Behind Kitchen Door (Online Writing)

What are the pictures, feelings, smells, sounds, and words that come to mind when you read the word “restaurant” or “restaurant worker”?  How has our discussions and the book (please give two examples) change what you think about/how you feel about “eating out”? What do you do with this information moving forward

300-500 words (direct quotes from reading encouraged!!!)

Last Day: November 6

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32 thoughts on “Behind Kitchen Door (Online Writing)

  1. To me what comes to mind when I hear the word “restaurant” is this Mexican restaurant my family and I would always go to when I lived at home. It is a little pink building at the corner or 6th and Bridge Street, with rose bushes lining the entrance. As soon as you walk in you are bombarded with the smells of melted cheese, and freshly cooked chicken and veggies. The walls are painted bright orange, with tile designs around the arches of the entryways to each of the sections of the restaurant. When I head the word restaurant worker, I usually think of the same restaurant, and the people who greet you at the front. I think about being greeted by a familiar face at the Mexican restaurant (usually one of the usual three people would be working the front). I think about the maroon shirts, and the black aprons they wear over their kaki pants. I also think about how busy the small number of staff works to keep such a large restaurant managed, and how they are constantly moving throughout the restaurant to keep it efficient. Like Saru Jayaraman, whenever you think about a restaurant, you only think about the memories associated with the restaurant, you rarely think about the restaurant worker as “ a human being, with a unique story, family, dreams and desires”. It is easy to get caught up in your dinning experience, and look past the individuals making that experience happen. Because the workers at the Mexican restaurant my family went to our church and we have talked to them outside of the restaurant, this wasn’t the case for those workers. But I am certainly guilty of this at other restaurants that I go to less frequently. With what I have read from the book, it gives me perspective of the restaurant industry through the eyes of the people that are employed in that industry and that wage is what they live off of. When the ROC had won the campaign against the restaurant that Floriberto worked at, it shocked me to see how much money ($164,000) the restaurant had to pay to the workers in unpaid wages. Also, through Jayaraman’s efforts over the last 11 years she helped win $6 million in stolen tips. That is a huge amount of money to be taken from restaurant workers who are living paycheck-to-paycheck (much like Floriberto was), and even on welfare. It is easy to think that most of the jobs within the restaurant industry are college students or high school students or kids saving up for college, but there are actually many people living off this source of income, and it is been cheated and stolen away from them, by the people they work for. It angers and makes me feel guilty that I, in a way, have contributed to this theft, even sometimes without realizing it. It makes me want to ask employees how they are treated and how they feel about the restaurant they work for, before I decide on a restaurant to eat at. It is hard to say what I will do with this information moving forward. I want to say I will stop contributing to this theft and mistreatment of restaurant employees, but it is hard to decide when to not go to a restaurant because of their mistreatment of their employees if it is not explicit to the public. I have already started going out to eat less, only about once or twice in a month, for money and health purposes, which is what I will continue to do, and when I do go out to eat, I will use my best judgment on where I will spend my money, not just for he meal, but who that will be going to at the end of the day.

  2. When I think of the word “restaurant” an image of a clean, pleasant facility comes to mind. The facility has many people sitting down enjoying conversation and delightful food and beverage. The smell I imagine is fresh in the main lobby and as one walks by tables sometimes a nice aroma of fresh cooked food is sensed. However, the way I imagine this scene to be is much different than most realities. After discussing the operations of restaurant owners towards their employees and the business itself, it is harder for me to envision such a pleasant atmosphere. The food we see looks nice, but what I had not thought of before was that sanitation standards are up to the restaurant owner himself, and how these standards are promoted or ignored is unpredictable. Jayaraman explains her investigation of a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse and the findings revealed, “the restaurant had numerous health-code violations, including insects in the kitchen, food kept out too long, and meat not stored at the right temperature” (Jayaraman 9). Knowing this about a “fine-dining steakhouse” makes me extremely uncomfortable going into any restaurant. It is the high -end restaurants that we as a community should be able to look forward to enjoying a quality meal surrounded by eloquent ambiance. Instead, this is just a mask covering the short cuts that restaurant owners take to make a higher profit. What I see is a trap that is only hurting the employees, which in turn puts the customers health at risk. Restaurant employees are only paid about $9.02 and hour according to the median national wage, and with 90% out of 4000 workers without paid sick leave, these people have no choice but to work while sick in order to make a living (Jayaraman 53). After reading this information I cannot help but wonder how a society so able to provide excellent service and still turn a profit, is more concerned with jeopardizing the health and safety of the people making this happen, referring the restaurant workers. I can never look at a restaurant the same way again. With such low wages I understand why waiters and waitresses are so concerned with getting good tips and trying so hard to provide pristine service, not matter if the customer is rude or friendly. My friends make fun of me and are on boarder-line embarrassed when I tell them that I want to ask the waiter where the restaurant gets their meat from; now I am less hesitant to ask. I am aware because of an interest in clean foods of the dangers in commercial farming and food processing that affects the quality of foods in big business grocery stores but had no idea of the health risk and poor treatment taking place in restaurants everywhere, fine-dining or otherwise.

  3. When I think of the word Restaurant I think of a place that has good food and pleasant people to be around. The servers are friendly and the kitchen is clean. Or so I would hope. After working in a restaurant for three years I know that what happens inside that kitchen and behind closed doors is nothing to be excited about. When I worked at the restaurant I was oblivious to a lot of the stuff that went on until I eventually caught on and didn’t necessarily agree with it. I cant even count how many times people would call in because they were “sick” but were seen at the bar the night before and I had to come in on my day off and fill in for them. Or last minute, getting a call from my manager to come into work 5 minutes before the shift started. Not only that but how the cooks didn’t wear nets over their long beards. The sanitary issues were definitely turned a closed eye to. We were paid minimum wage and could keep all the tips that we made that night except we had to claim our credit card tips because that is what shows up in their system. The cooks sometimes got tips if we were nice enough to give them some of ours and the dishwashers never got any. There was even a time someone got fired from stealing from the till. They would take someone’s drink order and then pretend to put it in the computer but then take the persons money for the drink. That’s how sketchy the restaurant business is. When you think of bad things about restaurants you don’t think about stealing and people getting ripped off from the tips they made. You think of dirtiness – which is a huge factor too. In our class discussion we talked about how if you had the perfect restaurant it wouldn’t be profitable. You would have to give workers time off and benefits, have strict cleanliness rules and strict employee training. In my opinion I don’t think a restaurant should have benefits or paid vacation because I feel like for jobs like that you should have to get a degree and go to schooling for. I think that all restaurants should be held to the same standard and a lot of them are not.

