a few minutes and still look appetizing. If you have ever been served an extremely hot plate or bowl, there is an excellent chance it sat under a heat lamp until the server had a moment to bring it to your table. Servers, especially if they are busy, tend to take this for granted. Chicken Wings, for example, are a pretty flexible dish. Ice Cream based desserts, however, are not as forgiving. They must be served within minutes (if not seconds) of their preparation by the cooks. A busy server might let a dessert sit for four or five minutes while they catch up on their other orders. This effectively ruins the dessert and ensures it looks nothing “like the picture” on the menu.

When the responsibility for dessert preparation fell to the servers in my restaurant, the desserts definitely looked better because they were prepared when we had time to make them. Unfortunately, we learned why cooks complained bitterly when certain desserts were ordered. Many of our desserts had a four or five step process to finish their presentation including fudge, whipped cream, shaved chocolate, etc. While the desserts looked better, they look much longer to get to the table because the restaurant’s busy servers were given another responsibility to manage. As you can imagine, some servers handled the stress better than others.

It is these stressed out servers that you, the consumer, generally need to be wary of. These are the people who hate desserts because it slows them down. They hate making them and they hate you for ordering them. Sometimes, the added responsibility of creating your dessert is enough to send these servers them over the edge. As I mentioned, I love dessert and will continue to order them but I also understand that, right or wrong, some servers will hate the extra work I am making them do.

Number 2:
Ask for separate checks.

I understand why many people ask for separate checks when eating out in large parties. Separate checks are very useful when lots of people, who don’t know each other very well, go out to a meal. This practice is common among business crowds and large parties over eight or nine people. In my circle of friends I am one of the few who does not drink alcohol when I go out to a restaurant for a meal. Splitting checks makes it easy to see exactly what each person ordered and what each person owes. Separating each person’s order into separate bills makes payment easier on the guest. However, few things are more inconvenient for a server than separating a large party out into individual checks. Separate checks can instantly put a server behind due to the time consuming nature of remembering who ordered what, on what check it needs to be transfer to, and processing several forms of payment. It is time consuming, stressful, and nine times out of ten I screwed it up.

I don’t blame myself honestly.

First of all, the computer software that many chain restaurants use to order food into the kitchen is antiquated and not user friendly in any way. The software is designed to be stable and bulletproof, not flashy or simple to use. Restaurant software is designed to transmit messages (orders) from the front of the house to the kitchen and, for the most part, it does that well. However, every system I’ve used leaves a lot to be desired when a server is asked to perform a complicated task like splitting a check.

Secondly, most customers do not think to inform the server that they will require separate checks at the start of the meal. This simple act saves an incredible amount of time later in the meal. If a server is aware of the customer’s needs, s/he can take your order in such a way as to ensure the bill is organized correctly.

Thirdly, many customers are impatient and insensitive to the amount of time it takes a server to process payment for several checks. In most corporate chain restaurants, servers have between three and five tables open at once. Lets assume your server is doing nothing but processing your payment. On average, it takes about one to two minutes to process a credit card payment or make change. Not bad right? Multiply that out by several more checks and you can see how it slows the entire payment process down. This says nothing for the fact that servers often will have three or four other tables that also need their attention at any given moment. A party of ten with separate checks will often wait between 8 to 12 minutes for their change or receipts. This may sound extreme, but it is not uncommon given the logistics of making change or processing credit cards on eight to ten checks at once.

Allow me to reiterate, I understand why people split checks. However, the entire point of this article is to document how to avoid getting your food spit in. So, how do you avoid totally stressing your server out if you need separate checks? Inform your server at the beginning of the meal that you need separate checks and allow the server to take your order in whatever fashion ensures s/he will keep the orders organized. It will save time at the end of the meal. Also, be understanding when it comes time to pay the bill. Honestly, what is more valuable: a few moments of your time or the piece of mind that comes with knowing your food was not spit in.

Number 1: Send your food back to the kitchen.

Simply put, if you have ever sent a meal back to the kitchen to be reheated, refired, or replaced there is a excellent chance you have had your food mistreated. The chance exists that servers, cooks, or both took liberties with the sanitary conditions they exposed your food too. That may be jarring to some of you, but it is the truth.

Sending your food back to the kitchen basically announces to the staff that you are, in their minds, an unreasonable individual. Why? Because you are making their life more difficult. Your complaint may be perfectly reasonable. In my seven years at the Steakhouse, most of the food sent back to the kitchen deserved to be. Cooks make mistakes from time to time and it doesn’t help matters that they may hold the most stressful position in the restaurant. It is easy to overlook the importance of having a qualified kitchen staff in a restaurant. They are, after all, the people who prepare all the food. Cooks are painfully aware that if they make a mistake, they ruin someone meal. On top of that, they are typically preparing dozens of meals at any given time on a busy night.

