Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Save the Condiments!

Psst…not any running in this post, but definitely for the health/socially conscious. A call to action.

As you know, by night, I am a bartender in a full service restaurant, which means we serve food. If you are looking for full service, I might suggest a couple seedier places in town where your twenty bucks will get you more than a couple beers and an appetizer. However, as someone who has to scrape the plates of my patrons before handing them off to our underpaid and under-appreciated dishwasher, I have recently been seeing a disturbing trend.

Allow me to cut to the chase. If you don’t want it on your plate, JUST ASK for it not to be there.

My case in point: Last night a couple in their mid-twenties came in for a late night meal. I did not blink an eye when they both ordered cheeseburgers, because their physiques rivaled the pin-ups on my daughter’s wall. They were, in fact, easy guests because they knew what they wanted and didn’t modify their order at all. Basically, I didn't have to write anything down. I actually have mad skills and can run a table of six without pulling out a pen, but I digress. On my Point-Of-Sale computer, their order took all of about six keystrokes. But here is the rub.

Both proceeded to eat their entire meal which consisted of burgers, fries, and beer. However, both of them discarded the accompanying bun for their grilled cow. I say discarded because they just left them on the plate, completely untouched.

Folks, this is WASTE! Trying hard to not trip on my pedestal, it is asinine to order food that will not be eaten. In the food-service industry, it is my job to accommodate your every request. I hate tomatoes. I like tomato products, and diced tomatoes, but whole slices of tomatoes on my burger is revolting. Same with pickles. Therefore, when I order out, I request for the tomatoes and pickles to be left off. I recently made this request at a local brew pub here in town when the server retorted, “But they are on the side.” My point is this: it is not an issue that those things are on the side, my point is that regardless, I WILL NOT EAT IT! It will be thrown away, hopefully, in a reputable establishment, anyway. Trust me, we don't eat the leftovers off your plate, or recycle your buns, or pickles, or tomatoes, or onions.

With rising food costs and starving people in our country, the amount of waste that is generated in restaurants is appalling. And you wonder why it is getting more and more expensive to dine out. Granted, our cost of two burger buns is less than fifty cents, but it adds up, quickly. And guess who we pass those costs onto. Yep, you, the consumer. Or non-consumer, if you, for some reason, can’t make your wishes known.

Seriously, folks, those of us in the industry would much rather have to push a few more buttons on our computer than to perpetually throw away hundreds of pounds of food every night, just because your diet or tastes restrict you from eating it. Gone are the days of hand written orders, thrown on a wheel for a line cook to decipher. You don’t want the bun; I push a button that says, “No Bun.” You are not a pain in the ass, unless, you are just being a pain in the ass, but otherwise, we are very happy to keep you happy. Our livelihood depends on it. Just don’t push it. I’m not picking the mushrooms out of a mushroom glaze for you. Deal with that and move them to the side. But Save The Condiments!


  1. I'm with you. If you consistently don't eat something (like a bun or pickles) ask for it to not be there. Easier for everyone!

    PS: you will never find me coming to your bar and asking for a beer and not finishing it. Just sayin'. and one day I will be in there. I'll surprise you!

  2. This post makes me go hungry...

    --kizzy oakley