Eat it up: restaurant employees share their stories

Many high school students work as part-time employees in the food service industry throughout the summer and during the school year. Below are experiences of students who have worked at restaurants, whether high-end or fast food, with responses edited for length and clarity.

Carry-out worker Jeremy Cohen, Japanese restaurant: When customers order online, there’s a description box for notes. One woman ordered and hadn’t written anything. Later, her husband called saying she was pregnant and couldn’t eat fish eggs. He asked if we could remake one of their rolls that had fish eggs, but we could only do that if they bought another one, since they forgot to specify on their order. Hearing that, the wife took the phone from her husband, started screaming about our customer service and left a one-star review, a very well-written one too. After this incident, employees held a meeting to go over how to handle this type of situation.

Hostess Emmy Kiggins, modern American restaurant: I was on my way to serve an outdoor table of guests who had a dog. As I carried a tray of four or five waters in one hand, I tried to step over the dog. Instead, I tripped on its tail and spilled water all over a woman, and it was Mother’s Day. There she was, having brunch for Mother’s Day, soaking wet.

Greeter and cashier Maddie Konopka, American casual dining: On one of my first shifts, I noticed the ranch was running low, so I went to the back and got a new bag. I poured the ranch into the container and then pumped a couple times to make sure it was working. Then, I realized what was coming out was not ranch. It was a mix of blue cheese and ranch. I didn’t want to make a scene and throw everything out, so I left it there. As the night went on, no one mentioned anything until around 9 p.m. when one of my co-workers asked if there was blue cheese in the ranch. I told him I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about, but a couple months later I confessed that it was me.