Restaurant Employees Share Honest Stories About Their Industry

Restaurant Employees Share Honest Stories About Their Industry


Have you ever wondered what life as a restaurant employee is really like? Well, it's certainly not a walk in the park. But you probably never realized just how horrible the service industry can be.

These restaurant employees are sharing some of the most disturbing things they've witnessed on the job, and they do not disappoint. We're talking long hours, hot kitchens, mean bosses who have zero empathy for their employees, and so much more. But don’t worry. We sprinkled a few positive stories in here so it's not all gloomy and sad.

Customer Brought Her Own Bell


This customer must have been a queen in her past life because she actually brought her own bell and set it on the table. That way, she can ring it every time she wants the server to come to her table. She has obviously lived a very privileged life and thinks it’s okay to snap her fingers at servers and expect to be given special treatment. After seeing this pic, we wouldn't be surprised if she finds a little extra something special in her food.

The Truth About Himalayan Pink Salt


What’s the difference between Himalayan pink salt and regular salt? Well according to this Twitter user, there isn’t any. If anything, the only real distinction between the two is that one of them is pink and has a flamboyant name and the other is just plain white salt. As it turns out, Himalayan salt isn't anything special. It's not even the healthier version despite the hype. Himalayan salt contains up to 98 percent sodium chloride plus traces of arsenic, lead and mercury. Luckily, the amounts are so tiny, they're not toxic enough to harm anyone.

A Little Bit of Jail Time is Okay

3-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Twitter-Phil-Eagle.jpg.optimal.jpgTwitter/Phil Eagle

According to Twitter user Phil Eagle, restaurants have high expectations about what bartenders and servers must do in order to succeed at their jobs. Luckily, if you’re a chef at his place of business and you want to cook, you don’t need to worry about having a criminal history. Unless we're talking about something major, of course. But in general, cooks are one of the few positions that the industry will look the other way if you have a criminal background.

Cooking in the Kitchen is Hot


Being a line cook is hard work because not only do you have to be fast and methodic, but you also have to deal with ridiculously high temperatures, especially in the summer. But even in the winter, a line cook will find it difficult to stop sweating or feeling thirsty. It’s probably why they don’t take kindly to people working in air conditioned office buildings complaining about how office life is so hard. If you work as a chef or line cook, save this meme to shut anyone up when they complain about their cozy jobs.


Crying During the Pandemic


The pandemic has hit everyone pretty hard and not just physically, but emotionally as well. The fear of getting sick or having a loved one get sick has caused a great deal of stress. Unfortunately, as the sign at this restaurant shows, even looking for a place to break down and cry is difficult. Heck! It's even harder to have a breakdown at work because everyone seems to be falling apart at the same time! Luckily, there’s always a walk-in freezer or a back alley where you can spend some time alone.

Kitchen Staff Graduates at Work


This employee wasn’t able to attend their graduation because they had a shift to cover at the restaurant. Luckily, their boss was nice enough to allow them to watch it in the back on a laptop as long as they did their job. But it wasn't an easy task. The employee was worried that their name might get called while they were too busy serving. Regardless, their dedication and sacrifice to their job have not gone unnoticed! Way to go, stranger!

Shots for the Kitchen


This restaurant is pretty cool because there’s an option on the menu that allows customers to buy beers or shots for the kitchen staff for just $20. And that’s not a whole lot of money to treat the people that work so hard to provide excellent service. Then again, it would be nice if the same employers that added this to their menu would pay their staff decent wages that people can use to pay their bills and buy food, too.

$12.50 an Hour


When Reddit user u/Bassben206 asked chefs on the site what they make when they’re drunk, he was asking what type of foods they like to cook. But there was one response by Reddit user u/Sundaytoofaraway that was truly epic. As it turns out, being a chef can seem prestigious, but not everyone earns a whole lot of money, particularly in the United States, unless of course it’s a five-star restaurant in Las Vegas.

Never Underestimate Yourself


Chef Zachary Keaton started out as a dishwasher at a restaurant called Pizza Bar + Trattoria and didn’t think he would get very far in his position. But fast forward 9 years and Keaton is now prepping pizzas and pasta dishes. During that time, he has gained an abundant amount of experience in Italian cuisine and is capable of managing dining services of up to 400 covers per night. That’s pretty impressive for a guy that started out washing dishes.

