The kitchens and pantries of restaurants are a strange and mysterious place to many people. We’ve all heard horror stories on the news about staffers committing heinous acts of food molestation or heard whispers that you should never eat the shellfish special. But the editors at Reader’s Digest went straight to the source and spoke to real restaurant wait staff to get the inside scoop.
Here are some highlights from RD’s list of Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You:
1. In most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I’ll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they’re all decaf.
2. If you’re a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I’m going to say yes, even if we don’t. You’ll never know the difference.
3. I’ve never seen anybody do anything to your food, but I have seen servers mess with your credit card. If a server doesn’t like you, he might try to embarrass you in front of your business associate or date by bringing your credit card back and saying, “Do you have another card? This one didn’t go through.”
4. Even at the best breakfast buffet in the world, 99 times out of 100, the big pan of scrambled eggs is made from a powder.
5. Don’t order fish on Sunday or Monday. The fish deliveries are usually twice a week, so Tuesday through Friday are great days. Or ask the restaurant when they get theirs.
For more than a dozen more secrets, check out the complete list at RD.com.
And if you have your own secrets from your time in the food-service trenches, share them below!
Thanks to Ashi for the tip!