57 Secrets Your Restaurant Server Isn’t Telling You

What would servers from across the country tell you if they could get away with it? Well, for starters, when to go out, what not to order, what really happens behind the kitchen’s swinging doors, and what they think of you and your tips.

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After a certain time, it's all decaf

coffeeNOBUHIRO-ASADA/ShutterstockIn most restaurants, after 8 p.m. or so, all the coffee is decaf because no one wants to clean two different coffeepots. I'll bring out a tray with 12 coffees on it and give some to the customers who ordered regular, others to the ones who ordered decaf. But they're all decaf.
-Charity Ohlund

Here is the answer to all of the questions you've always had about coffee.

We give kids lots of sugar

sugarPetrovich-Nataliya/ShutterstockWe put sugar in our kids' meals so kids will like them more. Seriously. We even put extra sugar in the dough for the kids' pizzas.
-Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

Here's how you can crack your sugar addiction.

We lie to vegetarians

vegetarianPhotosiber/ShutterstockIf you're a vegetarian and you ask if we use vegetable stock, I'm going to say yes, even if we don't. You'll never know the difference.

These are the nutrients you're missing if you are on a vegetarian diet.

Watch out for the specials

specialsVitaly-Goncharov/ShutterstockAt a lot of restaurants, the special is whatever they need to sell before it goes bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the day. If it contains fish or if it's some kind of 'gumbo,' it's probably the stuff they're trying to get rid of.
-Kathy Kniss, who waited tables for ten years in Los Angeles

Avoid the lemons

lemonPhotosiber/ShutterstockNow that I've worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.
-Charity Ohlund, Kansas City waitress

Skip the lemon water at the restaurant, but drink it at home. These are the incredible health benefits of drinking lemon water.

I can't talk about calories

calorieshaiith/ShutterstockIf you ask me how many calories are in a particular dish, I'm not allowed to tell you even if I know. I'm supposed to say, 'All that information is available online.' Here are nine sneaky signs your drinking too many calories.
-Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

We'll mess with your credit card

credit-cardSattapont-Tejabu/ShutterstockI've never seen anybody do anything to your food, but I have seen servers mess with your credit card. If a server doesn't like you, he might try to embarrass you in front of your business associate or date by bringing your credit card back and saying, 'Do you have another card? This one didn't go through.'
-Charity Ohlund

These are the times you should never use your credit card for payment.

We don't carry all those types of milk

milkwavebreakmedia/ShutterstockSkim milk is almost never skim milk. Very few restaurants outside Starbucks carry whole milk, 2 percent milk, skim milk, and half-and-half; it's just not practical.

Homemade doesn't always mean homemade

homemadeElena-Veselova/ShutterstockSome places buy salad dressings in one-gallon jars, then add a few ingredients, like a blue cheese crumble or fresh herbs, and call it homemade on the menu. Here's how dressing makes salad more nutritious.
-Former waiter Jake Blanton

Please don't ask for hot tea

teaWiro.Klyngz/ShutterstockThe single greatest way to get your waiter to hate you? Ask for hot tea. For some reason, an industry that's managed to streamline everything else hasn't been able to streamline that. You've got to get a pot, boil the water, get the lemons, get the honey, bring a cup and spoon. It's a lot of work for little reward. (Here are 13+ health benefits of drinking tea, though.)
-Christopher Fehlinger, matre d at a popular New York City restaurant

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