The 5 Stages of Food Coming Back

Nothing can disrupt a smooth enough night like food coming back through the window. The rail is full of tickets – special orders, VIPs, add-ons and big-tops. But you and and crew can handle it all… until you see Carl the Host heading your way with a plate in his hand. Food coming back is part of the job, but it’s also one of the worst things that can happen on a busy shift.

Here are the 5 stages of dealing with food going the wrong way through the window:

Denial – I didn’t put mayonnaise on that. You must have the wrong table, or maybe the customer doesn’t know what they ordered. I checked everything on the expo. This isn’t the right burger…

Anger – What do you mean they’re allergic to eggs? No one is allergic to eggs. Did you make a note on the ticket? In pen? In the red pen like we talked about during standup? This dumbass backwards unsophisticated Hell’s Kitchen watching bridge and tunnel weekend warrior yelp reading yelp reviewing mother-yelper has no idea what a good burger even tastes like MUCH LESS AN EGG MUCH LESS MAYONNAISE!!!!

Bargaining – Are you sure they can’t eat mayonnaise? It’s just a little bit, barely any – I mean I can just scrape it off and they’ll never know. I’ll make sure you get extra staff meal, just help me out here. I have a full rail and that 8 top is about to hit. We can work something out.

Depression – Why do I always end up here, standing in the window with Carl debating some lady’s condiment aversion? Why did I even come in? Why did I take a job washing dishes back in high school? Why did I learn prep and fryer and sautee? Why did I ever think lead-line was the right move? I should’ve just gotten hammered and stayed that way. Life is a series of empty promises, meaningless events unconnected to perceived outcomes – the Universe is indifferent as I stand on this slowly warming rock spinning in bleak and empty space…

Acceptance – Oh, I’ll just throw a new bottom bun on the grill real quick. Refire up! Runner! CARL!

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