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Drug usage in Restaurants!!!  

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
I have noticed that a lot of people where i work talk about drugs or a few will sneak out to their cars when the manager isn't looking. I'm kinda new the the whole restaurant industry but i was really expecting a professional experiance... Is drug usage really that common in the restaurant industry?... all the servers that i have talked to say it is everywhere... I don't mean to offend anyone, I am doing a report for school on this subject. if anyone has any comments or can provide any statistics i would greatly appreciate it... Thank you! :blush:
post #2 of 65
I've only actually seen it a few times but yes, it is very much alive in the restaurant industry. I've watched line cooks do lines of coke right of the prep tables (in an exhibition style kitchen, while we were open!!!) Had this one server ask me to hold something for here while she was digging through her purse. When I realized what it was, it was a huge bag of weed. Another simply left her change purse open on the table after the meeting and it was packed of the sticky stuff. Other than that, there is alot of sex, drinking and drugs going on in most restaraunts.
Finally following my heart to do what I love.

1 ACF Bronze
Finally following my heart to do what I love.

1 ACF Bronze
post #3 of 65
Yes there is, my thought on it is what people do in their free time is up to them, however, the minute it affects their job performance it is time for them to move on. Also, bringing in and doing drugs at work can jeopardize everyone else's jobs and that ain't cool. For more on the topic check out Kitchen Confidential by A. Bourdain.
post #4 of 65
any industry that demands a great deal from its participants will have a high rate of drug use... more importantly, an industry which is fast paced, with long hours, also has participants who like to work hard but more importantly party just as hard...
post #5 of 65
yeah, Kitchen Confidential is a great book and really goes into depth and accurately most dining establishments. However, it isn't the case in every place but most.

Some of the content in the book may not be suitable for someone young which is why I didn't suggest it in my earlier post. But Anthony Bourdain is very blunt and truthful.
Finally following my heart to do what I love.

1 ACF Bronze
Finally following my heart to do what I love.

1 ACF Bronze
post #6 of 65
It's a good thing that medicine and law enforcement don't rationalize things like that.
post #7 of 65
I had a good friend loose his restraunt because of the drug use.Drugs cannot be tolerated in any work place. I dont think I have to elaborate.
post #8 of 65
So, the answer to the original question is "Yes, dug use is common." Why rationalize or excuse it, which seems to be what you're doing.

post #9 of 65
For me, no. I've never worked in a kitchen were drugs were used openly. If they were, I'd be outta there fast. I've only canned one banquet waiter for showing up stoned, other than that I've been pretty lucky.

Now, what people do at home or on their time off, I dunno, it ain't my business....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #10 of 65
Ha, before I had my DNA units I was heading into a medical field and a LOT of residents wouldn't be able to do their 30 hour tours unless they had a little help! Thank goodness I got side tracked by having my first child and went into something else. Who know WHAT or how I would've turned out.

I found that drug use was very prevalent in the student body at my school. A lot of the kids would attend the labs High, stoned or buzzed.

A lot of the teachers would look the other way as these where the "HAPPIEST" people in class and actually made class a big giggle..pissing those of us that took our work seriously..

but, since I"m not a mom to ANYbody else's kids but my own, I felt it was up to the Chef Instructor to notice/deal and manage the class.

Most of these participants projects would fail, but because they had great "FAKE" personalities got the best internship offers. Sigh...
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
Food may bring us together, but a CAKE makes it a PARTY!!
post #11 of 65
If drug testing were mandatory in the restaurant business, with termination for a positive result, probably a fouth to a third would be gone. Including coked up managers and not a few owners.

It's an industry curse that is due to the relative poverty of dishwashers and cooks, and many waitstaff. And let's not forget Alcohol, the other side of the same coin.
post #12 of 65
I think, if you look around, you will find substance abuse prevelant in every walk of life, every industry, every neighborhood, every school, every family. I am not making blanket generalizations nor am I saying it is acceptable to succumb to the awful crisis that is addiction. I just think that, yes, restaurant workers can be subject to temptations, but so can every other industry. Everybody is under pressure. Everybody has deadlines. Everybody has issues. It is how we deal with those issues that defines your ability to manage life and all that is has to offer. Some do drugs. Some drink to excess. Some go for a jog. Some read a book.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

post #13 of 65
Just this past week, one of the kitchen managers left for rehab. He has struggled with his addiction for eight years, and he recently relapsed. He took himself out of the work place and into rehab. He told me before he left that management told him to take care of himself and come back when he's healthy. Not to worry about his job. I've only known him for a few months, but I hope he can really beat it this time.
post #14 of 65
If you've only seen it a few times, how are you arriving at the conclusion that this happens in "most" restaurants?

