Dear restaurant worker (online writing)

Published November 5, 2014 by djlwsu

Write a letter to 2-3 of the restaurant workers discussed within book. Talk about their experiences, your own experiences in relationship to restaurant industry (as worker and as consumer), and how their experiences have shaped your understanding of race, gender, class, labor, and the restaurant industry

400-500 words

MUST INTEGRATE READINGS, INCLUDING DIRECT QUOTES, and integrate specifics from course films

Last day to participate November 25


14 comments on “Dear restaurant worker (online writing)

  • Dear restaurant workers, I have been living in Amerikkka all my life and within this country I have noticed that eating out at a restaurant has always been a privilege. I have been fortunate enough to experience dining out when there are no home cooked meals or, just for a special occasion. I used to think that working in a restaurant was a simple task, that is, until I got older and started working myself. Also, my perspective changed after reading Behind the Kitchen Door by Sara Jayaraman.
    My first job I was sixteen years of age and I worked at the Seattle Tennis Club, an elite organization for the upper-class residents who live in the Leschi/Madison neighborhood. I was blessed enough to begin with an $11.72 hourly rate of pay at the food server position. Since members of the club have to pay so much to join and uphold their membership every workers starts off with $11.72. With that being said although I was getting paid more than most food servers I was pursuing a very common ritual in Amerikkka. One of ten Amerikkkans work in the restaurant industry, which is 10 million Amerikkkans (Saru Jayaraman Behind the Kitchen Door). Most Amerikkkans get paid the $2.13 minimum wage which is nowhere near enough to live on since they are living off of tips.
    Since reading in Behind the Kitchen Door I have realized that not tipping a server may actually be a selfish act. My heart goes out to the women with children to feed at home who are only getting paid off tips alone. This can lead to so much stress and worry on the body that a worker might get sick. This is not an option for most food servers, waiters or waitresses since 90% of them do not receive health benefits or get paid for sick days. I never came to work sick because I was told to stay home if I felt troubled in any way before thinking about coming to work and spreading my illness. I had health benefits at the age of 16 while some people have to go to work with H1N1 and Typhoid Fever (Saru Jayaraman Behind the Kitchen Door).
    For the families who live off tips and minimum wage ($2.13) with children they depend on the government. In the US relying on the government is a constant factor for citizens. Servers in the US have three times more of a poverty rate than anywhere else in the world. Those same people use twice as many food stamps in Amerikkka, still reliant on the government. The food industry has got to do better to its workers in Amerikkka. Minus my short experience the US I want to see change in the food/restaurant industry.


  • Dear Sick workers,

    After reading your stories, all I have to say is wow you guys are troopers! But at the same time this is so unsanitary for the restaurant. If the waiter is sick it could potentially get the customers sick. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning each year and 3,000 of us die from it (Behind the kitchen doors). Now I’ve realized this could be from workers working while being extremely sick having a bad cough or the flu. People who eat out a lot are pound to get sick at one point. Restaurant’s owners should care about their employee’s health and especially their customer’s health. When someone calls in that they are sick and can’t make it, they have to understand that the best thing to do and make them stay home. My first job was working at a restaurant and when I was sick and called in, they at times made me come in because there was no one to cover my shift. I do understand why you can’t say no because you will loose your job and plus you have bills and families to take care of. A surveyed taken by ROC states that over 40% of workers have been force, as a result of time pressure, to do something that might put the health and safety of customers at risk. (Behind the kitchen doors) In that percentage, it even includes me when I was working in a restaurant . Even though it might not seem to be a high percentage it is because it’s the safety for the workers and customers. This industry puts all the sick workers at high risk of injury and illness without providing them the income or health insurance. No one really knows what the conditions are in working in a restaurant. It’s all a secret, but once you are in the industry all those secrets are discovered. At times I wished that I never worked at a restaurant because I now what really goes on behind the kitchen doors. I hope that one-day employers that are sick and can’t come to work get paid for the lost hours. We should start a petition and see if we can make this a bill!


    • Dear restaurant workers.

