Every restaurant I’ve worked at had a strict ‘no eating on shift rule.’ Every restaurant worker I’ve known has also violated that rule. Snacking is a way of life, especially for the Front of House. It’s all about getting enough carbs to keep up the pace. French fries, bread and butter, pizza slices and even croutons are often strategically placed just out of site in order to keep the staffs’ blood-sugar levels even.
Here are the best places to sneak-eat your snacks while in service.
Behind a strategically placed cooler door
In one kitchen I worked, someone had reversed the hinges on a cooler door so it opened to block the view of the kitchen. The customers would just see an open door and maybe a cook or two grabbing fresh ingredients for their mise. What would really be happening is a mad snack attack.
Under the bar
Some bars can provide just enough cover if all the customers are seated at tables. We’d keep a plate of fries going all night. It was the barback’s job to keep the plate full and refresh the ketchup. In theory, hypothetically speaking, I suppose, it was also possible to take shots while crouched under the bar.
In the wine room
The wine room was the perfect snack center. At one of the fancier restaurants I worked we kept our dessert snacks in the wine room. It was the perfect temperature to keep pastries in a ready to eat condition. The only issue was the somm would get annoyed if he found stale cake next to his precious Chandon de Briailles Ile des Vergelesses the next morning.
Turning a corner
If you’re quick enough, you can practically eat anywhere. It’s the grab and go method of eating fries: get a handful, start walking and stuff it into your face. I’ve seen some smooth transitions that involved bone in lamb chops, fried chicken and even a branzino.
Soup in a coffee cup
This is a personal favorite. I’d cruise past the app station and ask for a ladle of soup into my coffee cup. Then I’d just sip it without a spoon. Sadly, this move got shut down by Chef after the rest of the floor staff started to follow suit and the carrot soup was 86’d an hour into service.
Where’s your favorite place to sneak eat?