When a customer sends food back to the kitchen, many cooks view it as a referendum on their abilities and take it very personally. They misdirect their anger at the customer and the symbol of their mistake: the food in question. Cooks can’t yell at the customer so they take out their passive aggressive anger on your food.

Without a doubt, sending food back is the easiest and surest way to have your food spit. My only advice is to avoid this practice at all costs. I recognize this is not rational and unfair to the customer. Customers deserve to have a properly prepared and sanitary meal. They are, after all, paying for it. If food is not prepared to your preference, you deserve to have it replaced. However, the only way to ensure your food is not mishandled in this scenario is to completely avoiding sending food back to the kitchen and finding a new restaurant to patronize.


tomhanks said...

i think my dad spits in my food

Anonymous said...

10. I like a before dinner drink, a dinner drink, an after dinner coffee.
9. I don't think I want ribs that require "breaking". They should be tender and falling off the bone.
8. I don't like onions and I will always asked they not be in/on my food. I'm sorry, but I'm paying $40 for a steak, I don't want onions on it.
7-6. So much for going out to dinner to make a crappy day a little less crappy. Yep, I wouldn't tip you either.
If I have to wait an exceptional amount of time to have my meal delivered COLD. Yes, I am going to complain. Are you saying I should shut up and accept a meal I am paying for that is sub-standard?
5. I agree, keep your children in check. I also feel the establishment can approach the slacker parents before I get out of my chair and drag their kid back to their table.
4. I just took my husband out to dinner for his birthday. At $200 bucks and advance notice to the establishment - I expect what we got. A lovely dinner, special little gift cards commemorating the occasion and dessert.
3. Suck it up, we too like dessert.
2. Yep, pain in the ass, but I'm not going to pay extra for the cheapscate at the other end of the table.
1. Yes, I WILL send back a raw hunk of meat I am paying $40 for. And it will be cooked to my liking.
After all, isn't this why we go out to eat? To let someone else take care of the serving, the presentation, the clean-up.
You are bitter... get over it. It's your job to serve others.

Anonymous said...

If I'm paying for something, then I expect to get what I'm paying for.
From reading this blog I went from agreeing with you to just plain out thinking that your an asshole who had a bad day.
Part of your job as a server is to be able to handle the pressure, just as everyone else working there.
If I ever found out that my food was spit in or had shit done to it, losing your job would be the last thing you worry about.
I think you said that you never spit in someones food but if you know someone who did then you should have reported that. No one deserves to have food spited in that their paying for.
Learn to do your job.

HowToGetYourFoodSpitIn said...

I'll learn how to do my job when you leave your name.

Anonymous said...

that last two comments came from people who never waited tables obviously. i myself waited tables for quite sometime... I NEVER SPIT IN FOOD OR DID ANYTHING ELSE BUT SERVE IT HOW IT CAME. so i do not agree with people doing that, nor have i ever seen it done in the places i have worked...

when someone is a "waiter" or "server" they are not slaves. we're not there to baby sit your poor manered children, nor are they there to kiss your ass. people leave the tip they want because of how they personally feel that day. trust me you can get a shity ass tip from someone who you were extremely nice, and friendly to.

i don't agree with EVERYTHING in this article... however, its not very much fun when you have 50 people to serve, and one person starts barking orders at you like their steak wasn't cook right by YOU. excuse me, but when was the last time your server was also the cook? yeah, i can't think of many times either.

you may say he is bitter or whatever, but i believe this was humerouse, and also that you two take it upon yourselves far too much to decide how other people should be acting and should be treating others- when it is you who make lives for HARDWORKING people living hell nightly. Good job. where do you work????? i'm guess not at a resturaunt. you'd never think of cleaning up others messes would you??? pity.

-respect wanted.

Anonymous said...

oh-- if your steak comes out raw perhaps you should be ordering yours WELL DONE. thats why they ask.

G.H. said...

you have it right on!
obviously this is only something that a fellow slave to the restaurant world could understand...

and to Anonymous...he never said that HE spits, he simply stated that people do...ohhh and let me tell you, they actually do. If you send back you raw steak, but you are kind and undertanding i think your in the clear..but it you demand a new one and are a complete bitch, expect the worst.

Confessions of a Waitress said...

I have never spit in food. Dropped anything on the floor and then served it to a guest, I have however tripped on a child. In a very busy crowded restaurant there was a three year old wandering around her table like she was playing duck, duck goose. I had hands full of dirty dishes was moderately aware of her but like I said. Busy. I handed off half of the dishes that were on the table turned around and tripped over little miss sitting on the floor with her legs out. Not a big deal normally except the part where I fell, hit my head on the edge of the table (glass top there was blood). and had the breath knocked out of me. It was not then or has ever been a funny story. The kid by the way was fine. The mother from what I heard later on was annoyed and critisized me for not paying proper attention. My manager at the time told her that her kid wasn't welcome to use our dining room as a play center.

