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10 Lies Your Waiter Likes to Tell

Updated on February 7, 2013
Not all waiters are liars, but when they do tell you a tall tale, they tell some pretty big ones.
Not all waiters are liars, but when they do tell you a tall tale, they tell some pretty big ones. | Source

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?


Most waiters are not allowed to tell you if they do not like a particular dish or menu item.
Most waiters are not allowed to tell you if they do not like a particular dish or menu item. | Source

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.


Many restaurants have a very different definition of "homemade" salad dressing.
Many restaurants have a very different definition of "homemade" salad dressing. | Source

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.

Fresh fish? Perhaps, perhaps not...
Fresh fish? Perhaps, perhaps not... | Source

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.


Vegetarians Beware

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.


That regular coffee you're drinking after dinner may really be decaf.
That regular coffee you're drinking after dinner may really be decaf. | Source

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.


Prevaricating Waiter's Poll

Have you ever caught a waiter in a lie? If so, what was it?

See results


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    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      kassishae - SO glad to know there are folks out there like you and restaurants that still do all their own cooking and prep. Hey, spread that honesty thing around will you?

    • kassishae profile image


      5 years ago from Ohio

      As a server, I have never lied to a customer like this. I also work for a very large, respected chain restaurant. Believe it or not, they actually do cook most of the food from scratch in the mornings. I am also a vegetarian, so you can believe I would never lie to you about the ingredients in the food. I can't say that every server would be completely honest, but I can certainly speak for myself. If you ask me if I like a certain dish or any other questions, I will be completely honest with you.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Claudia Tello - Thank God there are a lot of good, honest folks out there as proven by your story. Thanks for dropping by to read and leave such a nice comment.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      5 years ago from Mexico

      I once went to the bakery and asked the attending lady if the particular bread I was buying was from today. They usually say yes, even if it isn't true, but she, after a very long pause in which I saw she was debating with herself, said the truth: that it was from last night's last patch. I was very happy and grateful for her righteousness because I immediately returned it to the rack and bought another one that had just come out of the oven instead. I hate eating dry stale bread! So here is for that honest lady!

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the read! Glad you found it useful! Best, M

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Tips one has to consider when dining out interesting and most useful to me.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      sarashuihan - wow, that cook was placing you and your customers in a potentially precarious position. Thanks for taking time to read this and leave a comment.

    • sarahshuihan profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I used to be a waitress and sadly many of these are true. I remember trying to make sure that the food was vegetarian for a certain customer and the cook lied to me!

    • anuramkumar profile image


      5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Very interesting hub! Never thought of such lies being told in the restaurant. It's surely an eye-opener. Voted up.

    • truthfornow profile image


      5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Lying is easier than saying no or I don't know I guess. Anything to make the sale. I know decaf coffee is a big one. Funny hub.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I never frequent restaurants any more--haven't for some time--because I want to know what I'm eating and that it's safe and healthful. When I prepare food at home from ingredients I've carefully purchased, I can be certain it's fresh, organic, wasn't packaged in a can or plastic containing BPA and is GMO-free. I have no desire to eat toxins. I enjoy cooking, so it's no hardship for me to avoid eating in public places, though other people may think it is.

      I read a book written anonymously by a NY waiter who told some amazing (to me) stories of very badly behaving waitstaff. If the idea of unsafe food hadn't already put me off restaurants, that book would have done so!

    • kallini2010 profile image


      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Strangely, it never occurred to me to question the honesty of waiters... Not that I frequent restaurants that often, but I think I would be completely unsuitable for a job of a waiter... I do have a problem with honesty, after all - it is hard for me to lie, I always end up on the side of the customer. Same goes for retail and any job that requires selling and lying to one degree or another.

      It is just our way of life. But there was one case when I went to a restaurant, very cheap, but the food was almost inedible and the staff even did not speak English so when it came to the point when I said since everything is so unacceptable, I am ready to walk out without paying. I still said that I want to speak to the manager who turned out to be unavailable. That was just the cherry on the top of all the experience. I really did walk out. Fuming.

      But before ending it all like that I asked two other customers who did not seem to mind how they managed without being able to speak to anyone from the staff. What they said was even more bizarre than the whole unfortunate dinner - "It's more AUTHENTIC that way!"

