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What You’re Really Swallowing
In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I’ll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they’re all decaf.
-Charity Ohlund

What You Don’t Want to Know
We put sugar in our kids’ meals so kids will like them more. Seriously. We even put extra sugar in the dough for the kids’ pizzas.
-Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

What We Lie About
If you’re a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I’m going to say yes, even if we don’t. You’ll never know the difference.

What You Don’t Want to Know
At a lot of restaurants, the special is whatever they need to sell before it goes bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the day. If it contains fish or if it’s some kind of ‘gumbo,’ it’s probably the stuff they’re trying to get rid of.
-Kathy Kniss, who waited tables for ten years in Los Angeles

What You Don’t Want to Know
Now that I’ve worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.
-Charity Ohlund, Kansas City waitress

What You Don’t Want to Know
I’ve never seen anybody do anything to your food, but I have seen servers mess with your credit card. If a server doesn’t like you, he might try to embarrass you in front of your business associate or date by bringing your credit card back and saying, ‘Do you have another card? This one didn’t go through.’
-Charity Ohlund

What You’re Really Swallowing
Skim milk is almost never skim milk. Very few restaurants outside Starbucks carry whole milk, 2 percent milk, skim milk, and half-and-half; it’s just not practical.
-Chris

What You’re Really Swallowing
Some places buy salad dressings in one-gallon jars, then add a few ingredients, like a blue cheese crumble or fresh herbs, and call it homemade on the menu.
-Former waiter Jake Blanton, who spent ten years in restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina, and California

What Drives Us Crazy
The single greatest way to get your waiter to hate you? Ask for hot tea. For some reason, an industry that’s managed to streamline everything else hasn’t been able to streamline that. You’ve got to get a pot, boil the water, get the lemons, get the honey, bring a cup and spoon. It’s a lot of work for little reward.
-Christopher Fehlinger, maître d’ at a popular New York City restaurant

 

What We Want You to Know
Even at the best breakfast buffet in the world, 99 times out of 100, the big pan of scrambled eggs is made from a powder.
-Jake Blanton

 

How to Be a Good Customer
Avoid Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day like the black plague. It’s crazy busy, so they’re not going to be able to pay as much attention to quality. Plus, they bring out a special menu where everything is overpriced.
-Steve Dublanica

 

What You Need to Know About Tipping
The best tippers tend to be middle-class or people who have worked for everything they have, not the really wealthy or the kid who inherited the trust fund. Which is not to say that we mind if you use coupons. But when you do, tip on the amount the bill would have been without them.
-Judi Santana

 

I DON’T THINK I EVER WANT TO EAT OUT AGAIN. I MAY JUST START MY OWN GARDEN LIKE MY GREAT GRANDMA DID!

 

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