Todd said...

anonymous march 5 2009, i would spit in your food in a heart beat.

as a server we pretty much take a horrible hourly wage and are expected to make up to minimum wage in tips.

if we dont then we get in trouble with our bosses.

in general your server has the worst job imaginable and has to put up with the worst in humanity.

I've served at a mazzios pizzeria for over a year and a half. every sunday i have had to deal with the church rush from across the street. considering these people have just left church they have forgotten everything they were preached at that day.

also you lazy inconsiderate customers learn to tip!

i think the number 11 reason is dont come in 10 minutes to closing and expect a happy server.

Anonymous said...

I'm a server in school... while iagree that u deserve what u pay for I also had a table order a well done delmonico steak and send it back bc it was too fatty its not always. Fair too hold the server accountable for random guests not knowing what the hell the ordering... duh a delmoico cut steak is the most marbalized u can. Get.....

Anonymous said...

Haha... speaking of Sunday church groups can any server say they haven't had a terrible expereince w gypseys??? They there horriblily behaved children threw wood off he fire place and peed all over the bathrooms and one of the dads of one of these families preceded to call the president of the company a cunt to his face... then tried to sue us for refering to them as you people.... could u get more trashy???

Anonymous said...

FUCK people who mess with my food! I hope they get paid back times 10!

Anonymous said...

Calm down!
10-that is fine if you want three different drinks just have some understanding if your drink doesn't come out exactly when you want it to and if your server forgets just remind them kindly.
9- you took that rib comment very literally lol
8- Maybe you didn't read this one right he said that little things such as mayo, or dressing on the side is not a problem... i think that includes onions!!
7-6- Once again read what he is saying. Just be polite you and your food will be treated the same way you treat the server.
5- Some establishments have strict policies on what can and cannot be said to customers.
4- good for you. go to that restaurant and stay out of ours unless you are going to be considerate.
3- We will "suck it up" when the guests stop complaining about the time it takes for deserts and melted ice cream.
2- Once again as he said, it is not a pain as long as you let your server know before hand.
1- Your food should be cooked to your liking if it is a reasonable request such as how meat is done just remember when sending back food your food will be treated the way you treat your server!

Part of our job is to handle the pressure, part of your job is to be a decent human being. If you are kind to your server 99% of the time your server will be kind to you and your food!

Anonymous said...

March 19, 2010 I completely agree with #1: Your food will be treated as you've treated your server. I don't mind doing little stuff for customers, like fixing food to their liking, getting extra stuff, etc. (after all it is my job) if they are nice about it. If someone comes in, orders me around, treats me like shit, then leaves absolutely nothing for my time and effort to please them, then I will be less likely to put forth any effort whatesoever to do a good job. People who ask nicely and treat me with respect are the customers I like. Half the time I don't even mind it when they leave me a shitty ass tip--so long as they were congenial. People need to understand that even though it's our job to serve, and it's not an extremely hard job, we still make mistakes because (gasp!) we're humans! If we do something wrong, just say "Hey I'm sorry but I asked for no mayo on my sandwich" and we will reply "I apologize sir/ma'am let me go back and fix it right away" and the problem will be resolved like nothing ever happened. I only make $2.13 and hour, and so I rely on my excellent service skills for equally excellent tips. But when an asshole starts bitching because everything isn't his way and he hasn't told me his problem, then I can't help you. Just know this: ignorant ass people/arrogent ass people: be on your best behavior when you are waited on. Be congenial.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with anonymous. Everyone has a job and they have to do it right. If you're a waiter, know that it's a hard job before taking it and stop complaining about how it's the hardest job in the world. Just because you have a bad attitude you don't have to bring other people down. No matter how rude the customer is you should know how dangerous it is to mess with other peoples food. Have you guys heard of karma at least? It's sick, everyone works hard everyday...but you guys seem to complain the most. And not just complain...but actually harm people. Have a good time attempting to sleep at night...and karma will come back to haunt you if you keep messing around like that. Either do the job right or quit.

Anonymous said...

oh and i was the same anonymous as last time (the karma post)- i would also like to thank all the waiters who do do their job right. who work hard everyday and still adhere to a moral system. I know how hard you guys work, and I'll always admire you guys for it, because you guys don't bring other people down just because you are having a bad day.

TunaSandwich said...

If you think spitting is okay under any circumstances, you're a low class person.

Nothing wrong with ordering multiple items. Nothing wrong with sending food back that's crap.

If your some sort of freak with all these hangups, try another job.

Perhaps then you'll be able afford to eat out yourself an not take out your misery on customers.

Anonymous said...

every thing i get from someone i dont know i belive is contaminated.

gifts from neighbors anyone erspecially at mcdonalds

PhatBastid said...

Ur a fag for posting this, I've worked in kitchens for 2 years and i have never fucked with anybody's food, ur a whiney child that cant just do his job like a man, and provide good service, children could have eaten that food....ur a fuckin emotional dick that can't be professional...