      If bad service is associated with authenticity, I just don't know what to say. Probably those waitresses do not experience any internal conflicts - they don't have to lie - they can't. In the English-speaking world, they are numb.

      I think we need more articles like yours - an eye-opener in a place when we choose to close our eyes to reality.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Very informative. It is interesting what some of them might lie about. Thanks for the heads up! The most surprising part for me was the soup -and specials of the day - that the ingredients might be nearly out-of-date. I didn't know that. And that "skim milk" may be watered down milk. I guess it could be worse- at least they don't use powdered milk.

      Congrats on winning HOTD, great job!

      I always like to treat the staff at restaurants well, because it seems like hard work. And I like to tip well, too. It must be tough to be paid the way they are at restaurants.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      These kinds of things are not funny, and in some cases, can be downright dangerous.

      For instance, an acquaintance of mine is allergic to beef, so that vegetable stock had BETTER NOT be beef stock instead, or she'd end up in the hospital with anaphylactic shock..and that could be grounds for a lawsuit.

      Ditto with the coffee; my daughter is over-sensitive to caffeine, and she will know within 5 minutes if they have served her regular instead of decaf--she gets the shakes. (I've read before that the opposite of what you observed is true--that they get fewer requests for decaf, so if you order it, you're liable to get regular anyway.)

      Most restaurant food is ridiculously high in both salt and fat, and not the healthiest thing to eat, so dining out should be a rare treat, not a daily or weekly occurrence. In fact, my youngest (the one with the caffeine problem) has also worked in restaurants, and states, "If you saw what goes on in the kitchen(s), you'd never eat out again." And that was at a "classy" place.....

      We can't afford to eat out anymore anyway, and my husband is a heart patient on a severely salt-restricted diet--we even have trouble finding appropriate food in the grocery store that fits our budget. Why does healthy food cost more?

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      MKayo, this was a very informative hub. Sometimes I feel if I take back food because it's overcooked or not prepared well that the staff will do "somthing" to my food in the kitchen. Maybe it's a fear that's unwarranted, but the thought crosses my mind. Thanks also for not being too graphic, because I'm sure you've got more stories. LOL.

    • Wonder wool profile image

      Priyanka Estambale 

      5 years ago from United States

      An interesting article! Although I am not much of a restaurant food fan! This article touches some facts that all must know.

      Congrats for your hub being the Hub of the Week!

    • wildove5 profile image


      5 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      I own a barber shop and work evenings at a large chain restaurant. That being said, our servers are well educated in whats fresh and not fresh, homemade or bottled. We also are required to alert a manager upon any guest allergy. We also have several specialized menu's for guest with allergies. So above hubbers can rest easy knowing not all restaurants are concerned with just the bottom dollar. In fact, if you aren't happy more than likely you won't return or mention us to a friend. Which is the most damaging occurrence to the success of any

      business. I was happy to see you mentioned the not so easy to please customers as well. With a generation or more of people craving instant

      gratification it is difficult to keep everyone happy. If I could text you your side of honey mustard, I would. Be nice to your servers, they work hard to make you happy and of course usually a happy customer is a repeat customer and a good tipper! Great hub!

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 

      5 years ago

      Love the hub and I don't like hearing that typically fish is ordered twice a week. I like my fish fresh. I really enjoy your style of writing as well as all the info here. While I am not a waitstaff person, I do work in customer service and I agree that when you work with the public you are an easy target for people who like to bully and push others around. Nice hub. Voted up, shared and following you.

    • JoanCA profile image


      5 years ago

      When I was a teenager, I worked at a donut shop. One evening a customer ordered decaf coffee. I was about to tell her we were out but a co-worker rushed over and served her regular instead. I felt really bad because I know a cup of coffee in the evening would keep me up half the night. I'm probably a bit too honest for the food service business.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub! I am surprised to learn about the above mentioned points, especially powdered eggs! A well-analyzed hub! CONGRATS on getting the Hub of the Day! Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up

    • Relationshipc profile image


      5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I've worked at restaurants and I know that some of these are definitely true. (Plus there are some far worse lies that I had to tell in some pretty bad restaurants I've worked at.)

      As a vegetarian myself, I find that most waiters and waitresses don't really understand what the difference is between beef stock and vegetarian stock and absolutely will say 'yes' either way when asked if it is vegetarian. However, if you tell them that you have allergies after they say 'yes', then 100% of them (in my experience) well say -"Oh, uh...well let me check just to make sure." That is when you get the real truth out of them, and usually it is opposite of what they said.

