PSA: Valentines Day is Worst Day of the Year for Restaurant Workers

I’ve been working in the restaurant biz for over half of my life and if there’s one thing I can take away it’s that Valentines Day is the worst day of the year and it ain’t close.

This is supposed to be a night of romance between you and your significant other, but what really happens is a war on the service industry. You see, Valentines Day brings out a certain crowd that normally doesn’t ever go out. It’s mainly people that aren’t used to being in restaurants, so the finger snapping and the request for obnoxious things go up tenfold on this particular day.

I get it. They’re pressured by this Hallmark holiday to put on a dog and pony show, but what gets lost in translation is the fact that servers, bartenders, busers, hostesses, cooks, managers, dishwashers and other restaurant staff are working hard for you to get laid that night and we’re all playing for the same team. Instead, a theoretical line is drawn in the sand and if something goes wrong all the sudden the fault of the waitstaff and not because you “didn’t know this had mushrooms in it.”

One time, I had a customer call me over to the table and she told me that I was doing a great job. She also said, “Just to let you know I don’t normally tip when I go out, but here you earned this” as she proceeded to give me a dollar on an $80 check. Gee thanks lady maybe I can tell my power company that they’re doing a swell job and only give them $10 a month. This is not a random occurrence. It culminates on Valentines Day.

I’m not calling everyone out that goes out to eat on Valentines Day, but there’s an overwhelming number of people that leave their manners at the door when they walk into the establishment. It’s the busiest night of the year and it also yields the lowest tip percentage. And I’m not making that it. Those are facts. I’m probably going to take some backlash for saying this, but it’s ok, someone has to be the martyr.

The horror stories that come from this day equate to a whole year’s worth of shifts. If I ever have a bad night during the year I convey that message to my co-workers by saying, “Damn this fuckin shift is Valentines Day.” And guess what? They know exactly how I feel, what I’m talking about then I’m quickly consoled and greeted by a hug.

Listen, I love working in the service industry. You meet so many cool people that have interesting stories. I’m happy to help them out with a smile and shoot the shit. This is 99% of my shifts, but the one doozy always comes on February 14th.

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