Anonymous said...

1st, Its 15% tip for tips, not 20% if the server is doing a good job, ill leave her or him a 15% tip, why has the expectation gone up? I'm not any richer than i was 10 years ago so why the sudden change, however if the server goes ABOVE and beyond what a normal server does, i will tip over 15% because they would deserve it, in other words, wow me and ill pay, but guess what, if you offer general, "hokey" typical restaurant service, you don't deserve more than 15%. And hey guess what, if i want my fucking bill split, its not that difficult, people do it all the time, and the day i find spit in my food is the day i will fucking sue the shit out of that restaurant.... get a grip on reality, i hate my job sometimes too, but i still do the best job to please our customers (different industry but same concept applies, i can't exactly spit in your engine, but i can cut your brakes :P )

Anonymous said...

I suppose trashy behavior is a two way street..

Considering the place of business that you work at serves food to the public and you're job description is cook/waiter/waitress/server, which you rightfully get paid to do. If someone felt compelled to spit in someones food due to typical annoyance, is a notch below being a responsible adult to that of which requires the assistance of a babysitter..

Sabotaging a customers food has an equal amount of repercussion of it's own. A few years ago there was a guy who was psychically attacked after his shift ended to the point of being left with expensive dental bills after it had been determined by an observing customer his food had been purposely handled in a disgusting manor.

Something to think about before choosing to lower ones standards.

Vicki said...

Wtf @ this article... This is literally saying don't do anything that would cause the server/waiter to do anything at all. Don't split the bill ? Dont order more than one drink ? These are all normal parts of the job. Roommate does it everyday n she loves it, y are u two so different? R u just plain lazy? If u can't handle these simple tasks, DUH - FIND ANOTHER JOB that "pays minimum wage" that u can handle , be an adult n quit whining ! U don't HAVE to deal with asshole customers, just do something else .

Anonymous said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

So what ever happened to customer service? We all now have to fear the waiters and cooks? When did this become all "about me and my problems" instead of doing what the customer wants. You know why, we all believe we have a higher importance. We all think of ourselves first.

Alex said...

Hi my name is Alex and you seem like a dick server. Get a career change if you dont like doing the very basics of your job.

Anonymous said...

Hey my name is Dominic, and all I have to say is... Wow. This is a great read. Just saying.I would have this put in magazines and news articles. This is amazing and incredibly entertaining.

cha Vezz said...

Lol you can tell the difference between servers and customers on this blog. Just to let the general public know YOUR FOODS NOT BEING SPIT IN. Its an urban myth. Now I know once in a blue moon at places like Mcdonalds it actually happens. However, restaurants with servers, bussers, hostesses, chefs, cooks, and multiple managers walking around.....nope not happening. The guys blog was satirical, we as servers and cooks all know no one is messing with your food. This was meant as a joke for all of us in the restaurant industry. Ive been working as server/server trainer/ bartender/ bartending trainer for over ten years. NEVER SEEN ANYTHING HAPPEN TO ANYONES FOOD. All servers come across dicks. We all get stressed by kids, splitting checks, customers cursing us, customers being racial to us, customers sexually harrassing us. All this goes on on a daily basis. BTW most tables tip. Most tables are nice. Most tables are curtious. Most tables are actually fun. That doesnt change the fact that people like the ones the blogger is describing ruin not only a servers night for a short time, but actually every other person that server is responsable for.
One last thing to the people who wanna cuss this guy out. I cant tell you how many times in my ten plus years in restaurants Ive had family members and friends apologize for members in their party. Ive even had strangers apologize to me for other tables, simply witnessing some of the ways people act....its not just servers for notice your rude behavior.....its everyone!

Springs1 said...

"Going out to eat is about trying new foods, finding new favorites, and enjoying the company of others. It is not about ordering a cook to prepare your food as you would prepare it at your home. If that is your idea of a dining experience, my advice would be to prepare your own food for yourself at your home."

I 100% FULLY DISAGREE with you on this!

Going out to eat is to spend the customer's money(tip money as well as the money for the food) the way ******************THEY WANT TO SPEND IT FOR THEIR MONEY THEY MADE**********!

WHO are you to tell us how *WE* want to spend our hard earned money?

It's our money, we spend it how we please. You are just too lazy to want to do more *WORK* for your tip, that's all.

Yes, we can have it our way, because we are paying for the service to have it our way.

We aren't ordering the cook around, *YOU* are as my server.

I don't go to a restaurant in most cases to try new things, because when I do, I am 95% of the time disappointed I didn't get my regular item or items that I usually get.

Who are you to tell us how to spend our money.

"Number 10: Don’t order multiple drinks"

We can order how we please, because it's OUR MONEY you want, you are at OUR MERCY if you want it LAZY ASS!