      In the Behind the kitchen, the book explained political and economical issues in United States restaurants. As I have been living in South Korea all my life, and I just stayed in United States for a year. After I came to this country, I usually went eat out since materials and cookers are not familiar. Being always go to restaurant, the most weird thing for me is a tip. It is because that there is no tip in Korea, I usually give them small tip before I learn how they are paid per hours. In the Behind the kitchen, there is a concept of minimum wage of $2.13. It is my big surprise that even the price level in America is higher than my country, 21 states which are almost half of the United States allow restaurants to pay their employee less than my country. Moreover, under the minimum wage of $2.13, restaurants in some states which there is no state minimum wage doesn’t have to pay anything. When I heard some of complaints from my American friend that Asian usually no tip, and picky, I felt so sorry for dedicating hard workers paying less but work for the tip.
      In the book, there is another issue of health care of restaurant employees that restaurant don’t provide proper health care for their workers. Health, safety and overall working conditions of employees in restaurant directly affect the health of customers. I did some part time jobs in a restaurant, pool club, convenience store and office. However, the only place which made me work while I sick is military. I served army for two years, and the place of duty among Korean man was the most similar to the situation that paying less, hard working and don’t provide proper health care. Other places after I discharged, even I did not paying enough, but I was paid more than this serious conditions. In my experience, the employers who steal from their employees are also likely to steal from customers. In the book, 1 of 6 in United States suffer from food poisoning. It is definitely not the fault of employees but the fault of employers who did not provide health care for their customers.
      I did several jobs in my country, even though the employers didn’t keep the rule of minimum wage, but I still paid for my hard working. It is very unfair that they didn’t pay for working because they are paid tip more than minimum wage. Plus, there are approximately 10 million workers didn’t get support of employers. It is obvious to pay for the hard working if they rolling cash and is having huge benefits from their hard working.


  • Dear restaurant workers in America, I have been living in this country for four years as an international student. So far, I have very nice experiences eating out in a restaurant. Restaurants in America always give me a feeling of kind and homelike. I came from China and I have never seen a smile on a food server’s face while waiting for me to order. this makes me think of the honor of Americans working as a restaurant servers. I could imagine how proud people are working in restaurants with a decent paycheck until I got the CES lecture and read the Behind the Kitchen Door by Sara Jayaraman.
    My first working experience in the US was in a college café preparing for salad fruits. I was paid 9.02 after tax. At that time I always considered my paycheck lower than certified workers and I found it very reasonable because I was just a part-time worker and my workload was pretty easy. My perspective totally changed and I suddenly found myself lucky working in this place with this pay rate after I knew that most American restaurant workers get paid at a 2.13 minimum wage and 70% of them are women with children(course lecture & Saru Jayaraman). I have also known the fact that most restaurant workers don’t even have paid sick days. It makes me feel blessed as I recall a 2 hrs late to work and just received a warning.
    I could not imagine how hard women with 2.13 pay rate can possibly support their family and children. and I really find myself selfish for those times I did not tip my server after learning the fact. but the most important is the US government has kept the 2.13 rate unchanged for 23 years(course lecture) which is beyond my tolerant when I knew this fact. I really wish some change to happen both from government side and restaurant industry.


  • Dear Restaurant Workers,

    I would like to start off by saying thank you for you’re work. I know its not easy to have a job where you have to interact with your costumers but the work you are doing is great. I find it kind of disturbing to know that you are forced to go to work while sick, and it makes me feel even worse to know that you aren’t the only ones being affected by how screwed up the industry is. I don’t think its fair that you get paid so little and have to work you’re butt off for tips. Before I got my first job working at a restaurant I had little to no respect for servers. I know I’m horrible, but after working there for six months, I have so much respect and know how hard it is to get tips. My coworkers would always complain about tips, I didn’t really understand, I mean in Washington the wage for servers is hourly minimum wage which is $9.32 plus tips. Or at least that’s how it worked at Shari’s. Then I transferred to Idaho Shari’s and the workers earned around 3 dollars plus tip. After seeing that, it really opened my eyes that no all of restaurant jobs are the same in every state even if its the same company. I had no clue that the federal tipping wage was $2.13 an hour. I’m sure you get a lot of, Why don’t you find a better job? or why don’t you quit? Well if only good jobs came so easy. In the film we watched during my CES class there were twin sisters who had been in the restaurant industry pretty much their whole lives. Its all they knew how to do. So yes, it’s easy for somebody who hasn’t gone through any type of food service industry to say, get a better job, quit, its your choice to work in those conditions. Not only is the restaurant industry under paying its employees but is causing work conditions to worsen by not giving sick days, affordable health care. It was said in the book that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning. Is that the servers fault? Or is it the restaurants for trying to short cut its way by forcing employees to work sick. Not only are they not helping themselves but also are exposing customers to getting sick. I recently saw a video where restaurant workers are protesting and fighting for their stolen wages. The government is looking the other way saying they have laws for certain things, and that there’s only a certain amount of help they can provide. Not only are employees in the restaurant industry forced to work around the clock and not get paid but you get a poor wage that isn’t even livable. I give kudos for trying to make a difference, the fact that you are willing to talk about your experiences takes a lot of will and courage. I soon hope that the circumstances in which you have to work are fixed and you are brought to justice.


