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The Right Way and the Wrong Way To Quit Your Restaurant Job

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There is a right way and a wrong way to leave your restaurant job. The right way is to submit a formal, written two-week notice. You then offer to train whoever it is that will be taking your position. Finally, you finish out your shifts with maturity and a sense of pride so that your boss will want to provide a reference for you in the future.

The wrong way is how I quit Bennigan’s in Houston, Texas in 1993: I told my boss I was going to the Taco Bell next door to grab a Mexi-Melt before my shift began and instead I got into my car and drove home, never looking back. I left Pizzeria Uno five years later after a pre-shift meeting when a manager berated every single one of us for secretly adding the gratuity onto checks and then getting double tipped. There were only a couple of people who were doing that and I didn’t appreciate being lumped into that category. After the meeting, I put on my coat and walked out the door. Someone said, “Hey, how come you get to leave so early?” “Easy,” I replied. “I punched out and I’m going the fuck home.”

Everyone understands how we should quit a job, but sometimes it just makes more sense to do it on your own terms. Here are eight ways you 100%, definitely should NOT quit your job. (The responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

Chris: I received a phone call at 9:00 am on a Saturday to come into work for a mandatory meeting about the condition of the kitchen. This was after working until 2:00 am the night before. My station was left spotless. I was told whoever’s not there will be fired. I said, “Well, I’ll save you a phone call, I quit!”

Michelle: I worked in a Greek restaurant and we were made to park 1/2 mile away. One night in a snowstorm I tried to park closer and the owner’s 16 year old son came out and scolded me for parking too close. I parked right where I was, went inside, stood in the doorway and told two managers and the son to FUCK OFF in front of the entire restaurant and never I went back.

Chyna: I brought in a cake that said “I quit.” Left it on my boss’s desk and walked out.

Courtney: I was told if I didn’t like things they way they were to leave the keys & get out, so I left the keys and got out.

Annie: My manager quadruple seated me (four 8-tops during happy hour and early bird). I took my apron off and handed it to her and said, “nope.” She called me the next day to see if I was coming in. I just laughed and laughed.

Dianna: I just quit a job a couple of weeks ago. My idiot manager said she was giving me a 30 day probation that would end on October 7th, for “poor performance” because I held the door open for an elderly guest, and made a table wait two minutes for their food. I told her to enjoy learning how to serve, because she could shove that probation up her ass. I flipped her off and walked out.

Deena Marie: I was a bartender at a dive bar. The owner put liquor in the wrong cabinet and when I opened the cabinet, the bottle fell out and broke. The owner called me an idiot and berated me in front of patrons. I finished serving the customers who were there and then walked to juke box. I played “Take This Job and Shove It” and walked out.

Teri: I sent a lovely postcard from Key West informing my boss that I quit.

None of us who left our jobs in these less-than-ideal situations can ever expect a glowing reference from our bosses, but at least we have a great story to tell. And in the long run, I think we can all agree that’s much more important.

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Bitchy Waiter

Bitchy Waiter

Darron Cardosa is a writer, actor, singer, and waiter. He lives and and works in New York City and enjoys "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and cocktails almost as much as he hates your baby.


  1. Jimmy Mike
    October 20, 2021 at 8:57 am — Reply

    My land is bare of chattering folk;
    The clouds are low along the ridges,
    And sweet’s the air with curly smoke
    From all my burning bridges.

    Dorothy Parker

  2. Bridget Baptiste
    October 21, 2021 at 9:28 am — Reply

    I worked at a local place, I was young and was a coordinator my best friend was serving with another girl (who was awful to me) I went to go grab them ice from the back, this chick screamed at me in front of a full dining room accusing me of taking a smoke break (when I was clearly getting them ice). I stayed calm looked at my friend and said I’m fucking out. We both dropped what we were doing and left on the spot.

  3. Cadence
    October 21, 2021 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    I used to work at this pizzeria that had a stingy boss. Saying that I use too much ingredients, despite getting a compliment from an Eastcoast guy. After working there for a couple of month, still on probation / training pay. I asked the boss when they would give me a raise to $10/h, they refused to give me any real answer, So I got on their work computer and started looking for work.
    When it came time for picking schedule, I gave the manager an impossible schedule: “I can work between 6-8pm on Tuesday and Thursday.” So that it doesn’t interfere with a real paying gig. I treated the pizzeria like an extra curricular thing: BS pay, free coffee and pizza.

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