By Marie Beachdale
Sunday, July 15, 2012, Surfside Beach - One of the major advantages of working in a restaurant is, without a doubt, the free food-- whether servers are given a free meal every day or enjoy grazing on back line extras, the opportunities to snack at work are plentiful… but at what cost?
Working in a restaurant where you actually enjoy the food can be problematic. Some of my coworkers and I have learned the hard way that a daily diet of leftover fries, chicken fingers, hush puppies and other deep-fried delights is hell on your waistline, and probably not too spectacular for your health, either.
Then there are the slow days at my restaurant, when the cooks want to test their skills and whip up new concoctions with any available food. Naturally, all of the servers play food critic for the day and try everything out. I’m pretty sure I have tripled my daily calorie limit in just a few short hours on days like those, throwing any of my diet plans straight out the window.
But aside from the obvious health issues that could result from hours spent snacking at work, there are also drawbacks from a business standpoint-- all of those free sodas, sandwiches and desserts add up. If five servers eat a full meal at work in just one day, the restaurant could be losing up to a hundred dollars or more in inventory.
Sure, that’s generally not something servers worry about. But those types of lost profits lead to price increases, which can mean unhappy customers who might not be as willing to leave big tips.
Speaking of customers, they probably don’t want to see a bunch of servers standing around eating, anyway.
A few weeks ago I was dining out with my mom, and while we were waiting for our food I noticed our server and a few others walking out of the kitchen chomping away, some with fries or bread in hand.
“I really hope they aren’t eating off of our plates…” I thought.
Yes, I have actually seen that happen before. After the cooks put plates in the window, servers will walk by and take fries or other various small items to eat before the order goes out. It’s wrong, it’s gross, and it definitely shouldn’t happen.
I didn’t think about it again until our food arrived. Our server placed our plates on the table, and cheerily asked us if there was anything else we needed. As I looked up at her to tell her we were fine, she flashed us a smile…
…and her teeth were full of food.
It looked as though she might have eaten an Oreo cookie before delivering our food. Black flecks peppered her otherwise pearly-white smile. I held in my laughter and silently reminded myself that I need to make a conscious effort to stop snacking on the job. I would be absolutely mortified to approach a table with teeth looking like our server’s, and once I thought about it, I probably have already!
I know when working in an environment giving quick and easy access to delicious snacks, it can be difficult to see the reason behind bringing healthy alternatives to work with you, but it’s worth it in the long run.
And that's what we do every day - a long run (or fast walk, anyway) with some weight lifting. We get a workout.
Just imagine it's an obstacle course set up at a gym, and part of the workout includes getting from the treadmill to the dumbbells without stopping at a french fry dispenser.
We can do this.
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