Waiters reveal 10 secrets of the restaurant business

Waiters reveal 10 secrets of the restaurant business

, 2h, August 04, 2017, http://www.thisisinsider.com/r...urant-secrets-2017-8

The INSIDER Summary:

  • You may think they're just there to take your order and hope for a good tip, but servers know a lot about the restaurant industry.
  • Chefs, restaurant owners, former servers, and managers weighed in on a recent Quora thread asking about secrets that waiters will never tell you.
  • From "today's specials" being a dish that might be about to expire, to lemon slices being filthy, these are some server secrets you should know.

 

Being a server is a lot harder than you'd think.Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock

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Waiters reveal 10 secrets of the restaurant business

, 2h, August 04, 2017, http://www.thisisinsider.com/r...urant-secrets-2017-8

When you go to a restaurant, there's plenty going on behind the scenes that the average customer won't see.

Thanks to former waiters and waitresses, restaurant owners, and hospitality experts, a recent Quora thread shed some light on secrets of the restaurant service industry.

Servers spitting in food is (mostly) a myth

"It is extremely rare that someone will ever mess with your food," Quora user Nikki Elliot, who worked as a waitress for 10 years, said. "If you are polite about your complaint, we will do our utmost to rectify the mistake, cook you a fresh dinner as fast as possible, and take it off the bill. Even if you are a total a**hat about your complaint, we still won't spit in or mess with your food. Your service may rapidly go downhill, but your food will always be clean."

We say "mostly" a myth, because even though Elliot and her team may be morally upstanding individuals, they obviously can't speak for every server.

"Today's special" is probably a dish that's about to expire

Daily Special menu restaurantFlickr/Steve Snodgrass

"The 'specials' are often items that are close to expiring due to over-purchasing or poor sales performance," Quora user Ryan Swallow, a multi-unit director of restaurants, said.

But on the other hand...

However, specials are often the chef's favorite dishes

"Any time a server verbally announces a special, you should pay attention," Quora user and longtime restaurant worker Ujala Gill said. "I know a lot of people come in and know exactly what they want, but always listen up when the specials are being read, because that means they are 100% seasonal and it is something that the chef prepared himself."

Lemons are usually filthy

"Lemons rarely get washed properly before they are cut," Quora user and longtime server Kathy Kalayci said. "In most places they are lucky to get a quick rinse! I always, no matter where I am, request no garnishes at the bar and when I order from a menu."

Servers will probably recommend you dishes based on price, not preference

" Servers are more likely to sell you more expensive items than best-tasting items, unless you dig for their personal favorites," Ryan Swallow said. "Ultimately they want you to have a great experience and make money."

The fish might not be fresh

 

Fish restaurant
Should you skip the seafood?
NDarya/Shutterstock

 

Your "catch of the day" might not exactly be that day's catch, David Williamson said.

Requests to alter a dish are more of a pain than you might think

"These tiny modifications you would like, such as butterflying your steak, cooking a steak well well done, getting no bell peppers, etc., are often bigger and more time consuming than you think," Quora user and longtime restaurant worker Emily Carver said. "The restaurant preps as much as they can ahead of time and some things come pre-made, so there is no way of taking the jalapenos out of the queso... If you order things like that, be prepared for it to take just a little longer."

Not all servers know what they're talking about

"If you want to know how well your server knows the menu, or whether to trust their opinion on the dishes, ask them about any particular dish," Ujala Gill said. "If all they can say is a few ingredients of the dish, you know not to trust them."

A restaurant running out of ingredients can be a good thing

"Running out of things in the kitchen is common because the restaurant bases what they order on last year's sales, not the previous weeks'," Emily Carver said.

Plus, that way you know the restaurant is making dishes with fresh ingredients.

Demerara_Guy posted:

You're overpaying, especially for wine

wine and cheese charcuterie
Wine is never cheap in a restaurant.
Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

"The house pour Cab Sav has a wholesale cost of $3/bottle, and you're going to pay $8/glass," user and restaurant consultant David Williamson said.

In urban areas though, that $8 per glass average creeps up to $12 to $14, making the wholesale difference even more painful.

When I worked for Marriott, the bars had two different liquors. The brand names on the shelf and the bar liquor which was generally served unless a patron requested shelf liquor for which the paid more. The bar liquor was between $2.60 and $3.50 per bottle.

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