  • Dear restaurant workers,
    First of all thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your job. After reading Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman, my outlook on the way a restaurant regulates and how they treat their employees totally changed. I myself have never worked in a restaurant serving as a waitress, I have only worked at Jimmy Johns as a cashier and in college at a café that I wouldn’t consider serving. I have never really took the time to think to myself what is going on with that person’s life right now? Is this person that is severing me sick? How much are they getting paid, are they struggling? I didn’t realize how many workers that are extremely sick and are still continuing to work due to several reasons. First of all if you are a parent you cant just call in sick to work when you feel like it (as to like in college now, I have more freedom to call in sick and it wont matter as much or I wont get fired) you have your family to support and bills to pay on top of you could easily be fired if you are not showing up to your job. In the book Behind the Kitchen Doors, the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans suffers from food poisoning each year, and 3,00 of us die from it. I have never thought of it that way before. If people that are severing you are sick that can get you sick as well, on the outside everything looks sanitary but on the inside (in the kitchen) everything is very unsanitary. Also working in restaurants is extremely hard on the human body, all of the ware and tare that then eventually lead to heath problems later on in the future. I also thought that getting paid minimum wage which in Washington is 9.32 I believe still is was not getting paid enough is great. In the book Behind the Kitchen Doors states that some many states receive the minimum tipping wage of $2.13 or just below $3.00 plus their hourly wage. However, some people only get their tipping wage and that’s it not their hourly wage. People that work in the restaurant business work their tails off and are terribly under paid and get barley any credit for what they do. Reading stories of all of you restaurant workers really changed my thinking about how the world works and it is terrible.


  • Dear Restaurant Workers,

    As an American citizen who has benefited from the privilege and opportunity of eating out at casual as well as fine dining restaurants, I never really understood how bad the lives of restaurant workers could be. That all changed when I got my second job as a bartender in Idaho. Bartender for a restaurant, it sounded as if it was a dream job for a college student. Unfortunately I was working in Idaho making minimum wage, and banking on tips working at a restaurant that was already serving over priced drinks, so good tips were far and few between. As a somewhat care free spender, due to a privileged childhood I ended the summer in debt. Losing money was not the only disappointing thing of being a bartender, I also had to deal with individual complaints, due to how much alcohol was being poured in these over priced drinks, and I was not allowed to pour more or I would be without a job for the rest of summer. In just one summer it helped me learn to appreciate what you restaurant workers do, and have pledged to tip no matter the circumstance since, but one person does not make a big enough change for the entire population.
    Many people have not worked in such conditions, or experienced life as someone in the service industry; therefore do not understand the importance of tipping. Without tips it is nearly impossible to obtain livable wages as a restaurant worker. I wish more people understood how horrific these minimum wage laws could be. Not everyone understands the horrendous lives some of you restaurant workers have to live, due to a “minimum wage of $2.13”(course lecture & Behind the Kitchen Doors) in most states across the U.S. Not many people understand that you blue-collared American citizens are busting your butt for non-livable wages. Unfortunately it is a shame that an industry, which “employs over 10 million people in the United States” (Behind the Kitchen Doors) can’t support it’s own employees with a healthy lifestyle, meanwhile it’s upper managerial levels and owners are rolling in cash.
    On top of unlivable wages you are fighting through unlivable conditions, when you become sick, many companies do not provide restaurant workers with healthcare, or paid sick days. For families and society this is a major problem. Families have to work sick to get money, potentially worsening their health. On the other hand you have the rest of society where “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning each year” (Behind the Kitchen Doors). Is it actually from the food or from sick workers? Hopefully for the sake of over 10 million restaurant workers we raise the minimum wage, or at least include 15% tip into the bill. We need to do something to make life easier on the people that feed us!
    – Colton