Seriously, you are lazy!

"When someone orders multiple beverages that require trips to different parts of the restaurant,"

Servers should already be making separate trips for soft drinks or teat or water or lemonade that if the bar drink or drink aren't done by the time you have fixed those other drinks, you should be bringing those out first.

"Order Food to Go"

To-go orders are what a McDonald's cashier does for no tip. Now I have ordered a to-go order after I dined in at my table, then tipped as if I ate it there since they brought it to my table as if I ate it there.

"Separate checks can instantly put a server behind due to the time consuming nature of remembering who ordered what, on what check it needs to be transfer to, and processing several forms of payment."

If you *WRITE A LIST DOWN*, you won't *HAVE TO "REMEMBER" ANYTHING except for WHERE you wrote it.

I am so tired of servers saying "remember", but are too lazy ass to write things down. Stop saying remember, because you don't have to remember if you write it down, DUHH!

"how well the food is prepared, or how efficient the kitchen is: control how many people walk in the restaurant’s door and stop your day from being miserable. We simply have no power in those realms."

How well the food is prepared CAN be in the power of the server:

1. Putting in the order wrong into the computer.

2. Bringing out obviously wrong food.

3. Forgetting food.

Springs1 said...

"if we do something wrong, just say "Hey I'm sorry but I asked for no mayo on my sandwich" and we will reply "I apologize sir/ma'am let me go back and fix it right away" and the problem will be resolved like nothing ever happened."

I sure as hell not going to apologize for *YOUR* mistake, NO WAY JOSE!

I am nice about it tell you NICELY "I ordered 2 sides of mayonnaise." Your response should be "I'm sorry about that, let me go get them." Then when you bring it back, you should say you are sorry, then I tell you "thank you."


Springs1 said...

"one person starts barking orders at you like their steak wasn't cook right by YOU. excuse me, but when was the last time your server was also the cook?"

Servers put in orders wrong all the time. Heck, I worked at a donut shop/binder back in 1998-2002 off and on a little over 2yrs worth. I remember putting in orders wrong myself. Like once this lady did order 2 kastle burgers with no ketchup, I put in her order wrong. So the cook isn't always to blame for a wrongly cooked steak. It also has happened to me and my husband A LOT of times before where servers admitting putting in orders wrong or it was wrong on our check.

Springs1 said...

"Sending your food back to the kitchen basically announces to the staff that you are, in their minds, an unreasonable individual. Why? Because you are making their life more difficult."

NO, I am not going to get tapeworms or get really sick for the cooks not wanting to cook my food more or to have my server not work harder.

It's also not unreasonable to send food back if it's not cooked right.

"Cooks make mistakes from time to time and it doesn’t help matters that they may hold the most stressful position in the restaurant."

Not all things sent back are cook mistakes. In fact, most of them are NOT cook mistakes, but server mistakes like serving me the wrong side item, bringing me bacon that isn't covered up not as ordered(extra crispy, but on the plate you can clearly see WITHOUT touching the bacon it's not crispy).

It's your mistake if you bring me something you can see is wrong without touching the food if you took my order.

In other words, not all the mistakes are kitchen staff related, in fact most of the mistakes are server errors.

Springs1 said...

") Please do not ask your server to heat up your baby’s food/bottle/apple sauce/etc."

I will agree with this one because it's a HEALTH CODE VIOLATION! You can't bring outside food into a microwave bringing it into the kitchen.

Also, that's not the server's job to serve outside food, ONLY restaurant food. If you want your server to serve you food that isn't from the restaurant they work at, you might want to consider hiring a butler. That's INSANE to make a server serve you things that aren't even served at the restaurant.

It truly is a health code violation though. Not COOL to put a babies bottle with germs from this baby that has a cold in the kitchen area. That's GROSS and VERY DISGUSTING!

That's one thing if I were a server, I'd have to tell them that I couldn't. I would apologize simply for I'd want them to not stiff me over it, but I couldn't do that due to health reasons.

This isn't a personal chef. Outside food or drinks should not be asked to be warmed up.

Anonymous said...

They don't call it a job for no reason. Every job has its faults and its benefits. It's okay to rant about legitimate situations, such as a rude and demanding customer,but most of these were just you complaining about things you have to deal with at your job. Quit bitching and get over it, or quit.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog!! My thoughts exactly on the Burger King slogan, it has created a generation full of spoiled brats. Thank you for posting something so informative for those not-so-intelligent customers in this world (most of whom are so pathetically high and mighty that they won't read it anyway, or will get their panties in a wad if they do). I work in a coffee shop, and a lot of our customers are great. However, we definitely see our fair share of morons. It takes a pure idiot to not show the person serving them any manners or appreciation for serving their sorry ass. Anyone that is rude to myself or fellow baristas will get decaf, burnt milk, or some other creatively gross concoction.