Patience is Key


It’s easy to get impatient while waiting for that order to come. It’s why most people get angry with the server and demand that they check with the kitchen to see what’s taking so long. But it’s important to remember that the staff is working under a time crunch to get several orders out. They’re also on their feet all day and take very few breaks. So, when something goes wrong, remember they're just people. Some orders might arrive 10 minutes late, and that's okay!


Restaurant Food is Safe


Some people believe that the food they eat at restaurants is safe to eat, especially during the pandemic. Then again, we all know this is nothing but wishful thinking because the truth is just too disgusting to even think about. The thought of restaurant staff not following the proper health protocols is unheard of. But according to one employee, you’ll probably wish there was such a thing as non-toxic Lysol so you could spray your food before you eat it.

The Head Chef is a Microwave


One anonymous Reddit user claims that the delicious food everyone eats at Olive Garden is actually cooked by their number one head chef—a microwave. So next time you’re enjoying that shrimp alfredo or eggplant parmigiana, make sure to tell the server to compliment the chef, or in this case, the big metal box that nuked the food. Most people would expect this type of behavior from a fast food restaurant but not from a more expensive eatery like Olive Garden.

Uber Eats Put Restaurants Out of Business

13-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-.jpg.optimal.jpgTwitter / Dan Price

According to Twitter user Dan Price, Uber Eats, a popular app that allows users to order food online, spent a ton of money on celebrity endorsements to get local restaurants to use them. But their delivery fees are so over the top that they have practically tanked businesses in the process. So, while Uber Eats might seem quite convenient to most people, Price claims people are driving a nail in local restaurants’ coffins.

Anthony Bourdain Proved Cooks Rule!

14-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-MisforMayonnaise.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / MisforMayonnaise

The late famous chef Anthony Bourdain is no longer with us, but Reddit user MisforMayonnaise still remembers the day he made one young man and his mom's day a little better.

"Anthony Bourdain stopped by my mom's kitchen while filming when I was a kid. She mentioned that we tried to go to his book signing the night before but couldn't. So he grabbed an envelope out of the trash and signed it for me."

Flipping Burgers Is Worth More Than $15 an Hour

15-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-icookfood42.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / icookfood42

Most people don't believe that flipping burgers is a big deal. It's probably why a lot of fast food employees only get paid minimum wage. But this meme represents what most of us have been preaching for years: everyone deserves a livable wage, no matter what they do. Slaving away in the kitchen, dealing with angry customers, hearing the sounds of noisy restaurants, and working stressful shifts is worth way more than $15, isn't it?

This is How Chefs Eat Dinner

16-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-geeetaylor.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / geeetaylor

Chefs are constantly cooking meals for hundreds of guests who sit down with their friends and family at a table to enjoy their food. But this photo shows the hard reality of life in the kitchen, like the way this chef sits on a bucket all alone in a corner to eat his meal before getting back to work. One would think that restaurants would offer these valuable employees a table to relax and eat at.


They Gifted Him a Chef's Knife

17-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-MrBuhgles.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / MrBuhgles

For a chef, a knife is the most important tool they'll ever own. It's like a hammer for a carpenter. But not everyone can afford a decent knife, especially when they're first starting out. Luckily, this chef is super nice and his fellow kitchen staff love him so much that they bought him a great knife that's sharp enough to split hair. And judging from the smile and tears in his eyes, it's safe to say that he loves it.

Cooking Together Isn't Always Romantic

18-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-hacimrants.jpg.optimal.jpgTwitter / hacimrants

They say that cooking together is fun and when done with someone you love, it can also be quite romantic. But some folks, particularly chefs at a professional kitchen, don't always feel that way because their bestie or significant other gets in the way. In other words, he or she will be standing there and get in the way every time they want to reach for a knife to cut something or grab a spoon to stir the pot. At some point, this will get so annoying that the chef might get upset and kick them out of the kitchen.

The Different Types of Knives

19-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-DSOxES.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / DSOxES

A kitchen employee took a snap of this sign that described the different types of knives one might expect to find in the kitchen. And there are also some hilarious descriptions like the one with the steak knife that suggests customers hold a few between their fingers and pretend to be Wolverine from "X-Men," or the cutlass, which is technically a sword but can be used to spread condiments like mayo on bread.

New Kid Made the Grill Look New

20-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Shaggy2ropes.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Shaggy2ropes

Such dedication! The new kid at this restaurant was ordered to clean the grill, and the boss expected him to do an okay job. But when he went to inspect his work, he was surprised to find that the grill looked as clean as the day it was first installed. And now, the new kid on the block has earned himself some extra hours, which means his paycheck will be a little higher.