  4. When I think about the word “restaurant” I think about the restaurant I’ve worked at for three years. The bright yellow building with the old, rustic Italian front doors. The hard wooden floors and hand tiled floor in the bar, the spittoon under the bar, the 1940’s fireplace, the taxidermy on the walls, the smell of delicious food, and the sparkling chandelier by the staircase. I think about the country music that was constantly played, the satisfaction I received from serving people, and the historic pictures on every single wall. Most importantly I think about the people I worked with, how much turnover there was, my paycheck, my tips, health codes, and how I was treated as an employee. During class we discussed pay and tips and the whole time I was thinking about how I had worked for three years at the Woodman Lodge and never once received a raise, even when I was “promoted” from hostess to server. I also sat there thinking about how my boss made us tip out the bussers and hostesses, buy our own pens, buy our own wine bottle openers, he changed our paychecks from direct deposit to paper checks to save himself money, and he made us all pay the fee that the restaurant is charged for using customers’ credit cards. We discussed how most people that work on the floor are younger and generally only stay for a couple years. While that is true, I was the youngest server at my restaurant (everyone else was above the age of 24), the bussers were all under the age of 19 and half were Hispanic, and the hostesses were all girls still in high school. The servers basically worked there permanently, and the bussers and hostesses were constantly changing. My boss also couldn’t get a manager to stay for longer than 3 months, so we almost never had someone to enforce health codes, rules and create a schedule that was fair to everyone. In class we also discussed about hiring people based on looks. My boss believed that customers should come inside and be greeted by a young, pretty girl who is warm and friendly. A girl turned in an application to become a hostess and he didn’t hire her because she was overweight and still had braces. When this happened I was so shocked and my heart ached for the poor girl who was probably wondering why she didn’t get the job. I couldn’t stand up to my boss because he owns the restaurant and I was just a hostess then. This kind of discrimination is extremely unacceptable in my eyes and I believe that discriminating based on looks is the exact same as hiring someone based on their skin tone or gender. We also discussed who works in the front of the house and who works in the back. In the restaurant I worked at, all of the servers, bartenders, head chefs, and hostesses are white. While the bussers, runners, dishwashers and some cooks are Hispanic or African American. In ‘Behind the Kitchen Door’ Jayaraman wrote, “I started to see a pattern every time I ate out: white servers and bartenders in the industry’s highest-paying, front of the house positions, and workers of color employed as bussers, runners, and dishwashers.” (page 105) All of the things we have discussed in class make me not want to eat out anymore, unless it’s for special occasions. Thinking about how people work while they’re sick and touch food, and how workers are underpaid and taken advantage of makes me really want to stay home and make my own dinner. My view on restaurants has definitely shifted over the years. Before I worked in one I didn’t even think about any of the things we’ve discussed in class. After working in a restaurant for three years, I hated the way I was treated. Now I want to stay away from restaurants due to all of the discrimination, underpaid people, sick people working, and horrible treatment of workers.

  5. The first thing that pops into my head when I think of the word restaurant is food. Usually, I think of Mexican food, because that’s usually what I eat when I eat out. Other than that I try to stay away from the whole restaurant industry, which is hard as a college student. When I think of restaurant workers, I think of fast paced environments that are not very sanitary. A certain waitress pops into my head every single time. She works at a diner in my hometown. She is has a darker complexion, but I have no clue what her ethnicity is. She is always nice and she is always busting her butt to get everyone their food. I see her practically jog around on Sunday mornings. I have read Fast Food Nation and watched Super-size Me and Food Inc. I have a pretty good idea that I HATE fast food, but Behind the Kitchen Door taught me a couple of new things. When I think of the nicest place in Pocatello, ID to eat, it is Ruby Tuesdays. Now I would have never thought that a “fancy” restaurant would have such low standards. “We don’t just find workers serving while sick in a few ‘bad apple’ restaurants. We find these workers everywhere…”, Saru Jayaraman inform hers readers. This is insane to me, but totally believable. I have cut back on eating out, but then I come to think of our own dining halls, and I get nervous. I can imagine now, someone coughing into their hand or arm and all of the air borne particle that escaped from the surface that tried to block them and straight onto my enchilada, NOT COOL. The only problem is, The workers have NO choice. Most of the time, they work so they are not fired, or they work because that is their only option. In the book it tells us that, “Restaurant workers hold 7 out of the ten lowest-paying occupations in the United States, earning less, on average, than farmworkers and all other domestic workers.” This makes me feel bad because I am guilty of not tipping sometimes. I only do that when I spend all of my money on the food I eat, which is terrible! After class discussions and reading this book, I have decided to NOT EAT. That is all. Well, at least not eat out. If I cannot afford to tip, then I cannot afford to eat there.

    • Tipping is a tricky thing, especially being in college. Having worked in the industry I try to always leave a pretty good tip because I know it sucks when you don’t get one. I completely agree that you should not be there if you can’t afford to tip because a lot of times those people depend on their tips. I always get mad at my friends when they tip poorly and I have many that look for any little excuse to not give a good tip. Especially after taking this class I will always try to tip generously.

  6. The picture that comes to my mind when I read the word restaurant is a cute well decorated room where I get served food without having to work to get the food, and all I have to do is pay. I smell a mix of delicious food that makes my mouth water, and I hear a bunch of people causally talking when they are eating their food. When I picture a restaurant worker I see someone who is usually overwhelmed working there hardest to try to feed a bunch of people, who sometimes don’t even appreciate their food the way they should. I learned that “ ROC has found industry wide surveys that the vast majority of restaurants across the country pressure their employees to work while sick or injured- giving us, the diner, an extra helping of germs with our meals and putting us at risk for food born illness”(pg 47). This makes me not want to eat out at all, especially when you have no idea who is making your food, you have no control if they wash their hand before they cook you meal, you don’t even know if they are sick. Reading the book “Behind the Kitchen Door” has made me realize that it is inevitable for germs not to get in your food when you eat out. There is also an issue with working in the restaurant world with racial inequalities where white people get to work jobs such as being servers earning more money than, bussers, and people who work in the back that tend to be diverse, and not as many white people. In certain restaurants “servers earn about 150000 dollars per year, and the bussers earned less than 30,000 dollars per years”(pg 106). This is completely unfair for people who are different races other than white, when some restaurants use race as a factor if they get a job or not or even to get a higher paying job in the restaurant business. After reading the book I am going to move forward by trying not to eat out as much, and going to restaurants that are clean, and take care of their food.

