Four Things I’ve Learned From Working in a Restaurant

About two months ago I started working at a restaurant near my school in Chicago (Loyola). I had no restaurant experience beforehand, the only other comparable job I had was working at a custard place in my hometown, which I was fired from three months in for total bull shit reasons (I believe a coup d’état of sorts was organized by the older girls working there cause all I talked about was fantasy football, but this is neither here nor there). Anyway, here are four things I learned that people who don’t work in the restaurant business might not understand.

The staff is talking about you

Every time I use to eat at a restaurant, I would wonder if the staff would talk about customers to each other. Not every customer, but just the really bad ones. Working as a waiter I realized that the entire staff talks about every customer, whether good, bad, or ugly. Every time you come into a restaurant you are being judged based on how you talk, what you order and how you interact with your waiter. It’s not all negative, if you’re a good person or are normal the staff will recognize that. But if you act like a douchebag, take forever to order, or perpetuate some other type of horse shit then the entire staff will know about it. Think before you act.

This is abundantly true with older people. Perhaps no entity demonstrates the divide in behavior between millennials and boomers better than restaurants. Older people (generally older than 55) are such bad customers. They are needy and they beg to be served on hand and foot. They’ll also take a percentage out of your tip for stuff outside of your control, like wait time or bad food. Younger people are usually more understanding and get the idea that waiters don’t sit down for 6 hours at a time and are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It’s days like these I support the reversed Social Security system, where you get a social security check every month until you turn 65.

Recommendations mean nothing

“What do you think of the ____”

“Oh that’s my favorite meal here, it’s the chef’s specialty”

This is an interaction I’ve had no less than 20 times; a lie I’ve told 20 times now. There are like 60 items on the menu buddy, I have tried maybe 4 of them. I say whatever the hell I have to say to keep shit going. I don’t care what you get and I don’t care if you like it, keep the show moving and give me 20% and we’ll be ok.

A restaurant is always dirty, sometimes it just looks clean

This is the one that bothers me the most, and I hate to say it, but restaurants are very dirty. It makes sense when you think about it, a bunch of random people going to a singular location to eat, touch things, talk, and shit/piss. Your table is being wiped down with glorified water and it’s really just getting the crumbs from the last fat ass off the table. You won’t get sick unless the food is contaminated (which inevitably happens), but just wash your hands before you eat.

You are not as good of a tiper as you think you are

A lot of you mother fuckers think you tip well. A lot of you mother fuckers sit on a throne of lies. My average tip is probably 13%, the only reason I make good money is cause I work a lot. I have been stiffed 6 different times which is just bonkers. Don’t be an asshole man, if you don’t want to tip then order take out.

I know this gets said a lot but it’s true: if you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to eat out. Quit being a pussy and just dish out 20%, 18% if I really fucked up. I move 2 miles in an hour making trips so I can give you a refill of diet coke with a straw. This may or may not be directed at an older woman who made me get her five refills of diet coke with a new straw every time.

Written by tfmdirtymike


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  1. When did the “expected” tip become 20 percent? Not that long ago 15 was the standard for good service. The whole system is ridiculous when you think about it. I’m not your employer, why should I decide what your salary is?

    • You don’t decide what my salary is, but the system is set up for waiters well being to be fully dependent on tips. Every single thing you consumed or touched was brought out to you by your waiter, who communicated it with the kitchen. Also, the majority of restaurants make you tip out the food runner, Busser and bartender. It’s not just one persons well being you are messing with when you decide that they weren’t worthy of your dime.

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