  • Dear restaurant workers of America,
    I recently just read a book titled, “Behind the Kitchen Door,” by Saru Jayaraman. “Behind the Kitchen Door” furthers the readers’ knowledge of the political, economic, and moral implication of dining out. She discusses the ways to improve the restaurant industry in order to have a positive experience on both sides of the industry. As a barista, I have experiences working in the food industry however; I lack working experience in the restaurant industry. As a costumer, when I dine out at a restaurant, I remain on high alert. As an African American, there are preconceived notions about me as a costumer. I am viewed as a person who will not tip the waitress/waiter very much for their services. I make sure that I make a great impression, request things in a nice respectable manner and hope the server reciprocates the gesture.
    Having friends who work in the restaurant industry has also helped maintain my positive relationships with my servers. Being from New York, I experience a lot of different restaurants and employees within those establishments. I have learned that the workers who are more likely to be racist reside in the Manhattan/Soho area while workers who aren’t likely to be racist reside toward the Greenwich Village area. Taking my experiences from the big city and translating that into the small Pullman/Moscow has been beneficial. I make sure to be polite in order to enjoy a satisfying mean while tipping above five dollars depending on the servers’ politeness and service. This provides for a positive encounter since most workers are pushing themselves to the brink. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food poisoning each year and 3,000 of us die from it (Jayaraman, Behind the kitchen doors). Waitress/Waiters receive very low pay, which results in these individuals living their lives paycheck to paycheck because they work for a “minimum wage of $2.13”(Leonard, Resturant Industry lecture., Jayaraman , Behind the Kitchen Doors). They cannot afford to miss a shift due to an illness so the individuals come to work sick and provide hazardous conditions. It is understandable that workers must go into work because I have been placed in that predicament.
    I work at the Bookie Café on my universities campus, once, I could not make a shift due to an important meeting I had with my graduate advisor of my sorority. This was a very important meeting and was placed in a tough place because no one was willing to pick up my shift. I had to cancel my important meeting and go into work because I did not want to receive the consequence of getting written up for calling out sick too late. A surveyed taken by ROC states that over 40% of workers have been force, as a result of time pressure, to do something that might put the health and safety of customers at risk (Jayaraman, Behind the kitchen doors). I understand that those in the restaurant industry who try to stay home and care for themselves request for others to take their shifts however with no luck they force themselves to go into to work in order to avoid consequences.
    Although the individuals force themselves to make their shifts and wont receive any consequences, the customers they serve are at a greater chance of acquiring an illness. In order to improve things on both ends, employers must be more supportive of their employees. There are approximately 10 million workers within the restaurant industry (Jayaraman, Behind the kitchen doors), the majority of which lack the support of employers to help better and take care of themselves. Pressure must be alleviated from these individuals along with increased pay and better health benefits in order to have a thriving restaurant industry.
    I want you all to know that you have supporters that will help you in this fight for equality. There will be improvements regarding the race, gender and sexual discrepancies.