Bottom line: EVERYONE who is rude and inconsiderate to the person serving them deserves to have their food messed with!!!

Anonymous said...

I think your blog was great. I've personally only worked as a hostess for about a month many years ago, but customers can see issues too.

Do people realize how little wait staff makes- do they know wait staff has to make a lot in tips just to be making minimum wage?

As a customer, I've seen wait staff treated horribly. If you are a customer, accept the fact that you are not royalty. (That is meant especially for the first anonymous post.) I think you (anonymous poster) should work as wait staff at a very busy place and get a little experience- might change your tune!

I don't understand how people can walk in a restaurant and magically lose their common decency and good manners. Treat your wait staff as you would like to be treated. If you can't do this, stay at home, cook your own damn dinner and send it back your own damn kitchen when it doesn't turn out how you hoped! Don't forget to leave yourself a tip.

Water Baby said...

As a reasonable human being, these tips are common sense. If I know that I want the bill split, I let my server know when we are orddering. Most experienced servers (especially with smaller tables) don't bother writing the order down because they can remember the orders. Even when a server writes it down, they usualy throw it out as they send it to the kitchen. Some of the people commenting on this post are very rude and seem to have little to no concept of the requirements of being a server. Being a mechanic is nothing like serving strange people food. People who bring small childern to restaurants should be able to control them. The vast majority of servers and cooks won't spit in your food or server food that has falen on the ground. Unless you do all of these things. If you send back food that was incorrect and are polite about it without letting your child run rampant or being a general pain in the ass, the server will politely fix the order. The thing about being a customer in a restaurant is that yes, sometimes the mistake is the server's fault, but sometimes it is the cook's fault. Other times, someone else is running the food and they make the mistake. I was only a server for about 5 months and absolutely hated it. I think that everyone should be made to wait tables at some point in their lives, it teaches you to be gratefull when you have a wonderful server and a little understanding when your service isn't exactly what you wish it would be. Tip your waiters. Tip the bartender. Tip when you order to-go. If I have exceptionally crappy service I will ofer a tip, monetary and verbal. I will most likely write a note to the server as to why I only left 10%. I will be specific. I make sure that the reasons I am not tipping the server 15-20% are realistic expectations of someone working for tips. If my glass is empty and you are rude and I have to wave you down while you talk to other servers, leaning against the host podium, flirting with the hosts, I probably will not tip what I would to someone who is attentive and is obviously trying their damndest to make my meal go smoothly.

Anonymous said...

These things are your job... A person doesn't deserve to have their food spit in because they ordered dessert.. Or multiple drinks... I am not someone who complains about my food because I too don't want it spit in.. But the reality is some of these things are just your job. It sucks that people take advantage of the birthday thing.. But again singing clapping doing whatever is YOUR JOB. If you don't like it you aren't entitled to spit in someone's food.. You should just find a different job. The fact that you are defending servers who spit in peoples food for ordering stuff to go, ordering dessert, or wanting happy birthday sung to them on their birthday disgusts me. If you don't like it maybe you should set your aspirations a little higher.

And to the other people on here saying "oh you have never been a server you don't get it!" You too should be ashamed of yourself. I DO understand some people are dicks about their food.. But the position of server is a customer service one- customers are sometimes dicks- doesn't mean you are entitled to treat them poorly. If you don't like this.. Find a new job.. And people who spit in other peoples good should be reported even by "well-meaning" folks like yourself.


Anonymous said...

This article was written so that people who treat servers poorly can be made aware of what can happen if they treat servers poorly. People that are soooo demanding and picky about their food treat the servers the worst and tip the worst. Don't be that person. Learn how to tip, people! Recently I had a customer call in a to go order for four orders. Each order was so different from the menu and so specific, adding items that I had to charge for and taking away items I could substitute for but she kept insisting on ordering really quickly (like it wasn't a big deal for her why was I having a problem). She got offended that I read it back to her several times, and said "you are making me nervous, please don't get this wrong, my kids are so picky and pack everything individually, they won't eat the food if their food is touching anyone elses." I tried to explain to her that I was reading back to make sure to get the orders correctly because she was going so far off the menu she said well "you should have prefaced the conversation with that"... Really? She was lucky she got someone that spoke English, had the patience to deal with the order for her obviously spoiled children, UNDERSTOOD THE WORD PREFACED (how rude, took the cook 40 minutes to make the order because it was so far off the menu) and DIDNT spit in her food. No one I know work with would do that. And what was the tip? zero zip nada. No, we won't spit in your food but when we see your number on caller id, we won't pick up the phone. You wanna be that difficult and raise your kids that spoiled, GET YOUR ORDER PERFECT and not tip? call somebody else!

Anonymous said...

Punished for ordering dessert, of all things. I was surprised you didn't follow that up with how much restaurants also hated how people tend to order appetizers and extra side orders.
One wonders why there's a whole menu of desserts if the idea of someone wanting to eat one was such a weird, unforeseeable phenomenon.

