- Food and Cooking
10 Lies Your Waiter Likes to Tell
Not All Waiters Lie, But...
In my many years of working in just about every type of job, I have to say that waiting tables has to be one of the hardest jobs out there. Now I'm not saying that all waiters are dishonest or are habitual liars.
To be sure, most waitstaff with which I have had the experience of working with are good, honest folk.
Some waiters are, however, not completely truthful all the time.
If a waiter has a tendency to stretch the truth, these are the things they might - or might not tell you.
Calorie Counts on Specific Dishes
Waiters are really good at this one. Actually the owners or managers of the restaurant have usually instructed the waiter to direct the customer to their website where all nutrition information is listed.
Personally, I think knowing the calorie count and nutritional information for some dishes would be enough to scare most folks into making another. more healthy selection.
At one national chain restaurant in our neighborhood, a specific soup dish contains over 1200mg of sodium. That's a whole days allowance in just one bowl. You think that this particular nutrition information might cause a diner to alter his menu selection?
That Particular Dish is Excellent
Waiters are forbidden from letting a customer know when they themselves do not care for a particular dish.
Instead, a waiter will tell you that a certain item is one of the most popular choices on the menu.
Think about it from the manager's point of view - if your waiter says a dish is awful, why would anyone order that dish? Telling a lie is wrong, but I guess it makes sense if you want to sell more food.
The Scrambled Eggs Are Real Eggs
If you ask if the eggs are real and fresh, some waiters will tell you they are.
Sorry, most restaurants use powdered eggs for their scrambled eggs.
Remember that restaurants are a business and they want to make a profit. Powdered eggs are cheaper and faster to prepare for a busy restaurant staff.
The "Homemade" Salad Dressing is Really Homemade
This one is sort of a hall-truth, half-lie. Some restaurants actually purchase the standard salad dressings varieties in the commercial gallon-size jars and just add a few ingredients like herbs, chopped veggies or chunks of cheese.
I guess in that sense, some waiters have deemed the salad dressing to be "homemade."
The Fish is Fresh
Some waiters will say the fish or seafood in the dish you order is fresh. Well, maybe it is, maybe it's not.
Unless you're sitting at a table with a view of an ocean harbor, the fish is probably not as fresh as your waiter says it is. Fact is, most seafood items are delivered twice a week, typically early and late in the week.
If you ask what day fish is delivered, the waiter may just tell you whatever will get you to order the fish.
If the waiter tells you the fish has been sitting on a slab in the cooler for several days, would you still order it?
That IS Skim Milk
Probably not true.
That skim milk is almost always some combination of the regular milk and water or some other concoction. Restaurants are busy and have streamlined just about everything and that includes keeping just one type of milk in stock.
It is true that some restaurants may actually carry and serve skim milk, but this is probably the exception rather than the rule.
Your Credit Card Won't Go Through
I personally have witnessed servers and cooks actually doing something to mess with a customers food, but it is very, very rare. In the instances I witnessed, both simply added more salt to make the dish unsavory.
Waiters do "mess" with customers who are particularly difficult. One of the most common ways is to take a perfectly acceptable credit card back to the table and tell the patron that the card will not go through.
It is typically very embarrassing for the customer and somewhat satisfying for the waiter who wants to exact a "pound of flesh from a particularly nasty customer - or so I'm told.
Specials and the Soup of the Day
Many restaurants, because they are a business, must find the line between what fare they can offer to their guests and how to make the most profit. Some restaurants tend to push this line a bit further than others.
Many waiters have been instructed to "push" certain specials because they are prepared with food that is about to go bad. This is especially true if the special is some sort of soup, stew or other gumbo-like dishes.
Some waiters will go so far as to stress the absolute freshness of ingredients when they are fully aware of what the kitchen has prepared.
Waiters are busy people and many waiters like to streamline the whole serving process as much as possible - after all, it means less overall work for them, right?
In light of that, it's just easier to tell the customer what they really want to hear, rather than take the extra time and effort to do it right in the first place or send a dish back to the kitchen to be re-done.
If a customer wants to know if vegetable stock is used in certain "vegetarian" dishes, dishonest waiters will typically affirm this, even if it's not vegetable stock.
Hey, they're busy and they figure you will never know the difference anyway.
Is That Coffee Really DeCaf?
Waiters, like most folks, tend to make their job as easy as possible for themselves.
When it's getting late after a hard day of waiting tables, nobody wants to take the time to clean an extra coffee pot or two - that might get them home 10 minutes later after closing.
To that end, most waiters will serve all decaffeinated coffee after after 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. I have seen this and heard other waiters and customers tell stories of this as well.
The Bottom Line on Restaurants and Waiters
It's not the job that makes being a waiter difficult, it's the people. It seems that common courtesy is just not very common anymore. There are a lot of cranky, upset and just plain mean people who frequent restaurants.
Owners and managers of restaurants hire good and bad people. They don't look for dishonest waiters. Fact is, most waiters are fairly honest, hard-working people who really want to do a good job. There are still a few bad ones out there and hopefully, they will eventually end up somewhere else.
My advice to you is to frequent restaurants where you know the waitstaff and even the owner or manager. At our favorite restaurants, we make a point to introduce ourselves to the management and ask to be seated in areas where we personally know our waiter. Leaving a big tip also helps to assure any future visits will be exceptional.