    With immense support,
    -Tiffany Ntiamoah


  • Dear Restaurant Workers,

    After reading Behind the Kitchen Doors by Saru Jayaraman, I have a whole new outlook on how workers in the restaurant business are treated. I worked in the restaurant business for the first time this past summer and I did experience some hard treatment of the people who worked for the restaurant but nothing like some of the experiences I read in the book. Before I read the book I really never gave that much attention to how much I tipped no matter how much my bill was. I have always been a broke teenager and now college student and tipping when I went out to eat was the last thing on my mind. However, after I worked at a restaurant this summer and read the book I have realized how insulting it is tot tip poorly to your server. After personal experience working at a restaurant as a hostess a percentage of the tips a server earns goes to the hostesses at some restaurants, it goes to everyone working there. One day after a very rude and large group came in, one of our servers worked very hard to make them happy no matter how rude they were. When the server went to pick up the checkbook the server began to cry because there was only $20 left for a $225 check. Until then I never really realized how important tipping is and after reading Behind Kitchen Doors it has become even clearer. This situation related directly to that video we watched during a CES lecture. There were twin sisters and one talked about how insulting it can be to be severely under tipped. Until I read this book I had no idea that the federal tipping wage is $2.13 an hour. With such a short wage of tipping and for people that don’t understand tipping because they have never worked in the restaurant industry, under tipping a server hurts not just the server but also the people that help and work around them. According to Behind Closed Doors, tipping does not just go to the server; it goes to the waiter who takes the order, the food runner, the bussers, and sometimes the hostess. Under tipping ruins tips for everyone in this system not just the server. I really got a full grasp for this working in the restaurant industry, however, I was appalled when I found out that the federal tipping wage was $2.13 an hour, this passage in Behind Closed Doors, really explains how bad it is, “the federal government permits restaurants nationwide to pay tipped workers an hourly wage of only $2.13, as long as the workers’ tips make the difference between $2.13 and the federal minimum wage of $7.25. If the tips do not cover the difference the employer is supposed to pay it.” After reading this and watching some of the movies we have watched in CES lectures I thoroughly understand how much the government screws over employers of the restaurant industry. With such low wages being presented there is even more pressure to not have a sick day. Employers of restaurants show up to work sick all the time because they cannot afford to miss a day. However, all this does is make the customer sick and sometimes more employers sick (Behind Kitchen Doors). This is not fair to now let employers afford to miss sick days especially when all it really does is hurt the entire environment and hurt the reputation of the restaurant. Something needs to be done.
    Restaurant workers I am so sorry for the times I gave no attention to how much I tip you. I know how hard you work and I will make sure the people around me and I will pay more attention to the way we treat you workers. I hope that the circumstances will soon change and you will have better hourly wages.

    With love and support

    -Taylor Thole


  • Dear restaurant workers,
    As I read the book “Behind the Kitchen Door” I was amazed by the stories that many of you shared about the hardships you have encountered while working in the restaurant industry. But there were two in specific that stood out to me the most and these were the stories of Floriberto and Daniel. Floriberto was a worker that loved to work in the restaurant industry but that wished to get promoted to sous chef or even chef. He worked paycheck to paycheck for over 10 years. The fact that he fought for his wage that had been kept from him was what really got me because usually when you are considered minority or when you know that you are an immigrant you tend to keep everything to yourself because of the fear of what your supervisor might do to you. All that you had to go through to get to the United States for that better future can be thrown out with a simple mistake like confronting your supervisor especially when you are of a different race then they are. Daniel an Ecuadorean immigrant who was the leader in the Del Posto campaign. As I read your story it reminded me of the struggles my family had to go through. Starting as a dishwasher and later being hired as a busser to later become a food runner just proves to all of us that anything is possible even if you have to deal with hardships because of your race. Getting screamed things like, “You stupid Mexican! You don’t know how to work. You don’t know how to do your fucking job,”(Jayaraman, 27) and being able to put up with that only showed me that even though we might think that restaurant workers have it easy it is not always true. Daniel, your story proved what everyone already knows but that some of us don’t want to believe that race does have a say in whatever labor you are assigned to do whether it is in the restaurant industry or not. As a consumer every time that I have seen a supervisor yelling at one of their employees I got bothered by it because I always think that there must be a reason for the mistake it didn’t happen on purpose. I do appreciate everything you all do and have to put up with in the restaurant industry because as the book “Behind the Kitchen Door” has made clear it is not easy to work there.
    -Mitzi Cruz Enriquez


