Chances are you’ve eaten at a restaurant, ordered takeout, or eaten at a fast food drive-thru. But have you ever wondered what’s going on in the restaurant and service industry that you No see as a customer? I gathered a ton of responses from restaurant and grocery store employees, chefs, servers, hostesses, and more on the r/askreddit subreddit and the BuzzFeed Community. Here are the industry secrets they spilled.
“I work as a host in a restaurant. If you are a jerk to me, either on the phone or in person, the server will get a warning about you. We also have a warning label if a reservation was made with a slightly alarming request.” (for example, a guy who insisted on a waitress because “they pay more attention to him”). Managers also get notifications about top issues. Bottom line: be nice to your hosts. We are the ones who can you that nice table by a window or can accommodate you when things are full. We do our best if you’re nice to us.”
“I’m an employee at Olive Garden. Anything labeled ‘endless’ is truly endless, which is why some people fill up until they’re literally sick. All the employees hated the endless pasta bowl promotion because people were literally throwing up on the table and continue eating”.
“The only thing that is fresh and ‘healthy,’ meaning not pre-made, bagged, or frozen, in virtually every fast food place is tomatoes.”
“Former fast food guy here. Don’t trust the ice machines. In my experience they are rarely (read: almost never) cleaned. Probably contain bugs, dirt, food particles, you name it. In two previous jobs at restaurants there was only one ice machine, and I felt bad that customers were getting disgusting ice. I mentioned it to the managers, but they just ignored it like they didn’t have time to deal with it.”
“At the supermarket chain I work for, I catch customers taking food from hot and cold buffets with bare fingers all the time.”
“I work at Five Guys, and our burgers cost what they cost (on the expensive side) so we can offer customers unlimited toppings made with fresh ingredients. We also open each store at 7 a.m. to hand-press each burger, slice each tomato, prepare each piece of lettuce, cut each fry. It’s a lot of work and it’s exhausting, so please be nice to your local Five Guys team members and managers. We do a lot more than other fast food chains.”
“When I was a fry cook, some customers thought they were being sneaky and ordered salt-free fries to make sure they had fresh fries. We cooks would just put the salted fries back in the fryer to remove the salt.”
“Candy store clerk here. We left chocolate on display for months. When my friends came to the store, I told them to avoid it at all costs.”
“I worked in a restaurant. A smoker outside the restaurant doesn’t mean your barbecue is fresh. Most of it is actually frozen. Sometimes we just throw logs in there to make it look and smell like we’re grilling. But we did that shit two days ago, And that’s just wood you’re smelling.”
“As a former cashier at a pizza restaurant, starting with an existing item and making a lot of substitutions is the easiest way to piss off all the employees. This type of order only messes up our inventory as it goes to ‘special instructions’ instead of the main ticket, which includes the weights of the toppings.”
“I worked at Subway and the ‘baked fresh daily’ promise is a pun. The bread comes in frozen dough sticks that we thaw.”
“If you’re someone who buys nuts, grains, etc. in bulk, just know that those bins are probably rarely cleaned, and even when they’re ‘cleaned,’ they’re probably just rinsed or wiped clean to make them look clean. When I I took over, our bulk department had no records of cleaning or sanitizing procedure. Bins had moth/insect colonies and mold. Our store opened almost five years ago.”
“The cooked burgers that don’t sell go into a pot in the fridge and become TOMORROW’s chili. The crispy chicken that doesn’t sell today? It goes into a pot in the fridge and becomes TOMORROW’s” . crispy chicken salads”.
“The cheapest bottle of wine in a restaurant often has the highest profit margin.”
“Having worked in grocery stores, I can tell you that everything is frozen. Even in the bakery section, when it says ‘made fresh daily,’ it’s usually frozen and baked. front and freshest things are on AND ALWAYS check the expiration date.Especially if you shop in the morning.Most stores pick up expired items every morning but they often get lost.
“Kirkland (Costco brand) products are independently tested to beat the industry leader in that category, whether it’s razor blades or laundry pods. If it doesn’t beat the industry leader, they won’t put the name on it.” of Kirkland.”
“There’s a rule about how long something can stay under heat lamps, but no one follows it. If you’re not ordering during the lunch or dinner rush hour, assume whatever you get has been sitting around for hours.”
“In any fast food drive-thru, the horn listens to everything from when you stop to when you leave. If you talk bad about us, we hear it. If you’re arguing with your other passengers or on the phone, we hear that too.”
“Please don’t ask your server how an item is or what food you should order. It puts us in a really awkward position because 9 times out of 10, you’ll blame us if you don’t like your food. I swear some customers do this.” on purpose to have an excuse to tip us or demand that everyone’s food be free since ‘the waitress told me I should order this and I didn’t like it’ Also we don’t know what your personal preferences are there are no two people that they have the same palate”.
“In my opinion, restaurant health inspection is really kind of a sham. Health inspectors tend to inspect all the restaurants in a given area at about the same time. When the inspector shows up at a restaurant, the manager usually notify the other restaurants in the area. We would call more people to deep clean everything. Never mind that most of the year, every time we washed under the fryer or food prep lines, we drowned hundreds of roaches When the health inspector showed up, everything was clean, so we still had a 100% on our health inspection.”
“I used to work at Panera, and people are amazed that aside from meats, vegetables, and salad dressings, everything comes frozen. Pasta, soup, bread dough, bagels, and cakes are all frozen. Pasta is microwaved, breads and pastries are thawed, baked and decorated, and soup is poured into what is essentially a hot water bath.”
“Starbucks supervisor here. There is no secret menu, and we are not trained to make those viral TikTok drinks. let’s make something ‘off the menu,’ have the recipe handy. As a side note, a lot of those drinks are also based on seasonal ingredients, so you need to have a backup option ready.”
I have worked in the service industry for a long time. You can probably bet restaurant menus, ice machines, lemons and limes for drinks, and slush machines are dirty.”
“I work at Wawa. Good news: if anything is said to be made fresh (hoagies, salads, coffee) it IS pretty fresh. Bakery items and salad bar supplies arrive daily, and sandwich supplies are they check and replace regularly. The bad news is that everything served (mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, meatballs, soup, etc.) comes frozen.”
“If a restaurant has a one-page menu, that’s usually a good sign. It means their line cooks have become specialists and can usually master all the dishes listed. Conversely, if a restaurant has a giant multi-page menu, that’s a giant red flag.”
“I worked at a fancy country club ($25,000 initiation fee, then $7,000 a year in the ’90s). A slice of ‘homemade’ cheesecake was $7 on the menu. One of the sous chefs stopped by the grocery store. groceries every day on the way to work to pick up a whole cheesecake for about $5.”
“I was a shift supervisor at a fast food place and years later, I still refuse to eat anything containing ice cream. The machine we had was always covered in mold and spoiled cream, while the owner’s ‘fix’ was to scrape off a layer of mildew and spray some Clorox on it.”
Do you work in the restaurant or service industry? What’s an inside secret that customers don’t expect to hear?
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