I'm not denying that it does happen, but what you're describing is the restaurant industry in the 80s. My guess is that you've been working in all the wrong places.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
post #15 of 65
I do not have a source, but I have heard that we have the highest drug dependency and alcohol dependency in the labor force.

I cannot speak for all restaurants, but from my personal observations in the places I have worked at, drug use is very common. I have had the (mis)pleasure of disrupting deals that were going on in both the freezer and the bathroom.

No job is perfect, there is always going to be something "unprofessional" about it.
post #16 of 65
post #17 of 65
no its not what im doing. i was giving an explaination as to why it may seem drug use is common in this inudstry...
post #18 of 65
All of this is due to the fact that food establishemnt workers are probably the most economically repressed people in the country next to migrant farm workers. Love for the business or not, to work so long, and so hard, for so little, calls for self medication.

Nobody looks out for cooks, dishwashers, or waitresses. The food industry spends all kinds of money lobbying legislative bodies to keep them bootheled.

And boutique professional groups like the ACF are of no help at all. Certification as a way to lift everybody's boat?
Sorry ACF, that's a pie in the sky talk. That's ego. That's the old-boy club that you really are talking. You can be as back slapping and self congratulatory all you want, but you aren't helping the legion of real human beings you wish to speak for.
post #19 of 65

Maybe people in the restaurant industry just feel "safer" letting other people know that they are using - maybe they're just more down to earth and honest about lifestyle ...
The latest statistics that I've seen report that about 10% of the US population admits to ongoing illicit drug use. Any business that I run will not have people working under the influence to whatever extent that I can legally & morally control it.
post #20 of 65
As for me I don't care what you do as long as it does not affect me.
If I have to work longer because of your stoned/hungover a#$ I will come down on you with fury. Drugs are everywhere in any stressfull job.
I remember one cook I worked with who would go into the bathroom half asleep and come out like Animal from the muppet show cooking brunch for 300 people by himself. The owner looked the other way and paid him Very well.

I look at it as if it is none of my business. It is not just illegal drugs in the workplace, how many managers take xanax or vallium etc. Pillheads are 10x worst than any pothead.

Me, when I want to get high I go cut my lawn and admire the perfection of arrow straight mower passes, plate that perfect dessert for the end of a perfect meal and the best of all the smell of raw gasoline at the dragstrip when I make a 11 second pass in my vintage GTO at 120 mph. Thats enough for me and it doesn't cost any money. (well the first two don't anyway LOL)
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Fluctuat nec mergitur
post #21 of 65
I really get upset with this whole drug thing, Bourdain brought it out into the open and now everyone thinks it's the norm. It's not.

You want rampant drug abuse at the worksite? Take a closer look at the construction trades. Every line of work has it's drug abusers. Period.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #22 of 65

I've never seen a drug free kitchen.

In my restaurant, It's fairly professional, (we don't have a shift drink until 9pm) . I have a small crew and they're all responsible. We all drink, and I'd say half of my staff smokes pot, but never at work. We're too busy for that. With a small crew If you want to go outside for a smoke break, you've got about 90 seconds to choke down a few drags -because there's no-one to cover your station and we don't have a walk-in , so no lighting up in there - basicly there's no opportunity to smoke pot on the job. I fire ANY servers Who do coke, I've bean around enough drugs -I can spot the signs pretty quick.

I've worked at many places in the past where coke and speed was practicaly expected. In my years at a Hotel (that will remain nameless), ALL the chefs were on coke, every friday night -just when the **** began to hit the fan, they would call the " chefs meeting " in the office.
At another place, servers got chewed out(by the floor MG) if they didn't leave a line of coke set up for the next server in the eployee bathroom. I'd be lying if i said i didn't partake, but that was 10 years ago and I was in my early 20's. Now I don't even like the slightest buzz if i'm cooking, It makes me feel out of touch with the food, I feel constantly in the weeds. So, Just one glass of wine near the end of the night, and then it's off to a bar close to home.