...Punished for ordering a menu item... I swear...

Anonymous said...

So why is it that every comment here seems pathetic as can be? If you have a job that pays $2.15 an hour then you should've thought about it before you decided to get that job. It's not the customer's issue to treat you well if you are not doing your job. Yes, customers have to be considerate to a certain extent but when you have someone who gives you as much detail as possible for you not to mess up, then guess what? You're the fuck up! You're the idiot and will be treated as such even if you worked $.01 an hour. Don't expect a nice little tip if you don't satisfy the customers. And customers don't always tip according to how their day is going.

Perhaps Americans should stop whining so much about their pathetic lives and their pathetic jobs and do something to get a better one. Don't blame others for your life and the fact that you're working at a job you don't like. You're not being forced to work if you don't like it, quit. If you stay, be prepared to deal with rude customers as much as nice customers come along too because providing for both if your damn job. And no, don't come at me with the little bullshit of "you've obviously haven't worked as a server". I have more experience in it than some of you here. The difference? I'm not as negative as you people seem to be. I know what my duties are and I know that if someone is having a bad day, it's my damn job to make them happy and turn that around so that I get the tip I want. You want people to respect you as a server then start respecting people, even the ones that treat you like shit. This is the reason America is the way it is, because of idiots like you who think they deserve everything put on a silver plate. Customer or server, it doesn't matter, both need to learn their lesson. Perhaps serving school oversees? I mean catering to customers seems to be an art in some countries...why the fuck is it not here? Oh well we already covered the reason why...

Anonymous said...

I don't do most of those things on the list except for a few things. Sometimes, I will only order an appetizer and a drink and maybe a dessert. I just don't like eating big meals, but I still want to eat out sometimes. I still tipped 20% plus $1-$2 per drink, but I had no idea it was probably causing my food or drink to be spit in. The server never even seemed frustrated or angry.

Nowadays in America, there are people with college degrees waiting tables and being paid poorly, so I can understand the anger at some of the things in the list, but I had no idea it was this bad.

I won't be eating at restaurants any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Don't send your food back? I've ordered hamburgers at places like Chillis where I said specifically NO CHEESE and yet they brought it out anyway. Am I not supposed to send it back?

I treat all wait staff people with respect and it pisses me the fuck off that my food is likely to get tainted anyway.

If you don't like your job then deal with it or do something else.

And wash your goddamned hands after take a shit or pee and before you handle someone's food.

knit_junkie said...

This blog really has me baffled. I could understand it if the message was just "Treat people nicely, and they'll do the same to you." But your conception of "bad treatment" seems to be "anything that causes me effort" such as asking for water AND a cup of coffee. Or sending back food that wasn't prepared the way I asked. Sending food back doesn't imply that it's the server's fault. Yes, there are restaurant patrons who are rude to their servers, but you undermine your point when you complain about all sorts of behavior that's perfectly normal and legit. Yes, some requests mean extra steps for you—that's your job! You sound like someone who hates his job and needs to find a new one. Preferably not in the service industry.

knit_junkie said...

P.S. If someone spit in my food, I probably wouldn't be able to tell. But if I could, my very next act would be to call the health department.

Anonymous said...

Honestly this article makes you sound lazy and you try to hide it behind the veil of "efficiency".

News flash. Work is hard. If you don't agree with the social norms such as separate checks and a coke and a water that go along with eating at a restaurant find a new line of work. Jackass

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty positive I had ice cream once that had spit in it. Almost positive. I really want to know? Was that spit? Who's spit? Can I just get that person to spit in my mouth? Like directly in my mouth? On that note, anyone know of a spit restaurant? I liked this article, but it made spit in food sound like a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

I waitress now and I have never thought of spitting in someone's food... That's kinda trashy && on top of that you'll N E V E R get good tips w that attitude I do agree w some of it ... Like the take care of your children part but I don't mind ppl splitting bills, hey more tips for me... Add on whatever drink and dessert you want... It's more money for the business... But I guess it's too each is own for each server... I hope I'll never eat at your restuatant tho...

femme muscle said...

i worked at a Taco Bell years ago down in San Diego. A very pretty black lady came through the drive-thru. Most of the staff was hispanic. When the guys saw that woman, they went nuts. She was beautiful, courteous, and had a gorgeous smile. The guys were extra nice, and gave her several compliments. And of course the two hispanic females we had on the staff immediately became jealous. One of them was in charge of the sodas. Guess what she did? Yep.. i watched her spit in that ladie's soda, shake it, put the plastic lid on, and smiled while giving it to her. I stepped in, took the soda away, and made a fresh one and gave it to the customer. Females can be petty, folks. So it's not just people that are "difficult" that get the spit. Watch your female staff when a hot chick comes along. It's guarantee, there's going to be spit flying, or boogers stuck between the burger buns.

