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42 Reasons To Look Forward to Retirement

I think our business is funny, really. And while I spent 10 years in airline foodservice, which was certainly good for a few laughs, it’s been these last 19 years in B&I that’s really had me rolling in the aisles. I’ve received my share of asinine customer comments, endured a regular diet of Murphy-type laws and survived situations that at times got me wondering, why me? (Sometimes I’ve even thought I’ve heard a deep celestial voice saying, “Why not you?” in response ....)

In any case, here are some of the universal laws of foodservice cause-and-effect I’ve collected over those years. If nothing else, they should give you 42 good reasons to look forward to retirement. Because if you’re in foodservice, you know that...

• Letters of complaint are always sent to the level of management that has the greatest influence on your salary review.

• Your boss always considers letters of complaint real, but commendation letters as solicited from customers.

• Your boss always has a friend or relative who sells a product that you should try in the cafeteria.

• The fastest cashier line slows down when your boss gets in it.

• The most important office coffee service of the day will get delivered to the wrong office.

• The server that gets the most customer compliments is the one that tends to give the biggest portions.

• Your favorite manager, the one you trust, the one you were considering for promotion, will have a major cash shortage.

• A private function customer count will always be higher than what the client guaranteed, and you’ll always be blamed for running out of food.

• You always run out of shrimp at private functions and end up serving the leftover baked ziti in the cafeteria the next day.

• You’re quick to change the soup after four people complain even though you may be consistently serving 150 portions a day.

• Refrigerator compressors always die on the first hour of the first day of a long three-day weekend.

• You always run out of flatware at the condiment station while a year’s supply sits neatly stacked in the storeroom.

• Health inspectors always come during peak lunch.

• Exterminators always walk through customer areas wearing a mask and carrying a pesticide tank.

• Your lowest paid employee will always operate your most expensive piece of equipment.

• The blond hair from a blond customer found on the customer’s food will always be blamed on your dark-haired server.

• The biggest complainers dine in the cafeteria five days per week.

• Customers who complain about bad food also complain about small portions.

• Customers who say nobody likes your food also complain about long lines in the servery.

• People who complain about lines and crowds in your cafeteria take them in stride at every public restaurant and street cart.

• Customers who say your vending food is always stale also say the machines are always empty.

• Customers with exact change will always tender a $20 bill.

• Customers who consistently tender $20 bills also complain about the slow lines at cashier stations.

• Building fire drills are always held during your luncheon peak.

• Any and all ailments of customers are always views as food poisoning from your operation.

• Things always go wrong when you’re out of town.

• Regardless of the size of your servery, there will always be one customer who will manage to find that one pat of butter to slip on.

• The most important piece of equipment will always break down during your peak period.

• The person who puts together the menu board is your worst speller.

• Every customer’s mother makes better meatloaf than your chef.

• The same customers who demand lowfat and no-fat selections are the same customers who never buy those items once they’re offered.

• Nobody ever takes just one paper napkin.

• Even though you offer disposables for take-out, customers will always take out your chinaware, silverware and trays.

• Anybody who eats three meals a day considers himself or herself an expert on food.

• No matter how large the salad bar selection, someone will always complain that he or she is bored with the choices.

• No matter how abundant the beverage selection, there will always be one flavor that you missed.

• Soups are always too salty.

• During lunch, you can always find the manager in the office.

• Dining room tables always have either two salt shakers or two pepper shakers, never one of each.

• After promoting your fresh prepared foods, a customer will find ice in the undercooked frozen veggies.

• Customer surveys always bring out the worst in your operation, never the best.

• If your cafeteria is all things to all people all the time, you’re probably running a very high subsidy.

• Bacon is always consumed before customers reach the cashier station.

• Whatever brand of yogurt you’re using, it’s always the wrong one.

• Your customers will gladly pay $4.50 for a sandwich across the street and bitch about paying $2.65 for the same thing in your operation.

• Customers who pick up their hot food then talk to their friends in the servery for 20 minutes will always blame you for serving cold food.

• All things sold by the ounce will be more than partially consumed prior to being weighed by the cashier.

• A long range plan for foodservice operators is 24 hours.

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