  • Dear Restaurant Workers,
    ‘Behind the Kitchen’ was a very interesting read. It really showed what life is really like behind the kitchen doors and the suffering that everyday restaurant workers go through on a day to day basis. Since 1 in 10 people in America work in a restaurant business it is a very important topic to bring about since it effects so many livelihoods. With 1 in 10 Americans working in the restaurant, that’s nearly 10 Americans (Saru Jayaraman Behind the Kitchen Door). With that large of a group of citizens facing oppressions on a daily basis, either it be wage violations, workers safety concerns or just simply not getting paid at all is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. With the server wage of $2.13 not being changed for the last 23 years I believe that is the first place to start. All of these workers are living off of change to sustain their lives and usually the lives of others. In the past 23 years the value of the dollar has been inflated to the point where $2.13 now is no way the same as it was 23 years ago. The first step for improving the lives of these workers are increasing their wages to maintain a decent livelihood and happiness in their own lives. Another pressing issue is that 1 in every 6 Americans are diagnosed with food poisoning and of course the first person most people blame for this issue is the kitchen staff at the restaurant but after I read this book and did more and more research I began to find out that the kitchen staff is that last place to cast blame upon. The blame should be cast on the selfish managers who intimidate and threaten their sick workers who should really not be there with wage garnishing’s and risk of their employment. With about 90% of these workers do not even receive health benefits, so they are kind of stuck in between a rock and a hard place. On one side they are sick and shouldn’t work and on the other they can’t afford to get the help they need unless they work. These are simply just unsanitary and unsafe. If we want to see less health risks in the restaurant business for both the workers and the customers we need to see less sick people in the kitchen and those sick people deserve the treatment that are (for the most part) not already given. Looking at all this and trying to compare my life to these circumstances are hard. I am a white male who has never worked in the restaurant business and probably never will but after all of this research you better believe that I have the utmost respect for all people in this industry because it is extremely oppressive. Not only with the working conditions and wage unfairness but with the level of racism and prejudice in this work force it makes people of different races at an even lower starting ground then those of white workers.

    -Darren Clingan


  • Dear Restaurant Workers,

    I can say that after reading your stories my eyes have been greatly opened to the brutal conditions that you guys have to work in on a daily basis. I was blind to this because even though I was a server, it was for a catering company, making $15 per hour plus tips, I was not aware that this was not the case for everyone. I always thought that everyone made at least minimum wage and then received the tips on top as a bonus, I was not aware that there was even such thing as a “tipped minimum wage” of $2.13/hour. Because of my lack in knowledge of how you all are treated and the conditions you all work under I had no idea how my tip influenced you. I feel that this is the case with many people, if the public was more informed I do think things could be better for you all. Not getting paid sick days and knowing how much that income means to you, so you have been forced to just push through the pain. In the film shown in class, it said that some people working in the back kitchen or even people serving the food have sicknesses such as HIV, or other diseases that they cannot afford to treat because of the lack of health care provided or cannot afford the days off to get check ups. Also with reading through the different stories I have become more aware of the racism that exists inside the restaurant industry. I was unaware that people would tip less based on if someone was black or Asian, or a black women compared to a white women, for me I have tried to let people give me a reason to tip them. I will admit I have been the person to just round up to the next dollar when the waiter/waitress has not been the nicest or most helpful, but unless we know what goes on behind the scenes, we Americans are just doing what we know, treating people how they deserve. It saddens me to know all of the ways in which people decide how much their tip will be, male, female, black, white, pretty, ugly, I have been taught by my mom, who was a waitress for 12 years to pay for everything when she was younger, to always tip at least 15% and if they deserve more, do that. It was a simple rule and I would always calculate it out on my phone, never really understanding why she told me this, until the day I heard your stories. The day I read about your lives was the day I regretted all the low tips I gave, even if they did not deserve a big tip, they deserve to live. The pain it is for you to not be able to fight back because, they could replace you, you need this job, so many important reasons to put up with all this non sense, I am sorry. For all the times you have been tipped badly, treated badly, or have had to work sick to keep the bill in the mail to afford the house above your head, I have been moved by your stories and I will make it a personal goal to inform people. Inform people of the impact they have to make someone else be able to afford the life they deserve and unfortunately restaurants have put all the pressure on us to do that.