    Jayaraman Saru. Behind the Kitchen Door. New York: Cornell Press. 2013

  7. Having worked in a restaurant for a total of two years at California Pizza Kitchen in Bellevue, WA, I understand exactly what the restaurant business has to offer and also how it is perceived by those in society. When I think of the word “restaurant”, I ultimately think about fresh food and service, and the quality of service that you receive during your experience. However, it also makes me think of the different racial problems that the restaurant industry has, and how a lot of people have problems and have even limited their times “eating out” because of the different bias and problems that are within the industry itself. When I think of “restaurant worker”, I think of work that demands quite a bit of labor and time, but receives not a lot of benefits back in return that is ultimately deserved in the long run. As we discussed in classes about the wages, a large sum of people in our society are not receiving the federal minimum wage, and are receiving less than they deserve. It is frustrating having been a worker in this type of environment and seen the time and effort that is required for these individuals to be successful on the job, and the lack of benefits that are given in return. As we discussed in class as well, there are a lot of racial problems within the restaurant industry. As we discussed in class today, African-americans are seen as poor tippers and cheap after they receive their bill at the end of their experience, and are given more feedback from their waiters than members of other cultures. For example, being a white male if I was a poor tipper, I would not nearly receive as much feedback as African-Americans commonly do, and this unfair perception is frustrating and completely unfair to me.

    • I completely agree, as have worked in the industry as well, its ridiculous how hard people work for so little. The hours, pay and benefits are all not great and people work so hard in the industry overall. The wages definitely do not cover living expenses for a family, which is an issues that many face. On one hand I know how hard it is for restaurants in general to make any profit, but this horrible treatment does not even begin to make up for that.

  8. When I think about restaurant work, I feel like I have a pretty spot on image of the conditions because I have worked in the industry for two years. My treatment has been better than most but there are numerous things that were still shocking to me. One of the main things was treatment towards me. Being young and a girl working with primarily men, I got a lot of sexist jokes and inappropriate comments made towards me that made me feel pretty uncomfortable. This was shocking at first but over time, I got much more use to it. The smells and sounds that come to mind are loud because the kitchen obviously has a lot of commotion. The smells are usually good, but another thing that surprised me about working in the industry was the condition of the kitchens. Many of the kitchens were pretty filthy and nothing was really done about it until our inspection was approaching. We then deep cleaned the kitchen in order to pass. This is where food is being prepared, so to me this is not sanitary and ethical yet everyone seemed okay with it so I pretended to be too.
    Some recent discussions and activities we’ve done in class recently have changed what I think about some things. For example, the activity we did where we created our own restaurants and the benefits our employee’s would receive was particularly interesting because I’ve never thought about it that way. Working in restaurants was difficult, the hours sucked, the pay wasn’t great and I worked so hard for not much reward. Yet I don’t support myself so it was okay, if I did and those we’re the conditions I worked it I would have a lot of problems. Also, I’ve never thought much about the industry in general having a lot of discrimination, yet the more we’ve talked about it of course it does. As I mentioned before, I had a lot of inappropriate comments made towards me as I was the only younger girl, I never really thought of this as discrimination before our discussions.

  9. After discussing the topic of restaurant workers and the restaurant industry in class recently, when thinking about how the restaurant workers are treated and how the majority of them are not being paid what they deserve, it makes me feel so disgusted and ashamed at some of the people in America. How the workers in restaurants have to live off of their tips because their pay of $2.13 an hour is all deducted from taxes while other states in the country, such as Washington, has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation of over four times the wage of the restaurant workers. When I now think of the managers of a restaurant interacting with their employers, I imagine the workers to get very irritated and frustrated with their boss. Having them not be the least bit understanding that the wage their employees are living off of is nothing to be able to support or provide for their family. It makes me curious of how many restaurants throughout the nation that is prejudice towards their staff members on which jobs in the restaurant they will allow to people of different ethnicities. For example, in Behind the Kitchen Door it states that the workers who earn the highest wages, which would be those who serve and bartend, are predominantly white (128). To me it also does not make any sense to when it comes to cultural based restaurants. It would make sense to have the workers who have a genuine passion for the food and know a lot of the culture behind it and are able to explain that, to be the ones serving the food, so when a customer asks about it, the response is spot on and does not have to be hesitant or an invalid statement. In recent research done by the ROC, they discovered that in the restaurants that mistreat their workers were “more likely to engage in unsafe food-handling” (9). Every time I go to eat out now, I want to scan the restaurant when I first walk in and see how the workers are spread out. Whether it be by ethnicity or gender. Now having a better understanding of the relationship between how the workers are spread out through the restaurant and how that can reflect on the sanitary of the kitchen and how that can also reflect on the quality of the food, makes me want to thoroughly look into the reviews of any restaurant I am about to go to.

  10. What comes to mind about a restaurant, before I worked in a restraint was clean and enjoyable. You come in to see families having a good meal; it smells of good delicious food. People are sitting at a bar having a good time and comes off as an overall happy sight from the view of the customer. After I worked in a restaurant my whole view changed. In the summer I washed dishes at a Mariana grill. Outside of the kitchen and dish washing station is very nice and the food smells amazing but when you wash dishes you discover the gross underbelly of a restaurant. Like most dishwashers, they have to wash dishes fast which can result in not cleaning one or two of the dishes. What might seem like a clean dish from the point of view of the customer, can be a bed of bacteria. It looks good from the outside when reality it could be very unhealthy and health-code violations can be missed for example when Jayaraman talks about the restraint she went to in Manhattan, “the restaurant had numerous health-code violations, including insects in the kitchen, food kept out too long and meat not stored at the right temperature” (Jayaraman 9). Other duties that follow the job of a dishwasher such as emptying grease, taking out the trash and washing down the floors completely change your view of a restaurant along with these readings makes me not want to eat out as much anymore. Other things that Jayaraman talked about such as people having no choice but to work when their sick because of the hourly rate there getting paid that dosent include sick leave. The idea of people coming into work sick and making food makes me never want to go a restaurant again.

