If you don't know the ins and outs of food service, it can be difficult to identify huge problems before they become huge problems in your tummy.
The smallest, most innocuous things--or even things that may seem like they're too good to be true--can really take a toll on your wallet, your stomach, your health, or any number of things later. Diner, beware!
Here were some of those answers.
I Don't Wanna Know What A Sneezer Even IsGiphy
If employees try to argue with you about food quality in order to dissuade you from sending something under cooked back, just leave. It means they have a cook who can't take criticism and your chances at getting a sneezer are greatly increased.
A Pleasant Surprise
I remember my trip to Malacca, Malaysia. We walked up to a stall where an elderly lady was squatting down just in front of the sidewalk with a plastic basin and washing the dishes in it. Stray cats were coming in from the alley and licking at dishes.
My first question was "is this a restaurant?" Upon closer inspection: yes, it is.
My second question was "who on earth would eat here???" Then our guide brought us inside. Looks like: we are.
Food was amazing and delicious and despite fearing the worst, nobody got sick.
Morale Is Important
Pastry chef here. As much as people say avoid specials, I can't speak for everyone but at least in desserts/breakfast pastries, if you see something new it's worth trying. Chances are it's something the chef has been working on for weeks on their own time, there's a lot of love and effort put into it.
Also, the standby if the menu is a book, it's probably not great.
The biggest thing to keep an eye on though imo is the staff. If there's pissed off people, get out as fast as you can obviously. If everyone is kinda apathetic and not talking to each other much, get out. That's also a sh*tty environment, everyone is probably really passive aggressive, and that's going to show. If people seem genuinely good with being there even if it's busy or if there's playful ragging going on, that's where you want to be. The better the staff gets along, the better everything in the place runs.
Can Carpet Just Die
Not a chef but worked in food a lot.
Carpet. Yeah it's quieter and doesn't get slick, but it is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. I saw them pull it up when they remodeled (and put in more carpet). Vacuuming only goes so far in a restaurant and I know they never, ever shampooed it.
More Concise, Please
If a restaurant has a one-page menu that's usually a pretty good sign, it means their line cooks have become specialists and can usually nail all the dishes listed.
Conversely, if a restaurant has a giant, multi-page menu that's a gigantic red flag. The longer the menu the better the odds that you're paying to eat a boiled bag frozen meal.
The first thing they told us in culinary school when you're learning the basic rules for food safety standards is if you enter a seafood restaurant and smell fish, leave.
All From Waitstaff
I've worked in restaurants for over a decade. A couple years in the kitchen and the rest as FOH.
If your server's response to "how is the [item]" seems disingenuous, that's a big red flag. We know what goes on in the kitchen, we know the complaints, and we know which items to stress over when we deliver them. Servers who pause or seem uncomfortable with that question generally equates to a menu full of stuff we wouldn't eat even as a free shift meal.
A GOOD sign is when servers hang out and eat at the restaurant post-shift. Generally we are getting a discount but not free food - if we are spending our nightly tips on it, it's worth it.
This Is Why Presentation Counts For 25% On Chopped
Waitress here! if you see any food coming out that's messy and theres sauce all over the rim of the plate, etc, it's likely to mean that the chefs aren't putting much effort into their meals and they therefore will not be very good. All the chefs at my work find it SO important that everything is presented well and I agree, so if they miss something I'll check the plates and point it out which they always appreciate as it reflects well on them.
Yikes On Capitalism
Businesses with a bunch of signs/specials out front. "Lunch special: 4.99$!", "free appetizer from 5-8pm weekdays!", "BOGO main course Wednesdays all day!" That kind of thing. Usually means they're going under and are trying to drum up business. Unless they're a chain.
Regular lunch/dinner restaurants that start to offer brunch. #1 brunch service is the worst, chefs hate it, and are usually disgruntled, #2 brunch is a money maker, companies charge over the top for thin pancakes and orange juice with a splash of 4$ champagne. Sudden brunch means the place is trying to make more money, charging double and using chefs that don't want to be there.
