There’s no shortage of food service industry workers who call out “rude” or “entitled” customers who arrive close to a restaurant’s closing time and order a ton of food.
It’s especially frustrating as wait staffers typically aren’t allowed to leave until all customers clear out of the eatery, and there are some diners who just won’t take a hint that staff members are clearing out and trying to get home after their shift.
And while putting in a small last-minute food order for a table doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, it’s a whole other animal entirely when a whopping 60 customers come in just as a restaurant is about to close, which is what TikToker @_drunkbum213 said happened while they were on shift.
The line cook posted a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 183,000 views on the popular social media platform, showcasing a large quantity of food being prepared by the kitchen crew well past closing time at the establishment they work at.
“When the restaurant closes at 10pm but FOH sits down 60 people,” the TikToker writes in a text overlay of the clip. The video shows pots and pans of various dishes simmering across multiple burners, as one cook shuffle dances nearby. The camera then pans over to a clock that reads 10:34, which indicates that the cooking staff will be open well past the restaurant’s 10pm closing time.
Some commenters remarked that they were shocked the front of house would seat that many people that close to closing time, like one TikTok user who penned: “nah at that point y’all should’ve said the kitchens closing up SIXTY people? i’m trying to go home”
Another said that this type of kitchen activity is typical of what it’s like to be a line cook at a busy restaurant: “If I had to explain to someone what being a line cook is like. I would show them this clip.”
Which was a sentiment echoed by another commenter who remarked that they, too, had a manager who would allow customers to come in near closing time and put in an order to the kitchen: “I used to have a manager that said if someone comes a minute to close you serve them. he was always complaining about labor and food costs”
One individual said that in their experience, there’s almost always a host at a restaurant who is fine with seating customers when it’s almost closing time: “its always that ONE HOST that dont gaf about anyone else working therebe wayyy too happy taking parties 30 mins before close”
And then there was another person who shared their own “rule” for being seated at a restaurant, giving what they thought was an acceptable cut off time: “1 hour before close or you can’t be seated. To go only.”
According to St. Louis magazine, different restaurateurs have different answers as to what an acceptable time frame is for guests to be seated prior to the establishment’s posted closing time, but there did seem to be a consensus: Anywhere from 15-30 minutes was deemed as acceptable. “Restaurateurs disagree on the answer, but most say they appreciate if the party arrives 15 to 30 minutes before the posted closing time, as final cleanup hasn’t been completed and (at least a few) staffers are still on the clock,” the magazine wrote.
In a Quora forum post, however, there were some folks who thought that anyone who comes in and tries to order and have a full sit-down meal 20 minutes prior to closing time should be deemed “inconsiderate.”
While some members of the wait staff and bartenders may be happy to receive a deluge of new customers at the end of the night, as that opens up the potential for more tips, this isn’t necessarily the case for line cooks who are often precluded from receiving gratuities while on the job. ZipRecruiter writes: “Line cooks do not get tips unless tipped employees voluntarily share their tips. This is a result of the Fair Labor Standards Act rule that was intended to stop restaurants and managers from skimming from servers’ tips.”
Much has been written about the stressful nature of line cook work, as well. Anthony Bourdain famously penned about the profession in his book, Kitchen Confidential, where he highlights the fast-paced, and long-hours nature of the job. The Globe and Mail discussed how burnt-out line cooks who are working 60 hours a week are often too tired on their days off to do anything but simply rest before they’re called back into the kitchen to do it all over again.
Vice also highlighted how this lifestyle often contributes to an “unhealthy” quality of living for many line cooks, and there are many in the fields who ask fellow back of house workers in the profession how they manage burn out.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @_drunkbum213 via TikTok comment for further information.
*First Published: Jul 14, 2023, 10:54 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.