  11. As the Author of the story I also loved when my family and I would go out to eat. We are a very traditional family so we would only go out to eat maybe once every 2 weeks. Since I was always so excited to eat out I always just thought about the positives and not the negatives that can be surrounding me. As a Hispanic my parents have always told me that I was going to encounter racism and people who are not fare or who think that are better than me. Since I was little, I guess I really never understood what that meant. The restaurant business is a great example. What comes to mind when I think of a restaurant is of coarse food, friendly people and happy costumers. This book has only verified some observations that I have personally made and have experienced. I have worked in two different restaurants and in both all of the cooks were of color and all of the servers were white. When I hear the word restaurant worker I think of hardworking people who take there job very seriously. I relate I restaurant with a very good smell of food and dishes clacking and people talking and socializing. When the book mentioned that mostly all of the cooks were of color I started to really look back and think about it. Every restaurant that I have been to or worked at this was true. Yeah there were one or two white cooks but not nearly as many colored ones. I know that cooks don’t get as much gratitude as they should get so I’m making sure the cooks get my thank you every time. When it comes to eating out this book is making me want to be more aware of what is going on all around me in the restaurant and not just what’s happening at my table. What I can do to move forward is basically make sure that I tip well because this book made me realize that some people depend on the tips to feed there family. My main goal from this book is just to be more aware of everything and make sure I do what I can to put a smile on these hardworking peoples face.

  12. When I think of restaurants two different images, for the two most basic categories of restaurants, fast food and sit down restaurants, come to mind. For fast food restaurants what I picture is mostly younger workers and mid-twenties aged managers. Having worked in a fast food restaurant for a year in high school, this was the basic layout I noticed. The pace is extremely fast and forces you to move quickly through tight space in the back kitchen. Sometimes these tight spaces are next to hot oil or grill tops and can be really dangerous. The smell is overpoweringly greasy, even when the prep areas are at their cleanest. Sit down restaurants ranging from Applebee’s to The Cheesecake Factory to Ruth’s Chris Steak House; I have a more professional image of. While some of the middle range restaurants still have a majority of young adults working wait staff and bussing, there is a more formal atmosphere and more attention to service. Through discussions in class and the readings I have learned about the high stress low reward occupations within the restaurant industry. I did not know, having lived in Washington most of my life, that there is a separate minimum wage for tipped workers in most states. Doing the budget activity in class based on Washington’s minimum wage was hard enough to make work as a living wage. This constant stress to perform and make their tips is accelerated by management staff which pressures them to do more and more, and at the same time view their employees as highly expendable. Recent economic hardship has pushed an even larger number of people into minimum or low wage jobs that the restaurant industry provides, but it has made getting and keeping these jobs even that much more competitive. I learned that “ ROC has found industry wide surveys that the vast majority of restaurants across the country pressure their employees to work while sick or injured- giving us, the diner, an extra helping of germs with our meals and putting us at risk for food born illness”(pg 47). This is one thing that makes me question where I eat out, especially because I have personally witnessed this type of pressure in the fast food industry. All in all I don’t think what I have learned will change my eating out habits, but has made me very aware of the inequalities and unfairness in the industry.

  13. My first job was in a restaurant, and before we talked about how usually the white people are in front and the “others” are in the back, I hadn’t even thought about it. That’s exactly how our restaurant worked. Although we did have Latinas/Latinos/ in the front, they were the whitest ones I had ever seen. I had never put two and two together. When we talked about the sexual harassment in class, I got flashbacks of weekends at my old job. The older men who were above us were very loose with their sexual jokes. I had always brushed it off. Some of the girls used this to their advantage and they were more promiscuous in order to get above and get more hours. I had always questioned why I only worked weekends while the other girls worked a lot more; there were several affairs going on. We had several managers and one was female; she seemed absolutely clueless about everything that was going on as she did pick favorites as well.
    I decided to quit after about 6 months because I couldn’t be bothered by working for such vile people. Now, I know that there was a server and a manager who have both been let go because of their infidelity. After working there, it was hard to see a restaurant as a positive place. I knew what went on in the back and I couldn’t get it out of my head. But I learned that not every restaurant is like the one I worked for. There’s a lot more going on than we all know; badly paid servers, discrimination, and abuse.
    Every time there was something to be celebrated, whether it be getting an A on the extremely hard calculus test or my friend getting a job, we always went out to eat. I don’t know what it is about being in a restaurant, it brings people together in so many ways. Where I come from, there were rarely any restaurant workers who I wouldn’t tip. They were all so welcoming and friendly. I had always thought of a restaurant as a happy environment for friends, families, and strangers to come together. Now when I think about a restaurant, I feel bad for the workers there. Even though some may not be getting paid the right amount or their money is being taking from them, they still manage to have a smile on their face while serving us.

  14. When I hear the word “restaurant” or “restaurant worker”, the only thing that comes to mind is my experience of working in a restaurant. The insults and stereotypes that were made against me. The images that come up were the images that I saw in the restaurant, full of white males and females all around there walls. The music that played at points was very racial. The book of Behind The Kitchen Doors, it’s not that it changed my view but it made me open my eyes in how this restaurant industry is different through out the states. For example where she talks about the how the servers had to take out money from there pocket to pay the difference. I was a host at a BBQ restaurant for about 2 years the only reason why I didn’t move up to be a server was because by the time i got the position offered it was a bit to late, but also because of the things the servers went through. Like when a table would walk out because they would be really busy they would have to pay that at the end of the night, basically any loss that was done to the restaurant it was always the servers fault because they are the ones serving the guest. I simply do not believe that, it also has to do with the management. The thing is you can’t even put an input to your management because one where i worked at the management was always changing and the district management only came by so many times a month, and you were not allowed to complain or else you would get fired! Such as my case, I was fired because I told the district manager that i was not happy with my hour, I was a student in high school playing sports and i was still working 40+ hours, sometimes i worked a double shift with out a break and why because I was the Head Coordinator and no one else was trained for that so nobody could cover my position. This idea of not letting people move up was a major issue. Eventually because of that they needed me back so they hired me back. Nobody really thinks about the inequality that goes on behind those kitchen doors, or who are the other people that are responsible for your food. For me they placed me in the back of the house when i first started to play, I soon realized a trend there was all minorities in the back of the house, the only reason why i got moved up to the front was because i was a female and i was young and thats what guest like to see based on my manager. I’m not a fan of going out to eat, but when i do it’s mostly family run restaurants, I feel that their environment of workers is a little different because sometimes it’s mostly family working there, but I always make sure to tip as in what the service and situation is.

