Once you've seen behind the scenes in a restaurant, eating out is never the same again
If you've ever carried plates for a living restaurants are a whole different ball game. From kid-shame to the dread of bill-splitting, here are some feelings everyone who's done the job has experienced.
Choosing the wine is tense
Wine selection in a restaurant makes you nervous, especially on a date. Firstly, you know the second cheapest wine on the menu is the one they are trying to get rid of. Secondly, you know that the whole "trying the wine" charade is completely pointless when the bottle is a screw top.
You can smell an ‘upsell’ a mile off
"Would you like some bread and olives to start?" No you would not. "Still or sparkling water?" "TAP, it will be tap water for us" you say with gritted teeth. Everybody knows the magical 10 quid that’s whacked onto the end of the bill is the Holy Grail of persuasive service. They’re not going to get you that way.
You’re quite adamant about tipping
If you’ve ever earned three quid an hour wiping baby food off chair legs, you’ll know that working tables isn’t always a blast. You will also know that most wait staff rely pretty heavily on topping up their wages with tips. People who "don’t agree with tipping" are not for you.
Tipping in coppers is completely unacceptable. And if you’ve worked at the kind of evil establishment that cruelly siphons off card tips, paying the "gratuity charge" is also baaaad.
You know when it’s time to leave
Your conversation might be fascinating but, looking around you can spot the telltale signs of "please get out of this restaurant." The hiss of the coffee machine being cleaned, the endless polishing of the table right next to yours and the high-pitched shouting coming from the kitchen when you order dessert.
You know what happens when you’re rude
If you’ve ever heard the rumour about the chef who stirred a fresh bogey into a bowl of soup, or watched a waitress sneeze into a bread basket, you’ll never, EVER make a scene in a restaurant.
You couldn't be more sorry about the children
Even at kid-friendly restaurants you can be sure the wait staff don't work there out of love for the under-5's. In fact singing Happy Birthday 75 times a day is likely to be slowly eroding their sanity.
Take your own child to a restaurant and you're apologising before you've even got through the door. Because, no matter how well-behaved they are, children and restaurants do not mix.
You know the torment of a late arrival
You know the drill: after a few drinks on a Friday night everyone decides it’s probably a sensible idea to eat something. Unfortunately it’s 9.25pm and the kitchen closes at half past. You wander up to the restaurant and look through the window. The staff have smiles on their faces, they are dancing. The kitchen lights are off: they’re gearing up for an early finish and a night on the tiles. When you walk in, you know that look on their faces when they realise they can’t turn you away. They’ve never hated anyone more.
Bill splitting gives you shivers
You’ve arrived with your party of 15 and now every single person would like to pay separately. You know the waitress is using every scrap of GCSE maths to help you work it out. Some pay cash, some pay card, each with their own version of how much money they owe. "Wait! Is the tip included?" Oh no, let's start again. She stands there perplexed by all the awful sums. You cringe along, apologising profusely.
You can easily spot a slip-up
If you’ve ever been a slightly terrible waitress (guilty) you can easily spot the signs of forgetful service. If you enquire about your missing meal and it arrives at your table suspiciously quickly and warmer in the middle, it’s a microwave job. If the plate is hotter than the meal itself you better believe it’s been left forgotten under the heat lamps for some time.