    • onegreenparachute profile image


      5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      I agree - being a waiter can be very difficult. It amazes me how many people love having someone they can push around! Great article and congrats on HOTD!

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      5 years ago from USA

      MKayo - Nice that this article made HOTD. It took a while to get there, but here you are...

      Actually, I really enjoyed reading all of those comments in which folks put down the powdered eggs. You'd think that those nicely preserved fats and proteins were, instead, some sort of dried feces. Funny it is how people react to things they know nothing about...

      My own advice would be to act as your own waiter or waitress - eat in a buffet-type place where the boss is your own mother.

      Gus :-)))

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      The truth is, if every waiter tell their customers the truth about the menu and business, there will be no business. Nice hub. Congrats on the HOTD award!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I had worked for a popular European restaurant. Our president loves everything "FRESH" (note in bold letters). He had taught the cook staff to only use fresh whole "double yolk" eggs and crack them in front of the customers. One day, someone had leaked to him that a food station staff (who cooks omelettes) was filling a ceramic bowl of "liquid" egg from the back storage. You can imagine what happened next...

      I find this useful and interesting hub. Thank you, Mkayo and congratulations for Hub of the Day!

    • moizk profile image

      Moiz Khan 

      5 years ago from Pakistan

      Congrats on receiving hub of the day. You have great insight on this subject. This was...eye opening.

    • summerclark7387 profile image


      5 years ago from Beautiful Southern Oregon

      I waitressed for six years at a popular local business, and I have to say that most of these problems seems to be specific to large chain restaurants. I can say for sure that I was required by my boss to tell that our house dressing was homemade when it was not, although we did make a variety of others. I was also required to tell customers that our farmed salmon was wild caught-- this was required of me to keep my job, it was not something I liked to do. But the rest of these lies are just as disturbing and can give the wrong impression of waitstaff. Not all businesses allow this behavior, nor should you automatically distrust your server! I really think commercial chains would be the ones to look out for here.

      When it comes to allergies we were always very accomodating, and would bend over backwards to assure the safety of our customers, often specially making orders, and combing through the ingredients in our spices and sauces to be sure it is safe to use. It all comes down to being polite and treating your servers as though they are hard working people--which I can say that it is one of the hardest customer service jobs out there.

      This article should be considered when dining at large chain restaurants for sure, but in small locally owned businesses this treatment is rarely the case. That's why we should all support local businesses, because they don't take the powdered egg shortcut!

    • Nettlemere profile image


      5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I was amazed to discover that scrambled egg mix for some of the big diner chains comes in tetrapack cartons and is ultra heat treated to keep for a long time. I'm sure it probably tastes fine, but it sounds off putting and I can see why a waiter would claim it is fresh eggs.

    • Natashalh profile image


      5 years ago from Hawaii

      Of course specials are frequently things that need to get used up before a deadline! It's just like how things on 'sale' at the store are frequently nearing their expiration dates. Not weekly sale items, but take a look at the dates on some clearance things and you may see what I mean!

      I am always leery of asking any opinions of a person when s/he is at work. No matter where you are, that person probably can't honestly tell you. You will be told every item/dish is awesome, they love their job, and business is fine. It's just what 'has' to happen.

      I agree with you on these 'lies.' They're pretty common fibs in basically any service industry but, if you've never worked a service industry job, it would be really easy not to realize it.

    • iamvijay profile image

      vijaya kumar 

      5 years ago from Chennai, India

      awesome article and good explanation i think you have experienced it.

      Thank you,

      Have great day.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thanks for sharing more reasons why a home cooked meal is so much better than eating out. I have heard a few of these before. I won't share others that I know since there are many people who like to eat at restaurants :)

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      5 years ago from Illinois

      I've never even heard of powdered eggs before but I am fairly certain I will never order scrambled eggs again. And I'm not one for ordering the special of the day, but the idea that it could be food that is close to expiration or going bad ensures that I never will. Thanks for these tips from your insider's perspective and congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day.

    • M Zees profile image

      Muhammad Zeeshan 

      5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      today i developed a new respect for waiters. Very informative article, i hope most of dishes from now on will have great seasoning. In any case I'm sure ill know who to blame if something is amiss...