  15. When I think of the word “restaurant” I picture a place that is clean, smells good and a place that you enjoy paying good money to receive great service and quality food. Now a days people eat out much more often than say when our parents did, so there are more restaurants around to provide service. I envision happy people working there and having a good waiter or hostess is very important to me because I am paying money for their product. There are so many restaurants in America that do not make it and close down after a while because the food business is very difficult. So the restaurants that stand out and do a good job usually survive under circumstances. Atmosphere is a really big picture in my mind for dining. There are a lot of things that go into atmosphere like the heat of the building, the noise, the busy waiters and bussers running around. I like a fast past place that is fun to be at so atmosphere is big for me. The food is obviously a huge part of this discussion but it is not the only part. No one likes to wait forever for their table or to have a dirty table when they sit down so those contribute to how my experience at a place is.
    I mentioned a lot of things above. Some are small, personal things that only I care about and some are things that everyone is concerned about when they enter a restaurant. Reading over all the things I wrote over, if I was a waiter I would be sure to mess up at least one of those things and I before taking this class and reading our book I may have not given my server the benefit of the doubt. But I have realized that servers and workers have so many things to do and a lot of pressure on them most of the time. I have never worked in the industry and truthfully because of this class do not plan to. This book and course has opened my eyes to so much about the industry. On detail that really jumps out at me is a how one server had to cover money lost from a dine and dash incident. I did not like how this was handled because it is not like the server chose to be their server. I really thought the restaurant should have had the employees back there. If employees are not treated right then they do not like their bosses which correlates with bad service.
    In discussion we talked about how servers make less than $3/hour some places that are tipped. This class has made me realize the value of tips to workers and how much they really need them just to maintain a livable salary. My family eats out a lot at home and I truly would have never known the problems associated with the restaurant business without enrolling in CES 101.

  16. To me a restaurant has always been a relaxing place. The comfortable booth seat that I get to sink into after waiting 45 long minutes, the drinks that will cure my thirst and the food that is just what I’ve been craving. Of course the positive energy, food quality and relaxation level depends on the restaurant, but I come from a family who rather starve six hours and dine-out on a delicious dinner than stop for lunch.
    The positive feelings I get when I think about restaurants however are not matched when I think of the diner I used to work in for about a year. I’d walk in and instantly the greasy breakfast smell would latch to my clothes and skin, I’d hear a light murmur of customers chatting, cheesy diner music, and loud clashes of silverware and dishes. I was the typical teenage restaurant worker; incredibly low wage, disrespected my customers, inappropriately looked at by older staff and not taking any action against it whatsoever. The discussions in class really hit home for me because looking back, I was treated horribly, and I just thought that was the way it was supposed to me. Like Saru Jayaraman says in her book Behind The Kitchen Door, “It’s strange that most of us spend so much of our time and income in restaurants and yet think so little about the restaurant workers. They perform the most intimate acts for us- cooking and serving our food, typically act reserved for a parent or a partner.” This is an extremely interesting way to put it. I remember distinctly serving some families their drinks, and quickly being judged for not putting a child’s milk in a sippy cup or not assuming the mother wanted coffee, too. I was expected to know small, personal about the family as if I ate with them at home every night. Waitressing is a rather personal job. Because of this, you’d think tips wouldn’t be so low… but that too is wrong.
    My restaurant experience is forever changed because I know what the workers are going through behind the scene. Special points to the servers that smile and laugh with me even if I come in for a bite to eat with twenty minutes left until closing. The ability to smile and be kind to people who disrespect you all day long is a skill I admire people for, because I know how hard it is to keep up the image of the perfect, cheerful waitress. Moving forward, I will never short a tip again. Also, if someone screws up my order, I won’t be rude about it. People make mistakes, especially cooks and servers who have been slaving away for hours on end barely earning minimum wage, and I am now far more understanding of these people.

  17. When I hear the word “restaurant” I think of the atmosphere of a nice sit down restaurant like the Cheesecake Factory. You hear the clicking of forks on plates and idle chatter among the patrons, a classy place you go to with your family on special occasions. When I think of the word “restaurant worker,” I associate it with the host, or the waiter that I interact with when attending a restaurant. I rarely think of the other half of the work staff that is in the back. Our discussions of Behind the Kitchen Door and the readings have helped me realize that while my experience at a restaurant may seem like fine and dandy time with my family, the experience of the workers is far different than mine. The waitresses that are serving my food with a genuine smile on their face are probably not happy at all with the job they have. Tipped workers are given a wage of $2.13, the tips of the patrons are supposed to cover the difference so that the workers reach state minimum wage an hour. If the workers don’t reach this minimum after tips, the restaurant is supposed to supply the rest. In Claudia’s case, the management made her report tips she didn’t receive so that the restaurant didn’t have to pay her the difference. Another unjust thing about the restaurant industry is how women are treated. “There is a $4.50 wage gap between women of color and other workers in the restaurant industry.” All of these injustices have made me rethink my support of the restaurant industries. I will still go to them, but my tips will be higher and I think that the laws about wages needs to be reformed. This seems a relatively easier goal to accomplish than that of abolishing the race issue that also engulfs the restaurant industry. Change will take many years for these ideals to disappear but it is necessary for equality to rule the restaurant business instead of discrimination and improper pay.

  18. When I read the word “restaurant,” frankly, I get hungry. I start thinking of restaurants I’ve gone to and the different smells and tastes depending on what kind of food is served there. I start thinking of a fast food place like Mcdonald’s and I start seeing a bunch of workers in blue polos working as fast as they can in the back The smell of french fries coming out of the fryer starts to creep in. Also, I think of a menu and picking something out of it and waiting a while until the food is brought to the table and the steam filled with good food smells rising out of my plate. However, when I see the words “restaurant worker” I first usually think of servers and cook. Although I also think of myself, I think of the restaurant where I used to work, probably because that restaurant had the word “restaurant” in its name. It reminds me of the baskets of chips and glasses of water I had to take to newly seated customers, I also think of the messes I had to clean up when customers left their table. The smell of the all-purpose cleaner on my hands after wiping down a dirty table, or the sight of the guacamole stain on my white shirt cuff are some things that also come to my mind when I think of “restaurant worker.” To the question of whether or not the discussions or the book has changed my mind about “eating out,” I would have to answer yes and no. Yes, because, as Jayaraman explicitly mentions, many of these places we love going to have “…numerous health-code violations…” Even before this reading, as a restaurant employee, I had personally seen these violations. I have seen disgusting things that go on at the restaurant I worked in. This reading though reassures that these things aren’t just happening in the restaurant I worked at but almost at every food place. The reasoning behind my “no” answer is that these workers don’t make that much money, the average wage is about $9.02 according to Jayaraman. That low wage comes with no benefits whatsoever. At the restaurant I worked at we never heard nothing about health benefits or anything like that, instead we felt like we weren’t getting paid the hours we worked. So if I don’t want to stop “eating out” because me going to eat benefits in some way a worker at the place I go. If everyone stop eating out then restaurant workers would have it tougher. In the game we played with the class where we came up with a budget for different scenerios we saw what hardships these workers have. With all the information I have moving forward I would say I will continue eating out but being watchful of where I eat so I don’t get roaches in my food.

