The Saddest Meals People Eat While Working in the Restaurant Industry

Working in bars and restaurants is tough. The money isn’t guaranteed when you’re working for tips, the shifts drag on (try standing for literally half a day, forced to be nice to people) and some guests act like straight up swamp creatures, especially with a few drinks in them.

It doesn’t help that you often don’t get too many chances to eat a substantial meal. Consequently, in the event that you’re starving but surrounded by food and drink, your standard for an acceptable lunch or dinner break can plummet. Here are some of the most unfortunate meals I’ve witnessed (and consumed) while on the job.

Honey Mustard and Cheese Tacos
I have a boss that snacks on these while he’s working. He also raves about “a good warm tomato,” which only makes me further doubt his meal choices.

Whipped Cream with Caramel Drizzle
When I was a Starbucks barista, I’d always be dying to eat but couldn’t go on break. So I would take a hot cup lid, fill it with whipped cream, drizzle caramel on top and slurp the whole thing down in the dish room. I thought this abominable habit was uniquely mine, but it turns out many of my coworkers did the same.

Strangers’ Leftovers
A server I used to work with would eat people’s half-eaten scraps off their plates after bringing their dishes back to the kitchen. Literally pizza crust with bite marks in it and unforgivably cold tots. Gag.

Too Much Coffee and/or Cigarettes
In my experience, it doesn’t matter what restaurant or bar you work at: everyone smokes and runs on caffeine. When you’re swamped working 12-hour shifts into the witching hour, or hustling through a Friday night dinner rush, sometimes a boge break is all you can afford. But once you’re up to a coffee an hour or a pack a shift, you should probably eat something (and you’re definitely running to the bathroom every five minutes because TBH both habits will run right through you, girl.)

Croissant Crumbs
I was a barista at a bougie cafe and there were these insane almond croissants with baked-on almond paste and almond slivers and ugh they were CRAZY. When I didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast, I always took it upon myself to refresh the pastries so I could eat the rogue almond crumbles at the bottom of the bakery box to hold me over.

A $3 Bartender’s Special Shot (Or Five)
Pro-tip: If there’s a $3 shot that isn’t just straight liquor (i.e it has a cute name you don’t recognize/is an alarming color/tastes like Capri Sun), odds are it’s a delicious concoction of the cheapest trash liquor in the well. Even we don’t want to drink it most of the time. But after getting no tip from one guest, an attitude from another and accidentally breaking a pint glass into the ice bin, garbage shots don’t sound so bad.

This is perhaps the perverted opposite of not getting a chance to eat during your shift. When you work in the snack bar or kitchen, you know exactly how inventory is taken (or isn’t). So when you inhale a double cheeseburger topped with mozzy sticks, nachos, six pieces of bacon and fried pickle chips with a side of barbecue sauce-drenched fries, you know you’ll take it to your grave.

Nothing At All
It doesn’t get scarier than this, people.