Food for Thought

by Crom

I worked in the restaurant industry for almost 5 years. I was the Assistant Night Coach, a long useless title that really didn’t mean anything. It’s like having the title of “Guy we don’t pay enough, despite the fact that we saddled him with the responsibility”. I was always the poor bastard that closed. Our manager had this somewhat bizarre business strategy. He considered the kitchen to be like a big business, managers don’t do the bulk of the work: they manage. Which in the business world is a sound theory; many a business has failed because the management spent its time doing the grunt work someone else should have been doing, then missed something critical. But as the management always felt like saying anytime we brought up an issue “We’re flipping burgers, not saving lives.” Thank you for belittling me.

The biggest thing that ever got to me though wasn’t the management. They were out of their gourds and such, and the building I worked in was a mess, but it always comes down to the customers. The customer is not always right. In fact a lot of the time the customer is dead wrong. As Ben Affleck put it in Mallrats, “The customer is always an ASSHOLE!” And a lot of the time the people I got to deal with were. There were probably 2 or 3 times in the five years I worked there someone who got me out of the kitchen to pay me a compliment. And I know what you’re thinking; fuck you it wasn’t because I was a bad cook. It’s because everyone expects greatness from even the worst Greasy Spoon Diner, and they’re shocked when things don’t go exactly the way they think it should. For some reason, most people seem to believe that there are a hundred people behind a curtain at their local Denny’s just trying to get everything perfect, as if the Queen of England were dining there. Let me save you some suspense. There’s no one there. And if there were, they’d hate you a lot.

However, for the most part, the cantankerous souls that our restaurant attracted were mostly trying to chisel something for free, or were simply bitter people with nothing to do but crap on other people’s efforts. They were people I simply pitied, but there were a few that I truly despised. The last minute eaters. I don’t know what people are thinking when they do this, but why the hell would you ever go out to eat some place that was closing in a few minutes. Most people go “Oh we can still eat!” like idiotic lemmings and march over to a table and open a menu. If I ever walk into a place that tells me they’re JUST closing, I’m walking away. And I’ll tell you why.

Every kitchen worker the world over is waiting for that time. The moment when the manager will say the magic words “we’re closed” because then he can begin the motions to get the hell out of there. No matter how nice a place is, or how well the staff is treated no one wants to stay longer then they have to. Mostly due to the fact that they’ve already stayed 9 to 10 hours, and are tired as all hell. So they’ve prepared for that moment for the last 2 to 3 hours, putting away unneeded things, cleaning equipment, many a time I used to turn off almost the entire broiler, so when the time came I could shut it down and clean it fast. Now they have to figure out what to do with half their things being cleaned or already cleaned and they don’t want to have to clean it twice. So no matter how professional they are, you’re not going to receive a top quality meal. They’re using bizarre tools to work with, doing it fast, the heat lamps are probably off, a hundred little things that will contribute to your food being shit. You’ll probably be pissed off if your food sucks, never thinking that you showed up at the most inopportune time. Well for the entire kitchen staff the world over I’ve got something for you. A BIG FUCK YOU! Stop showing up at the last second and expecting miracles, hey if you’ve got nowhere else to go, that’s fine, but stop acting offended when your calamari and swordfish arrive, and you don’t seem to have enough tandoori sauce to suit you. You’re a big baby, and you fucked up their entire night. Now they have to make up for 3 times the amount of time they spent making your food, because they didn’t have everything available on the line. You SUCK!

  • Food for Thought
  • by Crom
  • Published on May 1st, 2003

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