  19. usually when we talk about “eating out” it gives us a feeling which we are encourage and reward to ourselves. because eating outside is always more expensive than eating at home. and in our common sence, more expensive means better. at least in china parents may bring children go restaurant because they get an “A” or some other well done in school. Or hosts want to entertain guests. They can be very forthright to say “let’s go restaurant.” usually these kind of restaurant will more care about their own sanitation. At least in people’s impression they are. And there are kinds of “restaurant” in china. The Roadside food stalls. they are like panda express size, but usually dont have any license. Most of them have bad sanitation. however even people can seen they are making food by hands which just touched money.(many chinese food need direct made by hand, not like panda’s Frozen packaged lunch.) Turn a blind eye is usually people chosen. Because this is where people who dont have time to make lunch. as well as my choice when i in high school. Those food stalls always dont have a Isolated separate kitchen. And Less than 10 square table. But it is still filled with people at noon. you can directly from the store to see pedestrians on the road. The store is not very clean, but doing something good to eat. (Although it may also not quite clean). When you walk into a place where have lunch frequented, boss will greeting you when he entertaining other guests. my lunch experience when i in high school make me more understanding what Jayaraman said. Working in a restaurant is not a simple task, your meal is bound to be upset. And the meal time you have to deal with a large number of customers, whether in the foreground or kitchen. In fact, those small restaurants I went to when i was in high school, their Cashier and stove are generally in same region. And only 2-3 person doing these things. I have talked with some restaurant owners and waiters.Everyone has their own stories and difficulties. these small restaurant near the school‘s price is not high, because the students do not have much money on lunch.The components of the lunch had to be adequate as students are developmental stages, usually can eat a lot in lunch . And they always chose restaurants can eat fill and cheap. so they always choose puerile. However, this will make quality of food declined, waiters get less wage. It is a vicious circle. In my opinion, restaurant should be as a senior dining places. but not place of looking for cheap fast food. If you want to save the daily expenses, then try to make your own lunch, which is what I recently doing. Buy a lunchbox, bring your lunch to school.
    To do so is good for improve the environment of restaurants and youslef at the same time.

  20. Behind the Kitchen Door
    When I read the word “restaurant” or “restaurant worker” the image that pops in my head is similar to like a Red Robin or Olive Garden. The restaurant is welcoming, family oriented, and affordable. I smell freshly baked bread sticks. It’s loud with the sound of customer chatter and the kitchen staff banging dishes. Other words that I think of when I hear restaurant is food, money, hungry and yummy! Our discussion in class makes me want to not eat out but I still find myself going and sitting down at a restaurant. In the book behind the kitchen door the author writes “The centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning each year, and 3000 of us die from it”. (Pg. 44) Thinking that if I eat out I could die sounds ridiculous and if I were to ever say I don’t eat out because of my chances of dying people would look at me like I’m crazy, I would even think I sound crazy. You think that it would or could never happen to you but so did those people who are no longer here. To top it of people have been reported to work while sick. “Two-thirds of all restraint workers reported preparing, cooking, and serving our meals while sick.” (pg. 53) That is 75% of people who our serving us while we eat out. I want so bad to not eat out and risk my life but I know that for me that is unrealistic. To be 100% honest the information I learned while reading this book is not going to change me and how I live my life. The information will just sit in the back of my mind while I eat out or even worse I’ll forget it.

  21. When the word “restaurant” comes to my mind I think of it as a nice place to bring your family and get a good meal. A long with that I’d think of many other people with their families enjoying a nice beverage and meal. The smell that I imagine is that of a fresh place to eat and every once in a while when a waiter or when you walk past the kitchen you get that amazing smell of an aroma of fresh cooked food ready to be served at your pleasure. In reality though the way I imagine this is not usually the case in many restaurants today. During our in class discussions and discussions with the book this has changed how I feel and what I think about eating out. After the discussions of how badly many employees are treated it’s hard for me to see a nice atmosphere where everybody is happy. Even though the food I see looks good, I did not know that the sanitation standards are up to the owner himself, and I really don’t know whether the owner promoted or ignored these standards. By me just knowing that it scares me in the fact that even though a restaurant has the looks of being a high luxury place, you never know if the owner of it took shortcuts to make a higher profit for himself. As I move forward with this information I will take more precautions in where I eat at. A long with that I will be aware of the fact that even though a restaurant looks nice that sometimes that is usually not the case because in today’s world many people are lazy and will take shortcuts on their path to success. Also with all this information I will also discuss it with my friends because they don’t know about what’s really going on behind the kitchen door.

    • I completely agree with your notion that you never know what you are going to get when sitting down at a restaurant. it is very important to be sure where you are eating is credible. Do you think there is solution to quality control in the restaurant industry? is so what? Are cretin places not safe to eat? Should there be government intervention?

  22. When I think of a restaurant I think of fine dining and Bellevue, Washington. I’m from Seattle and whenever I think of going out, I think of dates and nice places to go eat for birthdays or some type of special occasion. Being black in society today, I have always been predisposed to predominantly white places and it has always been brought to my attention that I’m usually the only black person in the room or one of the few black friends that my friends have had. So when I go out, it’s always surprising to me when I see black people working at upscale restaurants especially in “the front of the house” helping people and serving them. For me, I always try to get into the section that has the black person working and always try to acknowledge their existence in one way or another. The $4 rule is very real and it’s no secret that black people all over the world are struggling to be perceived as equals, even to this day. Blacks are suppressed so much that it has led them to try and demean the few blacks that make it out of the standard and into the upper rankings of the World. When I’m at a restaurant, I feel as if I try to tip more and really appreciate my waiter or waitress more if I can connect with them on a certain level. Not in a flirtatious way or anything. But, if they look like they make an honest attempt to treat me as a special customer and don’t treat me like a little kid or someone who doesn’t deserve to even be in the restaurant. Then I will treat them exactly the same way and tip them what I perceive is the type of service I received, regardless of race. Although, I will admit to being much more lenient when it comes to black people. This class and the whole atmosphere of the book has opened up a different side of me. I’ve never been familiar with the restaurant industry and I always thought that they were paid minimum wage + tips. So I always wanted to be a restaurant employee growing up because I thought they made a ton of money through checks and even got to leave work with huge wads of cash. Only to find out that they make peanuts compared to even the most basic jobs such as janitorial duties and fast food workers. In a sense I understand the business aspect of the industry where workers are a dime a dozen. You don’t need any particular skills in the industry outside of cooking, everything else can be learned. But, as a humanitarian, I feel for restaurant workers like Claudia, much more now that I see the inner workings of the industry and the harsh lives that restaurant employees live behind their kitchen doors and the maximum opportunities they have in their lives is just sad.