Reviews where the owner is arguing with the reviewer. I saw an argument on yelp where a lady complained her chopstick or something was moldy and gave them 1 star. While it was super unfair to give a 1 star over something they didn't do, the owner got into it with her and they started fighting on Facebook. Owners that are willing to yell at people who are spending their money are likely to treat their staff the same or worse. Meaning their employees are either pissed, or the turnover is high and no one is trained well.
The Final ListGiphy
I've done bartending/waitressing for a few years, here's my list:
- First of all, ignore the bathrooms/kitchen thing, the people in charge of the kitchen generally aren't in charge of the bathrooms, and it's normally the servers job, if the restaurant area is busy we're gonna skip that when we can, but we'll probably give it a quick tidy if we use the toilets.
- Most places opt for paper menus, because they can just be chucked away afterwards, it's cleaner this way, however if the table is sticky (and the restaurant area is quiet) then there's probably a few other sticky areas.
- Check your cutlery, most cutlery barely gets washed, it gets rubbed with soap, sprayed with water and chucked in a dishwasher, it's then meant to be polished with hot water when it's brought to the table set up area, this is where we actually check it for leftover grime. If your cutlery is gross, chances are your wait staff aren't doing their job properly.
- Don't order fish on Sunday's, most places get their fish deliveries on a Monday and on a Thursday, fish goes off fairly quickly and on a Sunday it's really not great.
- If your server has long hair and it's not tied up check for hair in your food, kitchens tend to have really strict rules on their staff and you rarely see them with hair down and makeup on, if there's a hair in your food it's probably from your waitress.
- If your (hot) food is out quickly your chef was probably a microwave
- If your server visibly has a cold and is still working, don't eat there, they're either not paying their staff enough to have days off or they're forcing staff to work in conditions where they shouldn't be handling food, the kitchen staff probably get the same treatment and probably have the same illness
A Greasy Good Time
This is late but I clean kitchen exhaust systems. If you walk in a restaurant and can smell grease walk out. That means the place isn't clean. From the exhaust system to cooking equipment.
We clean some places where grease drips off the hoods onto cooking surfaces.
It's Like A Red Flag Parade
Please god be clever about ordering. If the place is grubby (such as table not cleaned) staff are just sat down in the restaurant, you hear insane shouting from the kitchen etc don't order sh*t like lobster.
I've worked in the industry for 10 years and a year ago went to Spain with my boyfriends family. They all decided on a restaurant they wanted to go to. The restaurant was in a busy area but was quiet (red flag 1) the menus were dirty as were the cutlery already laid out on the table (red flag 2- and yeah I asked for replacement cutlery) the there were more waiters than customers and most were sat down one was drinking at the bar (red flag 3) there was about 50 dishes on the menu (red flag 4) and I saw flies all over (red flag 5) i ordered a vegetarian salad because I didn't trust meat from there at all and told my boyfriend he should do the same. He didn't listen, nor did the rest of his family. They all decided to go for chicken or seafood. They spent the next 2 days vomiting. I enjoyed the next 2 days in the sun.
If there are to many items on the menu. If you have 50 combo choices, man you know half that stuff is frozen, old, canned etc. Nothing is gonna be great like an In-N-Out burger. It's all gonna be 'meh'
A National StandardGiphy
One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet: the amount of ServSafe certificates posted on their wall.
ServSafe is a national food safety training course that all managers have to take and pass to become managers. It is required in all food service establishments and for every ServSafe-certified employee, there should be a certificate visible to customers(similarly to health inspection).
So basically, the more certificates you see, the more employees that work there who truly understand food safety. It's an incredibly tough test and you have to actually understand the material in order to pass.
Check your dishes, cups, cutlery.
Mood of staff.
If it has an open kitchen it's probably half decent.
Cleanliness of place, clutter, etc.
If your plate is hot it doesn't mean your food was microwaved. Every restaurant I've worked in has kept their plates in a warming drawer or oven to keep them hot.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Not a chef but from personal experience: if its a small chinese restaurant and they have a tank holding live seafood -- BUT THEY DONT CLEAN IT -- that place is definitely going to give you a brutal case of food poisoning.