From Fast Food to Salad Prepping

21-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-HobocoreHero.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / HobocoreHero

This is the face of a man who has found his calling. It's hard to imagine that was once an unhappy fast food employee. But months after quitting his job, he got a job as a dishwasher at a steakhouse. But someone in the kitchen saw that he was more than the sum of his parts and asked him to start prepping salads. And it looks like this is only the first step to what might be a promising culinary career.

This Customer's Onion Allergy Warning

22-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-troasfacekilla.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / troasfacekilla

This customer described himself as an adventurous eater, but they have one limit—onions. Luckily, they provided the kitchen staff with a card explaining to them that they are highly allergic to onions and any members of the allium family. This can be a total nightmare for cooks who are looking to make a tasty dish because onions are used in sauces and dressings. But a true cook will find a way around any obstacle to prevent their customers from going into shock.


Kitchen Employees Are Total Teasers

23-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-MuscleMilkHotel.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / MuscleMilkHotel

Kitchens are a dangerous place, according to Reddit user MuscleMilkHotel. He shared that his chef cut himself badly and had to go to the hospital. So, to cheer him up, he and the rest of the staff decided to tease him by adding a plastic knife and children's scissors at his station. But a true chef will find a way to cause some serious damage with those two items.

Some Meals Are Made With Hate


They say that some meals are made with love. In fact, a lot of professional chefs recommend not cooking anything with hate or anger because it will affect the outcome and taste of the dish. Just ask anyone who placed an order at a restaurant minutes before closing time. These line cooks were so upset that they had to stay an extra couple of minutes that their meals were made with nothing but hate for the customer.

From Receptionist to Chef's Assistant

25-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Phoenix_girl1911.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Phoenix_girl1911

Reddit user Phoenix_girl1911 lost her job as a receptionist because of the pandemic. Then she landed a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant and figured this was just temporary until she got back on her feet. Well, as it turns out, she was destined for greatness. Then one day, during rush hour, a chef asked her to help make some tasty dishes because he was swamped. In that moment, she discovered her love for cooking. And he was so impressed that he helped her find a culinary school.

Dishwasher Moves Up the Ranks

26-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-redleader5ive.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / redleader5ive

Who said you have to go to culinary school to become a line cook? Heck! You don't even need to graduate. You can just start off as a dishwasher and get promoted to prep cook. A Reddit user by the name of redleader5ive claims that's what they did for one employee because she worked her butt off. Then he promoted her to line cook. And he was so impressed by her dedication to the job that he gifted her this impressively sharp chef knife.

This Employee's Dream Cooking Show

27-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-spennychurch.jpg.optimal.jpgTumblr / spennychurch

Popular cooking shows like "Hell's Kitchen" often have professional chefs or aspiring chefs competing for a chance to win some cold hard cash and the opportunity to become a sous chef at some fancy five star restaurant. But this kitchen employee has their own idea of what their dream cooking show would be like having professional chefs cook for judges who don't know the difference between an egg and an eggplant.

Opening Drawers is a Kitchen Nightmare


Opening drawers can be a total kitchen nightmare, at least according to Twitter user Seth Darby. He claims that opening a kitchen drawer can be an impossible task when basic items like a potato masher gets stuck in the drawer. This is something that's happened to just about everyone at one point in their lives, so it's easy to relate to Darby's situation.

Dodo Bird Feathers, Anyone?

29-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-lidelser.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / lidelser

There are all kinds of secrets in the kitchen and not all of them lead to tasty, healthy meals. Just ask Twitter user Sarah Archer. She claims a chef can whip up something nice and simple using typical ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen. But there's one ingredient that most home cooks would never ever consider adding to their dish... a feather from a dodo bird. Just the thought of it will keep anyone from ever going into a restaurant again.

Some Music Isn’t Allowed in Kitchens

30-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-drspooky24.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / drspooky24

Music helps people feel good, which can motivate them to work through an otherwise dull workday full of boring tasks. But there are some restaurants like this one that forbid certain types of songs to be played in their kitchen. And this particular list is extensive. Who knew a restaurant could have such a big issue with ‘90s alternative rock, Nickelback, Miley Cyrus or even the ‘Friends’ theme song? Is there any music the owner does like?