  23. To me what come to mind when I hear or read the word “restaurant” is two different types. One where a man takes his lovely wife to dinner for the anniversary and it is clean and lighting sets the mood and everything is calm and serene and the smell is of flowers and the waiters and everyone is happy like in a romantic movie. I also think of a family restaurant such as Red Robins where there are happy families with their kids or a group of friends out for dinner and I think of the words happy, fun, and smiling. I just picture people smiling have a good time at the restaurants. I usually think of happy memories because whenever I read the word restaurant I just imagine all the wonderful memories I had at restaurants I have never had anything bad happen to me. Saru Jayaraman finds, when one thinks about a restaurant, one typically associates it with memories. I agree with this assumption as well as her hypothesis on the idea of a restaurant worker. Whenever, I read the word restaurant worker I just picture I man wearing a nice tux serving dinner with a big smile on his face or a happy young girl serving a family and making jokes with them. Jayaraman find one rarely thinks about a worker as “a human being, with a unique story, family, dreams and desires.” I almost never ask why the worker is working at the restaurant or what they what to do with their life or anything for that matter. I also typically when I picture a worker think of a handsome of attractive white employee. Jaryaraman found this to be an actual case as she writes, “ I started to see a pattern every time I ate out; white servers and bartenders in the industry’s highest-paying, front of the house positions, and workers of color employed as bussers, runner, and dishwashers” (105). I notice that I myself have never taken into account the discrimination against colored workers in the restaurant industry because I never paid any mind to it. This makes me feel guilty seeing as I am a multi-mixed race and my family has had to endure this type of treatment and I was fortunately blessed with not having to deal or worry about discrimination. Reading the book and listening in class lectures has widen my eye about the discrimination against different races including my own and how my family has worked to get to a place where myself or my brother would never have to worry about it. This has change my perceptive on eating out as well because now I will take into account on how hard the waiters and waitress must be working to get even a living wage and how tips really do matter being as before I gave little. Also that everyone has a story and each story probably has some hard times in it. And that when I go out I will look around to see if there are even colored workers out in front and if not this would turn me off from the restaurant. The only thing I can do to move forward is to be grateful as well as more conscious of the surroundings at the restaurant and how some might be sick or discriminated against.

  24. After some time of pondering this question this is what I thought of. When I think of the word “restaurant” my mind pictures a place where you sit down to eat a gourmet meal, which is not located at home. The smells of the delicious food being cooked as well as served are very strong and have the ability to make my mouth water just at the thought of it. Next, when I think of the word “restaurant worker” my mind immediately thinks of tips and how, color of the server, gender of the server or busser and what position they hold in the restaurant. In class we learned that 20% of restaurant workers earn living wages and that 96% of restaurant workers who earn less than minimum wage are people of color. As well as 80% of whites in the restaurant industry work in the front of the house, where as 67% of Latinos work in the back of the house. This makes me sick to think that just because of someone’s race, gender, and color determines their position and how much they are getting paid, all which I believe is totally unfair. Due to these circumstances I will be more aware and observant of what is happening in a restaurant and if I don’t agree with something then I most likely will not eat there again even if the food is good, because I do not want to help a business that I do not agree with how they are treating their employees, ect…This makes me want to tip the men over the women or ask for service from the back instead of what I am given or workers from the front. Lastly, I would like to work in the restaurant industry to help change these problems or stop them from occurring and help promote equality throughout the restaurant industry.

  25. Well, it depends on what restaurant it is but what first comes to mind I think of strong pungent smell that can be distinguished from a mile away, typically McDonalds fries. When I think of a restaurant it is usually a feeling of comfort knowing that my hunger will be subsided and I am going to get to choose what I eat. Some sounds that come to mind when think of the word restaurant are the sounds of burgers sizzling and French fries frying. The same thoughts come to mind when thinking about a restaurant worker, smelly, underpaid, sometimes drug affiliated people. After discussing in class for many weeks about the behind the scenes of the restaurant industry it has made me change my thoughts when thinking about going to eat at such a place. Learning that the people that restaurant workers are so mistreated makes me question the integrity of these massive companies and question the quality and safety of what I am consuming, with only profit in mind these company’s have put food quality as well as employment benefit on the back burner. I worked on a food truck for two summers now and gotten to see the restaurant industry first hand. Where I worked all employees received above minimum have and were compensated with scholarships if earned as well as health benefits. There seems to be a tendency with smaller companies in the restaurant industry being more healthy, and fair to their employees as opposed to the large corporations such as McDonalds who tend to short most of their workers and working conditions. Moving forward I personally will be more self-conscious about where I go out to eat and who I will be giving my money to. I will not be going out to fast food nearly as much, because of the disgusting environments they chose to partake in. all in all I will be going more to places where I work, a place where the customer and employee come first.

  26. When I think about the word restaurant a whole entanglement of images run across my mind. The problem is I’ve been in various different countries, where the word restaurant, as a tangible being looks, smells and sounds different, when compared with the image of restaurant carried here in the United States. In regards to the US, when I think about a restaurant, I usually think of the franchise it drags along with it. Wendy’s, Applebee’s, Mc Donalds, I hop etc. To me, the image of an “American” restaurant usually carries a kind of tasteless image. Grease, packaged frozen meat left to freeze eternally in a refrigerator, women almost always working over time while being sexually harassed by their “greedy” obnoxious managers. Almost often, when I walk into a diner, I smell sugar. Cooked sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soda pop, extra maple syrup and whipped cream for those stacks of pancakes and waffles, meat cooked in a type of sauce, simmering, juicy and laced with sugar, and different preservatives, because nothing is authentic in an “American” restaurant anymore. Why is it that, when I think about an American diner, I envision the elderly at almost every table? I see a mother working extra, to support her two children, a gentleman in his early 60’s working as a manager, because he got laid off at his previous higher paying job. Now don’t get me wrong, there are two extremes to this picture. One being, a restaurant that does not give a second thought about the quality of food it provides its customers, to another restaurant whose motto is “Highest Customer Satisfaction”. Organic butter from an organic cow, who eats organic grass, but did they forget to mention who looks after the cow? Who feeds them? Milks them? Butchers them? Do they get treated fairly? We only see what’s visible on the surface, but never dig deep enough. When I think of restaurant workers, I think about a mother, grandfather, son- all with one motive in mind, to make bread and butter for the families. However, as an average consumer, I almost never think of that, in fact ignorantly, I think “Good, he’s working for his college education”.
    The discussions we’ve had in class have been an eye opener. For instance, I never knew that active restaurant workers could earn $2.13/ hour, and still be counted as minimum wage. However, knowing this, I’m not sure if I should support a restaurant that treats their employees this way, or if I should support them, knowing that I’m contributing at least something rather than nothing. Women workers who are interviewed in Saru Jayaramans “behind the kitchen door”, share their stories of how they are sexually harassed at work, their low salary pay and gender divisions. For example, a younger Caucasian female who has no family to support would be hired as a hostess (higher paying job) because of her looks rather than an older women , who has 2 children to feed. This takes us to compare the workers at the “back of the house” vs the workers who work in the “front of the house”. Front of the house workers are almost always Caucasian, young and attractive, while the workers at the back of the house are usually minorities, busing tables, cooks and dishwashers, almost never getting the opportunity to advance.
    Knowing this, I move forward, not back. I will not retrace by steps by eating at diners or fast food. With this knowledge I’ve learnt I will be conscious of what I eat at restaurants, what restaurants I eat at, in mind of what state I’m in as well. I think another good way to go about this, is by educating my friends on how to tip and think about where the food on your plate comes from.