If you insist upon eating at such a place I suggest you tip heavily (if ordering to-go) or heavily flattering the waitstaff and/or asking about what's fresh (if dining in).
Whenever someone requests you to back up whatever wisdom or knowledge you just imparted, you somehow doubt if whatever you verbalized is actually true.
Without explanation, sometimes you just know things to be absolutely true. Call it your gut or strong spidey sense, but many of us have these moments where we are at a loss for words but innately know something to be undeniably accurate.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor TheToastyNuts asked:
"What do you swear on your life to be 100% true?"
These Redditors had very specific memories or thoughts.
"I look good in the mirror. I look terrible in photos."
What Are The Odds
"That the printer will always run out of ink or that the paper will get jammed when you're already rushing and stressed."
"Happens all the time."
"The makers of baby wipes intentionally wrap them in a way so when you pull 1 out the container you get 2-3 and waste them because they are a bitch to put back in."
"Every cart I pull at Walmart has at least one square tire."
Shoppers And Drivers
"The way people drive and the way they use a shopping trolley are directly linked."
"If I’m having a bad day it can always get worse."
The beauty of the movie going experience is the fact that we all have different interpretations. Some, however, are very unique.
Goonies In Theaters
"The first time I saw the movie The Goonies in theaters, there was slightly more footage to the movie. Just a few camera angles and scenes here and there. I watched the movie twice in the same theater during the original run, and only opening night had the longer version. 2 weeks later when I saw it again, they played the normal version that is considered official now."
Honey, I Forgot The Scene
"I swear there was originally a scene in Honey I Shrunk The Kids where the neighbor dad flicks his cigarette butt over the fence and nearly burns up his own son. It's not on any home release I've ever seen."
If there was an evolution about America's favorite snack, we missed the memo.
"They changed the Reese’s recipe."
"The chocolate is hit or miss - sometimes it's amazing chocolaty goodness and sometimes it's all crumbly and tastes like ash. But NOBODY ELSE KNOWS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT AND GOOGLE DOESN'T EITHER."
That Waxy Flavor
"A lot of candy companies have switched to vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter in their chocolate and it makes a huge difference in taste (I think). The candy with the vegetable oil always tastes and feels waxy to me."
"I've thought they changed the recipe for Reese's for awhile now too. The ingredients still show cocoa butter though so maybe they changed something else. They're certainly not the same."
I find that if you ever change lines at the grocery store because the one you're in seems longer than the others, you are gravely mistaken.
Because the moment you step out of line, the new line somehow becomes much longer.
Come on. We all know this to be 100% accurate.
Anyone managing to hold down a steady job during challenging times is generally understood as admirable.
Honest living, as they say, is something that is commendable.
While that is true to some extent, there are certain ways people earn money that is frowned upon by others who view the work as completely objectionable.
Curious to hear what some of those might be, Reddtor UlyssesWatson asked:
"What is one profession that you have absolutely zero respect for?"
Those who hawk knock-off merchandise or fraudulent services to unsuspecting customers are seen as total shysters.
Not The Real Deal
"People that create artificial scarcity."
"Televangelist priests who have hundreds of millions, don't pay taxes, and tell people they don't love God if they don't keep donating. Preach. Have a TV church. But don't scam people out of millions a month! There was one guy, Jesse Duplantist, who told his followers that God wanted him to have a new jet, and they needed to give him $54M to buy it because his current jet was outdated. Kenneth Copeland defended his jet, saying that he couldn't be expected to get on a crappy plane full of dope heads and demons. Excuse me? You mean the people who you're supposed to serve who send you money?"
Behind The Facade
"Kenneth Copeland looks like a demon wearing human skin but the skin is getting old and can no longer hide his true form. Idk but I hate looking at him, I get a sense of evil and malice emanating from him."
Solicitors and job recruiters don't have your best interests in mind when they're thinking about collecting their paychecks.
It's All An Act
"Those recruitment people for fake talent agencies. They do these whole presentations (often in person!) to get new actors and models to sign up at the end with an initiation fee sometimes in the thousands. A lot of the people being scammed don’t know the company is a scam until afterwards when they look them up on Yelp or the BBB. The recruiter usually seems legit. I don’t know how they sleep at night knowing that’s how they make the entirety of their income."