    • bumblehub profile image


      5 years ago from Philippines

      what a nice hub............very interesting!!

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      5 years ago from East Coast

      The above comment is an excellent example, a lot of people are allergic to a variety of things and they cannot risk cross or any type of contamination. It is sad and even unnerving to see when some waiters/waitresses attempt deceptions even when customer intuition is correct or they are actually caught. I understand some people are difficult but if they're cranky they should avoid going out to eat and for those that are working, they need to find something to cheer them up fast.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      I figured some of this stuff was going on, but when I see it in writing it makes me not want to go out to eat again. I agree that "most waiters are fairly honest, hard-working people who really want to do a good job." Still, I have caught them in lies. For instance, once I asked a waitress if the seafood and beef steak were cooked on separate grills. I am allergic to seafood, so I needed an honest answer. The waitress said the two were cooked on separate grills using separate utensils. She actually acted annoyed that I had asked such a question. Seeing the shady eye movement and body language of the waitress made me ask for the manager and the manager confirmed that both items were actually cooked on the same grill. The manager went further to explain that her son is allergic to seafood and would not let her own son eat at the restaurant because it would be harmful for him. The manager suggested that I not eat there and recommended a restaurant where she knew the seafood and steaks were, in fact, cooked on separate grills. I'm grateful for honesty. How about the person who gets regular coffee when they asked for decaf? Thank you for sharing from the waiter's point of view. I learned a lot.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Gail - Thanks for taking the time to read this Hub - sounds like it opened your eyes a bit - for powdered eggs anyway. Thank you for your comments and the vote up!

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      5 years ago from Kansas City - United States

      Ack! I guess I'll stop asking waiters and waitresses if this dish or that is I have no idea what "powdered eggs" are. Powdered milk maybe, but powdered eggs? I have spent only a few months of my life waiting tables, but I can tell you they do more than just add too much salt to rude people's food. If there is much of an issue, I would cancel my order and go somewhere else rather than argue with a waiter or waitress. Also, every once in a while there will be a report on television showing violations or some such things in restaurants. I think we really knew what goes on in some places we'd never eat out again. Voted up and interesting, (since there is not a "concerned"

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Kat, yes, I do think most waiters/waitresses will give an honest opinion about the food, but some are instructed to respond otherwise. It is prudent to know the management/staff and treat them well.

      CarNoobz - All I can say is "Wow!" Guess I'll never order a veggie pizza - EVER AGAIN!

      Thank to you both for the read and interesting comments!

    • CarNoobz profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I thought that credit card trick was pretty funny. Although, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end, of course. And so true about the vegetarian warning.

      When I was younger and worked at a certain pizza delivery franchise that shall remain unnamed, our supervisor...SUPERVISOR...bragged about how he would always spit on the pizzas that vegan customers would order ("I'll have the vegetarian cheese..."

      That sucks.

    • KatSanger profile image

      Katherine Sanger 

      5 years ago from Texas

      While some of these things do happen, they don't happen everywhere. I have been at multiple restaurants, and when we have asked waiters/waitresses what they think of dishes, we have gotten honest responses in terms of, "No, I don't like that." And, once you get to know your waiters/waitresses, they often give you tips on what to order and when. For example, at a local chain restaurant, one of the waitresses will tell me when to order nachos based on who the cook is that day. If you're friendly and tip well, service can always improve...

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for the read and comments savingkathy !

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very interesting article! I know what to look out for next time I eat at a restaurant.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      As always, a hat tip to you, sir billybuc! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Powdered eggs? Gag me! Thanks for the warning. I rarely order scrambled eggs and now it looks like I will never do it in the future. Nice info here.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Mommymay - great comments. Food allergies can cause a lot of problems for waiters that tend to stretch the truth to make their job a bit easier. There is a reason why honesty is still always the best policy! Thanks for the read an comments!

    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Interesting article! I was a restaurant general manager for about 15 years and hate to think that these things were happening in my locations BUT that being said, I understand that waiters/waitresses are busy and will do almost anything to get their job done quickly. Notice I said quickly not accurately. The see these things as shortcuts and not harmful to the guest but in the event of a food allergy- it can be! It is always best to double check with a manager or ask for the chef if you need to!


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