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Stop Blaming Servers for Restaurant Prices!

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several months, you probably know that inflation in our country is at it’s highest point since 1982. Seriously, the last time inflation hit this hard, Olivia Newton-John was singing about Jazzercise and E.T. was phoning home about it.

Prices are going up everywhere, from the grocery store to the airlines and every place in between. That also means that restaurants are even more expensive than they used to be. Menu prices, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have increased 7.2% between April 2021 and April 2022, which represented the largest 12-month gain since 1981. Rising inflation can’t be pinned onto one particular person or factor for responsibility. It’s a combination of a lot of things; supply chain issues, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, corporate greed, government, etc. But you want to know whose fault it isn’t? Restaurant servers, that’s who.

Look, customers, we get it. You’re not happy about paying $16 for a cocktail and $18 for a burger. We’re not thrilled about it either because we have to listen to you complain about it all the time. Theoretically, servers are making more money if people are tipping the same percentage as the prices go up, but that’s not always the case. Plenty of customers are playing the “I’m too broke to tip” card these days seemingly exempting themselves from the social contract that is tipping servers.

Stop using the impending recession as an excuse to justify being cheap. And even more importantly, stop blaming your server for the rising cost of restaurant prices. Your server literally has nothing to do with that. They might be in charge of stocking the restroom with paper towels or refilling the salt and pepper shakers, but they are not creating spreadsheets with a food cost analysis and determining how much to charge for bacon or avocado in a salad.

When consumers buy an airline ticket, they might grumble about the cost as they submit payment for it online, but they don’t yell at the flight attendant when they board the plane. When they purchase a pair of expensive Nikes they don’t get pissed off at the Foot Locker sales clerk and demand to see the manager about it. Yet, for some reason, restaurant customers are different. They think its alright to berate an 18-year old waitress at The Cheesecake Factory because the Pasta Carbonara costs $20.50. Stop doing that, it’s not okay.

We all go to restaurants knowing full well it’s going to be expensive. Everything is expensive now, that’s just where our country is. Even the double cheeseburger combo meal at McDonald’s is over ten bucks now if you choose large over medium. Accept it.

If you don’t want to pay the higher prices at restaurants, then stay at home and cook your over-priced groceries from the under-stocked grocery store. The next time you go to a restaurant and your eyes want to pop out of their sockets when you see the prices, take a deep breath and think about your options. If you don’t want to spend that much money, maybe have one cocktail instead of two. Or drink water instead of iced tea. Or split an appetizer with someone instead of having one all to yourself. But whatever you do, hold your tongue when you are tempted to complain about the prices to your server. If you do, they will smile politely and express empathy while trying not to tremble with rage. It’s not their fault  that restaurants are expensive. Stop blaming them for it.

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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.

5 Comments

  1. curious40
    May 18, 2022 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    part of being the front line for the company is hearing complaints. If the server did not set the prices, then they shouldn’t feel bad when someone complains about the prices.

    people complain to the person serving them. It the job of those servers to send the complaints up the ladder. Most folks don’t want to make a stink and ask for the manager just to complain about prices. If you are employed by the company, you represent the company and should be someone folks are allowed to complain to.

    If you don’t like it, go work somewhere else. Right now is the easiest time in history to get a job at a restaurant.

    • May 19, 2022 at 8:34 am — Reply

      “If you don’t like it, go work somewhere else.”

      Spoken like someone who’s never worked a real job in their life. Because job security is SO easy to come by these days, right? Anybody and everybody can walk right out their front door and find a job that fully covers their rent and offers full benefits, right?

      Telling someone to “shut up and just accept” abuse because their salary is on the line? That’s morally reprehensible.

      • curious40
        May 19, 2022 at 9:52 am

        Talk to any restaurant owner right now. They are DESPARATE for workers. Get a clue….

        And, I’ve worked service jobs since I was 15 and knew right away that some people work hard and others coast on coworkers hard work.

        If you don’t seek higher pay and better working conditions, you will never get it.

    • May 19, 2022 at 10:41 am — Reply

      Oh, you worked crappy jobs all your life, so everyone else has to, right? Sorry, I can’t hear your “hard work” bullshit over the fact that the world’s richest man is a South African trust fund baby who wants to buy Twitter.

      Your claim that restaurants are “desperate for workers” conveniently neglects the fact that the reason they don’t have those workers is because:
      1 – the workers can’t (not “won’t”, can’t) live off a minimum wage that won’t increase;
      2 – the workers who do take the jobs are getting sick from COVID (https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/restaurants/article/covid-labor-shortage-17177468.php ) – which, by the way, puts them in one of the most COVID-deadly professions in the entire world outside of teaching (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.03.29.22273085v2.full-text )
      and 3 – businesses reject potential employees all the damn time. Not just homeless people looking to improve their lives, not just ex-cons looking rebound, not just teens w/o experience. No, businesses reject potential employees every day only to say those same applicants are “lazy”.

      Someone once said that if “hard work” were really the key to success and wealth, then everyone working 3 jobs would be a multimillionaire. Given that billionaires do absolutely no work as their wealth increases during a worldwide pandemic, one doesn’t have to look far for the holes in your “just do the work” bullshit.

  2. curious40
    May 19, 2022 at 4:35 pm — Reply

    Not sure why you bring up rich spoiled brats. 80% of millionaires are self made meaning 20% are pieces of shit trust fund babies.

    I mentioned I’ve worked service jobs because you said I must have never worked a hard day in my life.

    Article is specific to restaurants. I am just giving the advice I’d tell my kids. If you don’t like your current situation, work on a way to get out of it. Suck it up until you can find other work. Right now is truly an historic time in terms of the job market and what employees can ask/get from their employer. Take advantage of the time you are in instead of hoping someone else will fix it for you.

    Can you find ANY employer right now in the bay area advertising for minimum wage work? Everything I see is starting wage above minimum wage. Not that it’s enough to live in this crazy cost area, but it is above minimum wage. Talk to restaurant owners and not an internet troll like me.

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