"I almost got scammed into one of those as a 14 year old. My best friend and I begged our parents to take us to a 'modelling agency' recruitment event. Of course we were both "accepted", but then they had to speak with our parents, to get the money. My parents saw right through it. They didn't explain right away why they were saying no, and I was so angry and said terrible things to them on the way home. Later they explained that they thought it was suspicious, and that if they wanted my 'talent' they should be offering me a contract and money, not the other way around. My friend's parents did fall for it, and it turned out to be a pretty much just what they used to call 'finishing school'. It was basically classes on 'society/social etiquette' and other bullsh*t. Stuff like 'don't put your dirty napkin on your plate' and proper table settings and what utensil is for what."
"It was Barbizon."
"Bro I could barely handle working at a Wells Fargo call center back in 2012. They hounded you to try selling anything and everything to every person you talked to."
"Customer has $3.27 in their account and has overdrawn 15 times in the last 2 months? Better try getting them to sign up for another checking account (which usually had monthly fees) and also get them to apply for a credit card for overdraft protection. Supervisors didn’t care. You were expected to pitch something to every customer you talked to. I hated myself every minute I worked there."
Getting Off Pitch
"When I worked at guitar center I had to pitch the following to every customer one after another no exceptions."
"Pitch the credit card, if no pitch the layaway, if no pitch trading the gear they own. No matter what they buy pitch the pro coverage (warrenty$) don't forget to pitch the string club, and don't forget to pitch the lessons. Do not fail to mention that we offer rentals. Do not fail to get their phone number, email, and address before they leave. Assure them that we will not call them."
"Don't forget to call them and pitch the upcoming sale..."
A Cult Following
"Network Marketers (MLM) are the worst."
A Grand Scheme
"I lost my wife to an MLM. She refused to believe it was a pyramid scheme. Like, only 50 people out of the 200k involved made any real money. How is that not a pyramid scheme? I have a sticky post on my profile about my experience."
This is not how people usually seek fame.
Star Of Her Instagram
"Some local influencer took a video of me walking my dog yesterday by the beach and posted it on her insta. I looked through the hundreds of comments last night when someone sent me the thing. Many of the comments are vulgar."
"I think it’s a d*ck move to film someone without their consent for clout."
If you feel good about how you've earned your money at the end of the day, you've hit the jackpot.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of others.
Even though we always root for the hero in film, television and books, it's often the villain which lingers in our memory.
From Captain Hook to Regina George, it's hard not to admire their calculating, duplicitous ways, not to mention their often snazzy attire.
Interestingly, the villains who often terrify us the most are those that we find ourselves relating to in some capacity.
If it doesn't necessarily justify their actions, in the end, being aware of what led them to become what they are makes us all the more fascinated, and even more terrified of them.
Sometimes, we might even find ourselves flat out rooting for them... Is Miranda Priestley really the Devil in The Devil Wears Prada?
"What villain was terrifying because they were right?"
Deep Down, His Mission Was Noble
"Magneto is my favorite villain of all time."
"Every time his motives are brought to light I get that 'yeah, I kinda get it' moment."- IdentifiesAsATroll
"The holocaust survivor, not wanting his species genocided."- Chasingtheimprobable
Progress? How Awful!
"None of you said the most terrifying one."
"Mojo Jojo from the Powerpuff girls."
"He wanted to bring free energy and advanced technology to the people."
"And in one episode he actually did."
"He made the world an amazing place."
"And then the Powerpuff girls ruined it all."- TheMustardisBadcartoon network GIFGiphy
Can A Hero Really Be A "Menace"?
"Mr. Wilson from 'Dennis the Menace'."- Monsterenergyboi
Sharing?!?! How Awful!
"Stevie from Wizards of Waverly Place."
"Her entire goal was to stop families from giving up their magic to just one person in the family."
"Like…we’re really supposed to be rooting against her?"