    Stay United and Strong,

    Lauren Jones


  • Dear Restaurant workers Nikki and Claudia,

    I see that your experiences in the restaurant work place have not always been pleasant. It was eye opening reading about your experiences and your struggles in the book Behind The Kitchen Door. First I want to talk about Nikki’s story and experiences in the restaurant industry. Before reading your story I saw that, “1 in 6 people in America suffer from food poisoning a year and 3,000 of those people die a year.”( Behind the Kitchen Doors, p.53) Nikki is a biracial young woman in her 20’s, that growing up lived in many towns and even went to 24 different schools. Everywhere she went that were small towns, she couldn’t seem to get a job. All growing up Nikki dealt with racism and people making racist remarks against her. Later on she got into the restaurant industry and was sexually assaulted by one of her coworkers. Not only this, but Nikki was one of the many restaurant workers who had to work when sick with conjunctivitis and pink eye for four days. “4,000 plus restaurant workers that were surveyed by the ROC and found that 90 percent did not have access to paid sick days.” ( Behind the Kitchen Doors, p.53) Claudia was an immigrant worker that got into the restaurant industry because she had to help pay the bills. She and her brothers and sisters worked 50-60 hours a week and commuted 50 miles a day to work. Claudia didn’t know how to speak English well and was also treated unfairly because of the color of her skin like Nikki. Claudia even had customers tell her that they did not want to be served by her. I can relate to you guys when it comes to discrimination in the work place and having to go to work because you need the money. I am of Latino decent and also worked in the restaurant industry once. I saw all the racism and the way the back of the house was treated differently. I also saw one of my fellow coworkers be sexually harassed by a manager before and a server not make the money they needed to make at the end of their shift. These are things I can unfortunately relate to. I’ve been treated differently by customers because of my ethnicity and seen white servers/host be treated very well by the same customers and get better tips. Also I’ve seen white servers cash out big at the end of the night while the back of the house who are people of color work their behinds off to just receive a crappy minimum wage and no tips. Ever since I worked in the restaurant industry I was more aware of the people who were preparing and serving my food and your stories along with Saru Jayaraman’s book and the videos that I watched in my CES 101 class that showed different restaurant workers talking about their lives and experiences in the industry it reminded me that the those people aren’t just working to make money they are working to support their families and themselves. I believe that you restaurant workers are one of the most hard working people we have in America and the way that the minimum wage for servers who are tipped are set at $2.13 is just crazy and there needs to be more people like Saru, you two and all of the people in the book Behind the Kitchen Door, who will bring awareness and try to find a solution.

    Angelica Suarez


  • Dear, Restaurant Workers

    I never knew how hard it was working in the restaurant industry. I had many friends and family members work in the restaurant industry. I notice that they complained a lot. How hectic and un organized it was where they actually worked. My brother actually got hurt at locally owned Pizza Hut in my home town. He just starting working, He was a Delivery/Dough prep boy. He slipped and fell broke his elbow. His boss let off for the rest of the weekend and told him to go to hospital and get slip-resistant work shoes. He bought the slip-resistant work shoes but then he had no money to pay for the hospitals co-pay so he couldn’t go. His elbow will never be the same. In the book (Behind the kitchen doors) it said “A surveyed taken by ROC states that over 40% of workers have been force, as a result of time pressure, to do something that might put the health and safety of customers at risk (Jayaraman, pg 28) Basically if workers are sick or injured, many of them have to work or they will lose their job and not be able to feed their families. The book also said (Behind the kitchen doors) “The centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans suffers from food poisoning each year, and 3,00 of us die from it. (Jayaraman, pg 19) I never knew that. I always thought that my food was made with the most sanitize as possible. But after lectures and watching videos in my CES 101 class, I realized how unsanitized restaurants really are. After all the videos lectures and reading Behind the kitchen doors By: Sara Jayaraman. I actually learned how unfair, hard life is as restaurant worker, Only making $2.13 plus tips. That is not enough money to raise a family on. “Most American restaurant workers get paid at a 2.13 minimum wage and 70% of them are women with children” (based off:course lecture & Behind the kitchen doors) That static shows that being a waiter or waitress is unfair and pretty much has an unlivable wage or income. Over 10 million of American workers work in the restaurant industry. Thats why I think more people should learn more about the inequality, secrets, and how the unfair the restaurant industry really is. Now I know the pain of the restaurant workers in the restaurant industry. It is not fair and I feel sorrow for people that have to work in restaurants.
    -Love, Hudson


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