Anonymous said...

personally i think it should be illegal to spit in peoples food. i dont care what the reason is, no one wants spit in their food. i doubt the people that go around spitting on peoples food would like the same thing done to them.

Anonymous said...

So if someone with me says it's his Birthday, and I say please don't fuss over it, but still get the free drink or dessert, there's spit in it?
Or if I order a rare steak with shrimp skewers and the steak is just slightly under cooked for my taste, and I simply seek a quick sear, I get boogers? Or what if the drink I ordered is totally watered down and I ask for a bit more booze in it, I'll get spit stirred in? Also I always get a separate check everywhere I go... But I always say two checks when they ask how many. To sum this all up. I always give my waiters / servers 100% patience. I say thank you for literally everything they bring me offer me ask or tell me. That's just manners. I also leave around 8% tips. On a $25 dinner I leave $5-$10 depending on service. And I NEVER treat them like they're lesser because of the job they're doing. They're working! Many people don't do that! Oh and btw, sometimes I order out and usually from the same place, and I always tip and I'm always courteous. I swear they remember me because the food is outstanding when I'm leading the hog out. Just saying. Respect your servers, have some goddamn manners patience and understanding. Your having a terrible day? They could be working the same day someone has died or just found out they're pregnant or some shit. I'm kind of baffled about the ordering to go and asking for separate checks though if I'm being honest. Spit in my food because there are two of us ordering $20 worth of food each and we don't let others pickup the check? Meh. Anyhow thank you Men and Women who put up with us! You're not forgotten. Not all patrons fall from the same tree or orchard.

TheWrathofShane said...

Any server or waiter or cook who spits in someones food or tampers with it in a disturbing way should be a felony assault charge 100%. You are literally the scum of the earth and I hope you get three years in prison for doing that.

Anonymous said...

Check out 2 movies: "Waiting" and "Road Trip" road trip look for the one part where the guys being really nice and says I ordered powdered sugar on my French, you will see. Going back to the original blog I think some of the requests are not too crazy. Food is expensive and it should be prepared to your liking.

Nicole said...

I believe your article reflects the attitude the majority of American restaurant staff hold to date. I recommend you watching Adam ruins everything tipping. This should be viewed not just by restaurant staff but also consumers. The history of restaurants underpaying their staff is deeply rooted in corruption. USA is the only industrialized nation to continue to participate in paying their servers below minimum wage and it's wrong for ALL parties.

When you stated restaurants aren't responsible for efficiency, actually you're wrong. An experienced manager will hire and retain staff based on worker's communication skills. The reason so many restaurants are run poorly correlates with wages. Current pay scale does no one any favors and truly does ruin the dining experience. Classic pitting the poor against the poor. I am waiting for the day restaurant staff in union finally organize a strike and employ collective bargaining to end wage theft from American restaurant staff workers.

As far as ordering multiple drinks, deserts, etc... One would think a waiter would welcome this idea since it means more money in tips. Something many customers are ignorant about is in higher end restaurants, waiters tip's are rationed between cooks, bus boys, dish washers etc...

Its easy to tell someone to find a new job, but in many parts of the country, restaurants serve as the only honest platform to work. Should wait staff turn to selling drugs causing tax payers to house a few million more in the prison sector?

Some tips for wait staff, use the smart phones for other than texting. Put a timer on your phones to refill drinks in a timely manner. It makes the night much smoother. However, the double edged sword is being too efficient can have the reverse affect, customers accusing wait staff of kissing ass for tips. Waiters all too often get orders wrong, converse with other staff verses doing their job which has led me to stop going to restaurants all together, Pair that with my paranoia about my food getting spat in because waiters have become lazy. Since I understand the economic side of things, my conscience would never let me leave less than 20% because I understand their struggle.

Waiters and diners are both victims of capitalism. I used to spend $300 a week easily in restaurants. I refuse to return until waiters are paid a fair wage. Organize strikes.. Problem solved!

Anonymous said...

you forgot.

11. don't be black in a mostly white area

12. don't be fat

13. don't be ugly

Anonymous said...

to add onto my last comment, last time i was at a diner (it was on amtrak), and the waiter was pretty rude. it was a ''family'' type diner where strangers had to sit at the same table. the waiter never brought me a menu, someone else at the table let me borrow their menu. while i was looking at the options the waiter came over to our table to take our orders and he snatched the menu out of my hand flipped it over saying, ''that's the kids menu, this side is the adult choices''. ended up just walking out because why would i trust someone so rude/passive aggressive to make my food.

that same year, i went to a place in soho, the waiter again was very passive aggressive. seemed like it was taking everything inside him to be borderline nice. made me so uncomfortable i got up and left after he gave me a menu. waiters treat you like crap based on how you look, even when you don't do anything wrong, also both of these waiters never made eye contact with me and were looking down at the table while talking to me. i never let white men make my food.