"It just seemed super out of character for Alex to go against that plan."- LunarRabbit18
A Lapse In The Force...
"Count Dooku just straight up told Obi-Wan that the Sith control the Senate."- dmatred501christopher lee GIFGiphy
Even More Ironic Today...
"Red Queen 'Resident Evil'."
"I have locked down this facility to prevent a world ending virus, please could you 'good guys' pay attention and not blow holes in the doors."- Not_invented-Here
Bees Have A Way Of Riling People Up!
"Ken from 'The Bee Movie'."
"I too would go absolutely berserk if a talking bee stole my girlfriend and gaslit me into thinking I was crazy."- _shes_a_jar
Villain, Or Just Responsible Parents?
"Aria’s parents on 'Pretty Little Liars'."
"They’re villanized for not letting their high school daughter date her teacher?"- clarabelle220Pretty Little Liars Love GIFGiphy
Seriously, She Broke Into Their House And Damaged Their Property!
"The bears from goldilocks and the three bears."- throwaway_0x90
Sometimes the best part of rewatching your favorite movies, particularly after a significant lapse of time, is noticing things you didn't notice before.
Such as the fact that Ferris Bueller''s Ed Rooney might have only been making sure that a mischievous socio-path didn't get away with constantly feigning illness.
Or that The Parent Trap's Meredith Blake's anger might have come from the fact that she was nearly drowned by a pair of 11-year-olds.
Making one question, who is the real villain here?
Ice cream lovers of the 90s fondly remember Viennetta, an ice cream cake made of ripples of vanilla ice cream and compound chocolate which made one feel like they were eating something they'd be served in a high-end patisserie, and not found in your supermarket's frozen aisle.
While Breyer's discontinued Viennetta in the late 1990s, Good Humor delighted fans when they began to redistribute it in January of 2021.
If Viennetta could find its way back into the frozen aisle, one can't help but think about other long-discontinued things we would love to see back in action.
Be it a flavor of ice cream, potato chip or soft drink, a former TV show, a festival or parade, or even modes of transportation, who doesn't occasionally find themselves falling down a nostalgic rabbit hole and wonder "if only..."
"What discontinued thing do you really want brought back?"
One And Done
"Paying once for work software, like Microsoft word or Adobe PDF, and actually owning it thereafter without having to pay a monthly subscription fee."- dusmeyedin
So Much More Than Instructions
"Physical video game manuals or magazines."
"They were so f*cking cool before and then they decided to just stop doing them."-
Film Over Digital Any Day!
"I grew up looking at photos my amateur photographer father took on the stock."
"When I got old enough to start taking pictures myself they discontinued it."
"Nothing captures colors quite the same way."- iehsuenwomen in film cinematography GIF by This Is What A Film Director Looks LikeGiphy
Bring Back The Lock And Key!
"Not having to download an app for everything."
"The pool at my apartment complex is only accessible by scanning a QR code on a specific app just for the pool now."
"It's ridiculous."- LowerPatience207
The Way Apple Pie Should Be!
"Deep-fried McDonald’s apple pie."
"The one from the 1980s to 1990s."
"The one that was crispy and the temperature of molten plutonium inside."
"That was the best."- newnhb1
"Getting a poster that is a map of the game world with the purchase of a game."- Bubbly_Information50
"Surprises in the cereal boxes!"
"Not the 'enter two codes inside on our website' bull."
"Actual, physical THINGS in a package floating somewhere in that box of Cheerios!"- sathil-42general mills cereal GIFGiphy
Cake In A Box!
"The Philadephia Cheesecake Bars."
"I loved the strawberry ones, I can't remember if there were other flavors."- CrimsonRaven712
Everyone's Entitled To Their Opinion...
"The dislike option on YouTube."- TheKillerNut
Those Were The Good Old Days...
"Borders bookstores."- TripotapusRexPeople Hello GIF by InnovatorsBoxGiphy
From horseradish and cheddar potato chips to Game Boys, we all have things we wish would make a return.
However, sometimes not having access to things we once loved is just what it takes to encourage ourselves to try a new experience.
...Only to find it discontinued five years later.