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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.

4 Comments

  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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