by Justin Crockett
6. You Are Dining in an INS Hotspot
According to 2008 estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center, illegal immigrants make up about 20 percent of the nation’s chefs, head cooks and cooks, and about 28 percent of its dishwashers. Enough that would cripple the industry if they no longer worked. And they are paid equally illegal amounts. And, from personal experience, they are all harder workers and have just as many or more culinary skills than legal workers.
5. Restaurants Are Far Dirtier Than You Think
30 soda fountain machines were tested for contaminants, spanning restaurants all over Virginia. The results showed that nearly half of them spewed out coliform bacteria, which is banned in drinking water due to it being chock full of fecal matter. Yes, your soda fountains are spraying shit mist.
And if you thought that roaches are limited to shitty, inner-city McDonalds’, wrong again. 75 percent of chefs report having seen roaches in their kitchens, regardless of the prestige of the place. But sometimes, even that won’t matter, as health inspectors have their own shady dealings sometimes. In San Francisco, a major foodie city, health department workers have accepted bribes from hundreds of restaurants, in order to give them a clean bill of health.
4. Discrimination Against Minority Customers
A North Carolina State study conducted with servers in the restaurant industry has shown that more than 1/3 of them knowingly give shitty service to black customers. The reason they give is that the patrons are impolite and awful tippers. Half of the participants in the survey said that they have witnessed the discrimination first-hand. 86 percent of the subjects were white.
3. Shady Food Practices
If you go to a nice, sit-down place on a Monday, you’re just asking for trouble. Take fish, for instance. You order a nice, fresh filet of salmon. Fuck it, get it wood-grilled. Or just pick it up off the plate and smear it into your face. It doesn’t matter, because that slice of fish has probably been festering in the back of the restaurant’s cooler since last Thursday.
“The lady will have the steak, and I’ll have the dysentery.”
Fish purveyors almost never deliver on the weekends, meaning that your favorite restaurant got that fish in on Friday. Meaning that they most likely got it on Thursday.
And it’s like that with almost everything on Mondays. Those “specials” on the little chalkboard on your way in? Almost always, it’s a cornucopia of shit cobbled together from the food the chefs couldn’t get rid of during the much-busier weekend.
“This evening’s specials are chocolate salad, and a lovely roasted lamb chop…..with chocolate.”
Food isn’t the only thing that suffers at the beginning of the week, either. Service gets its own backseat. Mondays are the prime training days for kitchen and front-of-house staff. So while a shitty server trainee is taking your order in their adorable slack-jawed way, an equally brain-dead new cook is fucking it up as well.
2. Food/Wine Markups
Profits in the restaurant industry are notoriously low, meaning that food and wine can be marked up at ridiculous and inconsistent ways. In order to serve the finer foods, which cost more for the chef, dishes made with cheap ingredients, such as pasta and chicken, are seemingly priced by the same guy that prices beef jerky and shaving razors. Wine suffers the same fate, being marked up anywhere between the 200-600 percent range.
1. Unstable Chefs and Servers
In a high stress industry with ready access to drugs and alcohol, chefs and restaurant employees display a shocking rate of substance abuse. In a survey of 1,421 foodservice workers, almost 17 percent of them admitted to using illicit drugs. That extrapolates to roughly 400,000 employees nationwide.
The culprit could be the constant stress and anxiety of the occupation. That constant toll can lead to depression and mental illness, which numerous drugs and alcohol alleviate for them.
The culprit could also be the long hours and thankless work, in addition to the kind of mindset of an individual who chooses to be in a hot, cramped environment, far away from the peering eyes of the general public. A person who chooses that lifestyle over daily interactions with normal people would of course have a jaded worldview.