Not All Restaurant Workers are Saints

31-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Twitter-@ajdeluxe_.jpg.optimal.jpgTwitter / @ajdeluxe_

Judging from this tweet, restaurant guests might want to think twice before announcing that their child is having a birthday. You just never know who it is that might be clapping and singing happy birthday to your kid. Oh, sure, the servers might look like a bunch of saints, but underneath that normal façade might be a group of exhausted, strung-out psychos who don’t really care about your kid’s happiness at all.

Some Bosses are Heartless

32-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Twitter-@SimplySnaccbar.jpg.optimal.jpgTwitter / @SimplySnaccbar

It’s nice to assume that all bosses are human and capable of things like compassion and understanding. But at the end of the day, some of them will disappoint you like they did Twitter user Admiral Snaccbar. In a lot of cases, you can explain to the boss that you have suffered a serious injury and can’t come to work or you’ve got five hours to live and all some of them might hear is that you can’t come to work and that they need to find someone to cover your shift.

Closed for Not Paying Employees

33-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-OpWillDlvr.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / OpWillDlvr

Reddit user u/OpWillDlvr posted this meme to poke fun at restaurants who post signs up that they’re closed due to disputes with their kitchen staff for not paying them much at all. These signs are actually a great way to let potential guests know that the restaurant they were planning on eating at doesn’t treat their employees fairly. That way they can take their business somewhere where restaurant owners do provide fair wages to their employees in a timely manner.

There’s No Such Thing as Labor Day

34-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-slideguy1013.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / slideguy1013

Labor Day is a pretty popular holiday in the United States because it honors hard working Americans by giving them the day off. And there are also similar variations of this holiday in some parts of the world, too. But this holiday doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, one kitchen employee was quick to remind everyone on social media that restaurant workers still work on Labor Day to serve those who are enjoying their day off.

Most Cooks Don’t Love Their Customers


Someone who loves you will cook a meal that’s full of healthy ingredients. This clearly explains this tweet by JD Vance’s “Holler Aunt”. Why does restaurant food taste SO GOOD? Not only do cooks add an insane amount of salt to their meals but also butter and sugar which is why everything tastes disgustingly great.

The Customer Who Loves Salt

36-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Fract_.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Fract_

Everyone knows that too much salt can be bad for them. It raises blood pressure, can make you bloated, and can increase the risk of heart failure and stroke. But some customers like this one just don’t care about the consequences and make extra special requests for their order of French fries. Luckily, this restaurant is more than happy to oblige because they’re not the customer’s mother or significant other.

How Some Restaurants Pass a Health Inspection

37-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Skywasis.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Skywasis

Health inspectors are sneakier than in-laws. You never know when they might show up. So, this meme sums up perfectly how some restaurants pass a health inspection. To put it into perspective, the restaurant’s manager will often distract a health inspector with meaningless small talk for as long as possible. Meanwhile, the BOH or back of house staff is busy cleaning anything that can get them dinged so the inspector won’t give them a negative rating or slap them with a fine.

The Restaurant Reunion

38-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-RobbyCan81.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / RobbyCan81

Some restaurants are like high school reunions. You just never know who you’ll run into from the past. So, say that you worked with a few of your favorite co-workers at one eatery or diner over the years but they left for another job. Well, if you both continue to work in the same industry, you might find yourself reunited again in the kitchen at a new job at some point. But hopefully, it’s only your favorite co-workers and not people you dislike.

Married by Kitchen Law

39-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Flour_Boy.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Flour_Boy

Some kitchen staff call themselves battle brothers when they cut themselves by accident on the same day. This makes sense since it’s like a war wound. But at this restaurant, there's an ongoing kitchen law where if two people cuts themselves on the same day then they're considered married. Hey, at least these co-workers have a good sense of humor about their work injuries. And they’re so highly dedicated to their jobs that they simply bandaged their fingers up and got back to work.

It’s Always the Server’s Fault

40-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Skimb0.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Skimb0

Kitchen workers and IT workers both have something in common. They work with servers. Alright, so they’re two different types of servers, but you get the idea. Kitchen workers will always place the blame on the servers when a customer complains that the food is too cold or their medium rare steak is too burnt. But when there’s a network issue at a major corporation, the IT guys are always quick to blame the error on those darn servers that never seem to work right.