  27. When I think of the word restaurant I think of a place where you go sit and eat food with friends or family. Red Robin is the first place to come to mind, even though I haven’t been there in a while I have really good memories of being at Red Robin. The environment is always welcoming, the service is great, and there is literally one everywhere you go. That has always been the “go to” restaurant for birthdays, graduations, or any type of special occasion; you get good food at a reasonable price. When I think of a restaurant worker, I used to think of just a normal person that helpful and happy to be working but now I think of a restaurant worker as a under paid, under appreciated, hard working person. Ever since we have talked about the minimum wage of restaurant workers I think about it whenever I am out eating. The workers seem happy and upbeat, it doesn’t even seem like they are only making two dollars an hour. I feel kind of bad having them wait on me for an hour and serve me a meal that cost more than triple what they’re making that whole time. In lecture we talked about how a majority of workers are women and they probably have children and are living paycheck to paycheck, it is very upsetting to know that we trust these people enough to handle our food but we cant pay them a decent amount so that they can have a good meal.

  28. After having read “Behind the Kitchen Door” and our discussions during class lecture, my view of restaurants, despite my having have worked in multiple, has taken a virtually 180 degree turnaround. Whenever I had previously eaten out at a restaurant, whether with family or friends or whoever, I have always enjoyed a sense of poise and elegance (excluding fast food restaurants of course), especially when eating at a high end restaurant. But, as a Black and White American, after learning the statistics of restaurant employers’ treatment of employees of color, women, and simply just the underpaying, undignified way in which restaurant employees are treated, I cannot help but be disgusted and outraged at such an horrific and embarrassing national atrocity. If only 20% of restaurant employees receive a wage they are capable of living off of, I cannot help but feel shame in our nation’s efforts – the most affluent nation in the world – in the rectifying of this issue. And it is not even only financial complications that restaurant employees face; people 90% of restaurant workers in the front of the house are white, with 67% of those in the back of the house being Latino. And not to mention the fact that female restaurant employees have to deal with extensive sexual harassment (sexual harassment in restaurant industries is 5 times the national average). I have personally experienced a taste of the injustice and segregation taking place in the restaurant industry during my time spent working at McDonald’s. Although I was working in Pullman, a college town tending to have more liberal, equality-minded people, it still came to my attention that I, along with almost every other non-white employee, consistently worked in the back of the house preparing food as opposed to serving it directly to our customers. During my interview my boss asked my preference as to whether I would want to work in the front. As I wasn’t sure at the time what each job entailed, I asked her about the specific duties of each. She responded to me by describing in great detail the many tasks required of people working in the back of the house and then went on to say how due to my superior athleticism I would enjoy working in the back. She didn’t even tell me the most basic requirements of working in the front of the restaurant. As I was in need of a job, I felt coerced into choosing to work in the back of the house, as she clearly wanted me to.

    The question for someone such as myself now is whether or not to continue to take part in attending the restaurant industry. I honestly doubt that I will never attend a restaurant again. But since I am now more aware as to the plight of those working in the restaurant industry, I feel more obliged to at least make an attempt to spread my knowledge to those who are presently as ignorant as I used to be. Furthermore, I do wholeheartedly decide to attend restaurants as rarely as possible from now on; although to be honest after having learned all that I have about the restaurant industry up to this point my interest in going out to eat has been all but eradicated.

  29. Restaurant and/or restaurant worker can mean entire different things. A five star restaurant can come to mind, while a fast food restaurant is still considered a restaurant as well. But personally, when I think of a restaurant I think of the one that I worked in for two and a half years. I worked at a Mongolian grill. Just thinking about it as I type this I can instantly smell the newly cooked meals ranging from garlic kung pow sauces to the simple teriyaki. I can hear the muffled conversations, the grill frying and children screaming in awe as the cooks would do spatula tricks for them. Being the host I would be constantly stressed, scanning for any dirty tables, open tables, or people waiting to be seated. At my restaurant the host is also the busser so that was also in my mind as well. While reading this book, it only confirmed that every restaurant is fairly the same. “ I started to see a pattern every time I ate out; white servers and bartenders in the industry’s highest-paying, front of the house positions, and workers of color employed as bussers, runner, and dishwashers” (105) This sentence is particular applied to my restaurant. Although my restaurant was considered Asian we did not have one Asian worker! When I started in the back making salads as an appetizer I did with another girl of color as well. In a matter of two weeks I was in the front hosting already while she stayed in that position for a couple months. I do not believe my boss consciously did this, but the pattern kept repeating just as it does in every restaurant. The other part of the restaurant I can identify with is this: “Two-thirds of all restraint workers reported preparing, cooking, and serving our meals while sick.” (pg. 53) Servers at my work had two young children and a wife to support; many are in their late twenties and early thirties. The only way they can provide for their families is the tip money they can count on every night. To survive they have to go to work, no matter how sick he or she was. We didn’t have paid sick leave, and the tips were bountiful so they would endure terrible colds throughout all of their shifts just to have that money to put back in their pocket. I used to think my work was unique and every restaurant was different in every way. “Going out” to eat I would sit there and wonder what the atmosphere was like working there, but after receiving this information I understand it’s the same thing- different building. I am no longer surprised and moving from here I know, even if I switch to a different restaurant, the issues will be the same.

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