Must be an age thing,
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
post #23 of 65
never needed outside stimulants...neurologically enhanced all on my own....but do partake of advil on a regular basis, must be an age thing....or offsite caterers' shlepping thing.

Something also common amoungst kitchen staffs is the amount of dsylexia, ADD, LD etc......a huge % of people weilding knives are tactile learners, who never flourished in school but found a place where they fit....there are some outrageously intelligent people working in kitchens.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #24 of 65
agreed....it seems the food service industry does attract all types...that being the highly educated and the person with a smaller one...but both blend well in the creative society we live in....and those outrageously intelligent people are often considered less intelligent by society...(Like we care right?;))

as for drugs...they are everywhere and must be done away with...our kitchens harbor boiling water, sharp knives and slippery floors etc...add a drug induced haze and we see lives lost or damaged for good...
post #25 of 65
I think it is pretty prevalent in the food industry. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themsleves. Sure, you may have a few establishments that do not have drug using staffs, but I think it is more often than not.

I say this, though, from MY experience in MY town. May not be the case in YOUR town. Food industry workers are amoung the lowest paid workforce in the country. I have a study somewhere with numbers to back it up. I will try hunt it and post with source.
post #26 of 65
if you could find that article i would appreciate it... thanks.
post #27 of 65
Lana, you just contradicted yourself in that you made the statement that you think it's (drug usage) prevalant in the whole food service industry,and then go on to say that this is based only on your experience in one town. Some of us have worked in this industry for over 20 and 30 years, and not in just one town, but in many countries and even continents Some of us have been present, and therefore responsible, when a high/stoned/drunk employee either injures himself or co-workers, or embarasses a customer. This is when the powers that be come down, the worker's comp board, the labour board people, the lawyers, the owners. Someone has to pay the price and this is usually the manager since the employee in question is long gone. Once a manager has gone through such a mess you can make very sure he/she won't let it happen again. Like I said, and I make it very clear, what the employee does on his time away from the work place is entirely their business.

Food industry pays the lowest wages? Yawn...so what else is new?

What are you going to pay a 17 yr old with no job history, no experience, and no working skills? Face it the lowest paid people are the ones with little or no working skills or experience, once they aquire these, off they go to bigger and better things. If you want higher wages for the whole industry don't look at the employers, look at the customers, because that's where the money is coming from.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #28 of 65
I try to avoid these topics (drug related) yet I have been following this one off and on since it was unlocked. It certainly has been interesting to see what some folks say.:rolleyes:

But Foodpump? Very well stated!
To add something to your point about wages, In the 27yrs I was actively working in the restaurant industry I never once saw nor held a "gun" to anyones head and force them stay at the position or in the industry. Everyone in this industry is there by their own choice!! You want a better life you make the industry work for you or you find a different job!!

And to be totaly honest... those that "use" rarely reach their potential . Note to those that say "oh I work so much better when......" Trust me you're not, you don't and you never will. From the clean (Never used.) and sober (well mostly but always at work. Sober that is.:look:) side of things, half the time ya'll look and sound like fools and do nothing but make everyone elses job harder.
post #29 of 65
Well i have to agree with that too...
post #30 of 65
What's new about it is that wage are not only low but stagnant at best in terms of inflation adjusted wages over the last twenty years.

Food service workers in many cases are earning LESS than previous years in real terms. And there seems no relief from this adverse trend, as the chain stores attempt to take cooking skill out of the equation and relpace it with cookie cutter precision and proceedure, along with pre prepped foods.

This was precisely the case with my last crew. After two ywars of hard work, training, and a solid amount of progress in their skill levels, they recieved wages that didn't really even cover the increases in their bus fares.

Cooks whites are rapidly evolving as a lower class symbol, to an underclass one.

And all the TV chefs and food network nitwits and the old boy chef's clubs like the ACF aren't doing a thing to improve the situation.

So I would respond:
What are you going to say to a kid that just spent a TON of money on 2 years of culinary school, then spent two years working his arse off, when he gets a fifty cent raise?

What to you say to a young person who perhaps along wioth their parents or even the taxpayer, shelled out significant time and money on a career that offers a pretty low quality of life?

If they went in, eyes wide open, the I agree, tough beans.
But very few are either knowledgible, or get counseled on reality.
Getting them into C-school has become quite a racket.

And make NO doubt about it. Culinary school recruiters don't reveal the truth about wages in this business. Culinary schools are now an industry unto themselves.
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