This Restaurant Worker Needs a Therapist

41-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-PoPJaY.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / PoPJaY

This Twitter user has a budget-friendly hack for anyone who can't afford therapy and it's equal parts funny and sad at the same time. It might not seem like it, but the burns, the cuts, the stress, and the poor wages can tear people apart little by little after a while. Unfortunately, therapists are really expensive and a lot of cooks and servers don’t have the money or the insurance to pay for such, so they make do with what they can. After all, there's nothing like dissociating under a hot shower to kick off the stress, huh?

Heart Attack With a Side of Fries

42-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-kylethemurphy.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / kylethemurphy

Just because the kitchen staff makes meals, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they enjoy cooking them. Just ask the person that posted this photo. It’s either chicken fried streak in a hamburger bun or a breaded pork loin sandwich. Of course, you can't expect much from garbage food. It's not supposed to look fancy or appealing. It's supposed to satisfy a craving and maybe even clog an artery or two.

Restaurant Managers Don’t Have It Easy


Being a restaurant manager is a real kitchen nightmare, especially when you’re trying to keep a business afloat while also trying to enjoy life outside of work. Just ask this guy who managed to close a restaurant, have a social life, get really drunk, and open the next day without having had a minute’s worth of sleep. Unfortunately, he either looked like roadkill at work or took out his frustration on the staff.

The Last-Minute Customer

44-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-UnforeseeableFuture.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / UnforeseeableFuture

This restaurant was supposed to close at 10, but a customer showed up 16 minutes passed the hour and ordered pretty much the most time-consuming dishes on the menu like stuffed chicken, lamb chops and tomahawk ribeye steak. And to make matters worse, they requested it all well done which undoubtedly added more minutes to the cooking time. But this is what happens when restaurants have a manager that can’t say no to customers.

The Pretentious Restaurant Staff

45-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-yupyup1000.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / yupyup1000

This Twitter user, who also happens to work at a restaurant, tweeted this sarcastic post about their eatery. Unfortunately, some people might have taken the tweet too literally and assumed that she was being pretentious, but she was very obviously joking. There’s no way that the soup of the day is going to be whiskey, even though some people probably do drink whiskey like it’s soup.

The Two Types of Garlic Cutters

46-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-PHON3-BOi.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / PHON3-BOi

While some chefs get a thrill out of cutting their own garlic, others prefer to give their knives and cutting board a break and try something similar. And you know what? There's nothing wrong about reaching for a bottle of minced garlic every now and then. Now some might call this cheating but garlic is garlic. Besides, it’s an extremely effective kitchen hack when you’re pressed for time or have run out of fresh garlic... or patience!

Snow Doesn’t Keep Customers Away

47-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Reddit-Neat_Party.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / Neat_Party

Although restaurants rely on customers to stay in business, some staff members, particularly the kitchen staff, are secretly keeping their fingers crossed that the nasty weather outside will keep customers away so that they can get a break for just a moment. But whether it rains or shines, customers are dead set to eat at their favorite restaurants, even if they have to shovel snow for hours so they can leave the house.

Cooks After the Pandemic

48-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Twitter-@matchu_chutrain.jpg.optimal.jpgTwitter / @matchu_chutrain

Twitter user Mat George offered a grim perspective of how the pandemic will affect professional cooks once this is all finally over. And while it’s true that some are using their downtime to perfect their culinary skills, others are hitting the sauce when no one's around. Who could blame them? The current situation is tough, even more so than before we were struck by this pandemic. Another Twitter user pointed out to Mat George that some professional cooks have managed to do both for quite a while.

The Truth About French Restaurants

49-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-Twitter-@matchu_chutrain.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / civicmemes

The truth according to this kitchen staff’s meme is that no matter how prestigious a French restaurant might appear to customers, there’s always better restaurants where Mexican staff in the kitchen makes all the delicious food. But since most customers only focus on the presentation of meals and posh ambience, they’re really none the wiser about which is the better meal. But it’s a safe bet that the best cooks aren’t always French. At least, that’s what this person claimed.

3% Close the Gap Fee

50-Restaurant-Employees-Share-Stories-Industry-reddit-ohmytodd.jpg.optimal.jpgReddit / ohmytodd

Most guests are unaware that while the kitchen staff and the servers all work very hard to deliver the best possible service, their hourly wages are a joke. Luckily, the servers get tips most of the time which adds to their base wages. Unfortunately, the kitchen staff does not benefit from tips, so this restaurant decided to introduce their 3% “Close the Gap” fee. They implemented it in 2017 to ensure that cooks and dishwashers also get the cash they so obviously deserve.