When it comes to putting your money where your mouth is, Los Angeles restaurant Red Medicine takes the old adage quite literally. On March 13, the restaurant dealt with that evening's reservation no-shows in a very unique way: by calling out the delinquent diners by name via their official Twitter account.
The outspoken dining spot took flak for their transmission almost instantly, but they also gained some praise. "These so called 'customers' could have the decency to cancel their res instead of no showing. Empty seats cost $$$," a New Jersey restaurant tweeted in return.
Editor's note: Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy organization, director of the UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center and author of the forthcoming book "Behind the Kitchen Door" (Cornell University Press, Feb. 2013).
Like millions of Americans this winter, my toddler has the flu. The good news is that, unlike most of our nation's restaurant workers, my baby doesn't have to go to work sick.
Before making the career jump to journalism, I worked in the service industry for several years as a server - or waitress, depending on what generation you’re from. While I loved my job most of the time (great guests and cheap food whenever I wanted it), I quickly realized that some people didn’t quite understand the difference between server and servant.
Like every server, I had my fair share of horror stories: a 25-cent tip on a $19 bill, men who felt it was socially appropriate to pinch me as I walked past and, of course, the customer who was never wrong (even if they sent their steak back more than twice). So while I adhered to the idea that the customer was always right, that didn’t give the customer free rein to act like a jerk.
It appears that not everyone shares my opinion, though. After dining at an Applebee’s in St. Louis, Missouri, one customer not only left no tip, but also wrote a snarky comment on her bill.
Chelsea Welch, another server in the restaurant, snapped a picture of the receipt and posted it to the social media-sharing website Reddit. The Consumerist later picked up the story, if only for Welch’s equally snarky picture title, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”
I have absolutely no business reviewing restaurants. Consider the facts: I like Ramen noodles. I burn my meat. And I'm pretty sure the Klondike Bar is the pinnacle of modern cuisine.
I've also heard good things about Applebee's.
But when it comes to restaurant feedback, someone like me can just go online and write literally anything. And people might actually read it.
This is the inaugural installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
As managing editor of Eatocracy, I'm lucky enough to get to travel and eat all over the country, both for work and because it's what I love to do. I've seen some trends (in addition to the ubiquitous charcuterie, pickles, aged cocktails, salted caramel desserts, and foraged tidbits) start popping up in restaurants from coast to coast, and in 2013, here are a few I'm hoping will catch on.
1. Lots and lots and lots of tater tots
Just have fun with great house-made sauces, toppings, herbs and flavorful oils. The Company Burger in New Orleans (tots pictured above) hand-makes a bunch of different flavored mayos, ketchup, mustard and other toppings every day, and they're insanely delicious. Restaurateurs - please consider hopping on the tot train.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
What do you want to be eating more of in 2013? Right now, in the midst of my post-holiday food hangover, my answer is “nothing.” My follow-up answer is “anything that’s associated with the word cleanse.” But I’ll get over that.
So I looked in the crystal ball we have lying around at Food & Wine in anticipation of moments like this, and I discovered five foods and one kind of drink that will be on fire in 2013. So get out your soup spoons and Sex on the Beach glasses.
Happy New Year everyone!
A group of customers at Chilly D's Sports Lounge at the Cameo Club Casino in Stockton, California were enjoying an entertaining evening out - until they too a look at the bill. It wasn't the total that had them in shock; it was the language used to identify the women's party: "Fat Girls."
The restaurant issued an apology via Facebook:
Hello Kitty fans might be the world's most spoiled travelers as the tourism industry seems determined to build a complete service chain out of that five-apple-tall bobtail cat.
Taiwan's Eva Air flies a fleet of five Hello Kitty airplanes. Dubai houses a posh Hello Kitty spa. Anji, a county some 220 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, is building a $200 million Hello Kitty theme park (scheduled to open in 2014).
And in Beijing, a Hello Kitty-themed restaurant is creating a lot of buzz.