One Thing We Rarely Discuss in the Nobody Wants To Work Debate

There’s a great divide in bars and restaurants

Rocco Pendola
4 min readNov 9, 2021


Photo by shruti dadwal on Unsplash

When my girlfriend and I visited my parents over the summer they took us to dinner at a nice steakhouse in Western New York.

Where I’m from the nobody wants to work and they can’t find any help myths prevail.

Total bull shit.

And the server, who spewed these lies almost immediately after he came to our table, proved that they are indeed bull shit when he went on his little rant.

Here’s the scene.

My parents were about to drop upwards of $250 on dinner and drinks. So we’re talking a tip in the neighborhood of $50, if not more. My parents tend to be good tippers. Not the type of people who would make me feel obliged to slip the server a twenty on the way out the door.

The restaurant wasn’t slammed, but it wasn’t dead either. I’d call it moderately busy.

Plus, it was early. My parents tend to eat early.

Having worked in high-volume (and not so high volume) restaurants and bars prior to the pandemic, I have a decent handle on how much servers and bartenders walk with at the end of the night. When I managed a bar, I saw how much everybody collected in tips. It often made me wonder why I decided to manage.

At a minimum, this particular server and his dining room counterparts would walk with $250 in tips that night. Maybe more. A $300-$400 tip out would not have surprised me.

Do that — or better — three to four nights a week in this small Upstate New York city and you’re doing incredibly well.

With that in mind, this guy had a lot of nerve to advance the nobody wants to work bull shit narrative.

His own words tell you all you need to know.

Nobody wants to work. We can’t find anybody to work in the kitchen.

In the kitchen.

That’s the key.

It’s the great divide between what’s commonly referred to as front of house (bartenders, servers, etc.) and back of house (cooks, dishwashers, etc.). The people who get tips and those who don’t.