10 Things Movies Are Always Wrong About The Restaurant Industry

The film industry likes to portray real-life professions in movies, on their own terms. Filmmakers often take liberties with reality to make jobs work within the confines of their story. The restaurant industry is certainly often portrayed incorrectly.

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Whether it’s the general operation of the restaurant or the way the staff acts behind the scenes, most movies give a bad impression of the restaurants. For people who have worked in the restaurant industry, watching most films that feature their work can be a mind-blowing experience to say the least.

ten Chefs don’t have time to polish philosophy


Chefs working in a kitchen

Being a chef takes a lot of training, experience and patience. Knowing how to prepare dishes that are both good and consistent is not an easy task. What you don’t need is a degree in philosophy, which a lot of movies would have viewers believe.

Leaders don’t have time to get poetic about life’s great mysteries and solve the world’s problems. The rushes are intense and the preparation work is endless. Most chefs are lucky if they have five minutes at the end of a rush to catch their breath before getting ready for dinner.

9 Cooks are not foolish thugs


Jon Favreau looks angry

When it comes to depicting the people who prepare food in restaurants, the reverse is also true. Many movies portray cooks as dumb hoodlums who barely know how to flip a pancake. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

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The range of people working on the line in a kitchen is incredibly diverse. And many of these people are well-educated and incredibly kind. There isn’t just one type of person who cooks for a living, which isn’t the case in most movies.


8 In-house musicians aren’t all depressed has-beens


Michael Buble sings

Many restaurants, bars and lounges regularly offer live music to their customers. It’s a nice touch that can differentiate one establishment from another. Unfortunately, Hollywood hasn’t exactly been kind to these musicians over the years.

They are often portrayed as has-beens and failures who couldn’t hack it into the big leagues. This may be true in some cases, but most of the musicians who play in these venues are talented career artists who make a good living in gigging.


seven Not all waiters hate their jobs and don’t want to get out of it


Waitresses working on pies

Any position in the service industry is hard and demanding work. But working in a restaurant can be brutal, especially for servers. There’s nothing quite like managing a difficult and demanding table as a waiter. They have to keep coming back with a smile on their face and taking care of it.

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Despite this, most career servers still love what they do. Everyone has bad days at work and it would be absurd to suggest that all waiters enjoy being waiters. But there are plenty of people who do the work and really enjoy it, even if the movies never seem to show it.


6 Staff rarely eat in the dining room with friends


People eating in a dining room

Everyone needs to take breaks, no matter what type of work they do. This includes anyone working in a restaurant. But each restaurant has its own policies regarding when and where employees can take these breaks.

Many Hollywood movies show employees sitting down to eat with friends in the dining room alongside customers. Some restaurants allow this, but many have a separate area for staff. If the staff can sit in the dining room, it is at the least busy times possible.


5 Bartenders aren’t just cheap therapists


Michael Sheen takes care of the bar

For years, Hollywood bartenders have been portrayed as the type of people who are just waiting to listen to their customer’s problems. It’s a classic movie trope that’s played out time and time again.

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This may be true in some cases, but most bartenders are too busy to play therapist. And if they spend a lot of time talking to a customer, it’s often because they already know the person or are looking for a better tip. It’s definitely not to help some random client arrange their marriage.


4 The customer is not always right


Michael Douglas as Terrible Customer

One of the most respected axioms in the service industry is that the customer is always right. Well, in Hollywood movies, at least. In truth, the customer is not always right. The reality of the situation is that the client often has no idea what they are talking about.

Restaurant customers make all kinds of requests that make no sense. A classic asks for a steak cooked medium-rare, then asks why it’s pink in the middle. And some of them are just plain rude. Restaurant staff don’t have to take crap from customers just because they pay.




3 Not all dining room workers are on minimum wage


Justin Long hates his tip

Although many restaurant positions pay minimum wage plus tips, that doesn’t make them any less valuable. A career in the restaurant industry can be rewarding and fulfilling. That’s not always what the movies portray, though.

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There are a variety of jobs in a restaurant. And there are also ways to advance and get promoted, although that’s mostly in the big restaurant chains. Either way, there’s a lot more career potential in the restaurant industry than the movies depict.


2 Kitchen staff not collapsing on returned food


Chef Skinner gets angry

Chefs and cooks are people and they make mistakes. Sometimes the food comes out wrong somehow and it gets sent back to the kitchen. It happens. But the way these scenes are depicted in the movies, it seems like the end of the world among the staff.

In truth, the kitchen staff are a bit annoyed with the food being sent back. But for the most part they suck it in and fix the problem. That is, they don’t have time to panic about such nonsense. And that includes those “customer is always right” situations that keep cropping up.


1 Most kitchens aren’t shiny and look pristine


Bradley Cooper cooks in a super clean kitchen

Without a doubt, the most incredible part of the restaurants in the movies is the cleanliness of the kitchens. It’s not that an average restaurant kitchen is disgusting or dirty. But they are certainly not all pristine and white.

Years of constant wear and tear from producing countless meals through thousands of rushes will start to show. Any kitchen that looks like it hasn’t been cooked is not believable at all and is probably not a place someone should eat. Too clean can be just as bad as too dirty.

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Cecil N. Messick