Restaurant Myths People Believe That, In Reality, Are Totally Untrue

August 22, 2019

Over the years, people have associated fancy (and not-s0-fancy) restaurants with all kinds of myths. You can blame the entertainment industry for this. But these falsehoods are much easy to believe when you’ve never worked in a restaurant or a bar.

Luckily, you don’t have to sling a few drinks or serve a couple of plates to get to the bottom of these “facts.” Nowadays, you just have to do a little research to figure out which restaurant claims are real or false.

But why do these myths pop up in the first place? Well, like in any industry, the majority of the restaurant myths might’ve been accurate at one point in time. Some are no longer correct, though, because either modern technology phased them out or certain societal norms simply changed. It can be hard to extinguish a restaurant myth, however, when the rumor mill keeps on turning.

The good news is that after you learn the truth about these rumors you can enjoy dining out way more. It doesn’t really matter if you order red wine with fish. And it’s not all that bad to have some MSG in your diet either. To help eradicate these myths for good, we gathered the most problematic so-called restaurant secrets one and completely debunked them. You’re welcome.

1. You shouldn’t order fish on Mondays.

But this myth is totally dated.

In 1999, Anthony Bourdain advised people to refrain from ordering fish on Mondays. In his book, Kitchen Confidential, he reasoned that many restaurants used the previous week’s fish on the Monday menu. Apparently, some food establishments just didn’t have access to fresh fish supplies all the time, so they resorted to selling old and potentially unsafe fish at the beginning of the new week. Now, though, even Bourdain concedes that this just isn’t as big of an issue. Most restaurants can easily access fresh seafood on Mondays. So, hey, if you want that salmon on a Monday, get it.

2. Restaurants have the right not to serve you.

No, not exactly.

While restaurants are considered private properties, they still have to follow certain regulations. According to Culinary Lore, restaurant owners might believe they have the right to do this. However, they’re not legally allowed to refuse service to anyone for any reason, discriminatory reasons are especially not allowed. A bartender or server, however, can refuse to serve alcohol to a belligerent customer for safety reasons. The restaurant (and bartender and server) could be liable for any alcohol-related accidents.

3. Waiters will spit in your food if you’re rude.

They probably won’t.

But the servers may get back at you in other ways. For various reasons, some servers lie to customers, argue with them, and even request inappropriately high tip percentages. However, only six percent of people in the food industry admit to contaminating their customers’ food when things went south, according to a survey from Baylor University and the University of Houston.

4. Servers know about every single thing on the menu.

That’s a bit unrealistic.

Yes, it’s the waitstaff’s responsibility to know the ins and outs of the menu. Unfortunately, though, that’s a hard standard to meet all the time. Plus, many menus change all the time. Additionally, many waiters and waitresses have limited knowledge about the chefs’ last-minute changes and adjustments. Consequently, they may not know what every menu item contains for gluten-free or vegan diets.

5. “Kobe beef” and “Wagyu beef” are the same thing.

In fact, these kinds of beef are completely different.

Yes, both Kobe beef and Wagyu beef might taste good. And they may even look similar, but they can, occasionally, be completely different foods. According to the Chicago Steak Company, Wagyu is a particular kind of Japanese cattle. And all Kobe beef comes from this particular cattle. But not every Wagyu cow produces Kobe beef. In fact, these cows produce four different kinds of beef. Kobe beef happens to be the most decadent and expensive kind.

6. You have to drink red wine with red meat and drink white wine with fish or poultry.

You can actually do whatever you want.

Wine sommeliers agree that it’s no longer imperative or even recommended to choose wine based on your meal’s protein. According to sommelier Savanna Ray, “It can be an easy way to pair wine with your meal, but if you want to take it a step further look both at the cooking technique and the sauce before choosing a wine. For instance, steak tartare or steak with béarnaise sauce goes wonderfully with white Burgundy.” All in all, consider more than just the meat to figure out what kind of wine you want to pair with your meal.

7. About 90% of restaurants fail within the first year.

In fact, many of those establishments survive after 365 days.

A lot of people believe this statement to be true. However, two economists decided to end this myth once and for all by conducting a test. In 2014, they used Bureau of Labor Statistics data that encompassed 98% of American. businesses. The research proved that between 1992 and 2011 only 17% of restaurants closed in the first year. According to Forbes, the misconception might be so widely believed because smaller restaurants (with 20 or fewer employees) are known to fail more often.

8. Waiting tables is only for people who are young or looking for their next career move.

There’s nothing wrong with serving tables.

Being a waiter is attached with a negative connotation. Some people assume that waiters are not intelligent or that only teenagers or college students serve tables until they get a “real job.” This myth needs to be thrown out the door, though. Not only is it incredibly rude to think this way, but it’s just not true. Research suggests that more than 50% of American adults (people over 25 years old) work in the food industry.

9. MSG is bad for you.

No, it’s not.

MSG breaks down into two forms – sodium and monosodium glutamate. And the former component is a naturally occurring amino acid. These two things are safe for your body to ingest. While some people can become sensitive to MSG, the majority of people can safely consume it, according to Science Friday.

10. Rare burgers are safe to eat.

Apparently, we should steer clear.

You definitely don’t want to eat a rare burger. The United States Department of Agriculture notes that ground beef is processed more than steak. Consequently, ground portions of beef (and burgers) are more likely to have bacteria mixed in. Plus, Stephanie Pixley, the deputy editor of books at America’s Test Kitchen, said, “During the butchery process, as large cuts of meat are broken down into smaller portions, bacteria can be transferred along the way through cross-contamination.” So opt for a rare steak instead. It’s safer to eat when it has an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

11. You should rub chopsticks together.

Simple answer: nope.

Because a lot of Americans might not know proper chopstick etiquette, it can be easy to follow any rumor or myth we hear about the Asian eating utensils. For instance, not only are you not supposed to rub your chopsticks together to get rid of extra wood shavings, but you’re also not supposed to stick them in your food or cross them on your plate or bowl.

12. Traditional martinis are made with vodka.

Sorry, James Bond, but you’re not going to like this.

When martinis were invented, drink makers added gin to the beverage, not vodka. While you can certainly order a vodka martini today, they’re simply not authentic. According to Paste Magazine, the bartender-approved variation of the martini contains stirred gin with dry vermouth.

13. If the alcohol’s more expensive, the cocktail will be better.

You don’t need to fork over thousands of dollars to have a good cocktail.

This myth gained popularity when the mixology scene was at an all-time low. But now that the craft-cocktail scene has boomed, people tend to realize that not all pricey alcohol is good alcohol. Rule of thumb: If you can afford the drink, order it. But most mixed cocktails are great with regular liquors. Just have fun and follow your taste buds.

14. You can only order shellfish in certain months.

Don’t listen to the rules. Eat what you want to eat.

Years ago, an interesting rumor surfaced. It claimed that people should only 0rder shellfish during months that could be spelled with an “r.” For example, you could order oysters in April but not in May. Obviously, though, this myth is baseless. According to Donald Meritt, an aquaculturist at the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery, shellfish is safe to eat as long as it’s fresh and properly prepped. Meritt shared, “Essentially, if you buy oysters that are grown in healthy waters and they’re handled properly, then there’s no problem with eating them any time of the year.” So don’t worry; just order.

15. Bartenders can chat with you throughout their shifts.

Sorry, they’re not your best friends.

As fun as it might be to chat it up with your local bartender, they’re human and can get busy throughout the night if they have full-length conversations with you. While the entertainment industry might seemingly imply that bartenders can talk all-night-long, they rarely can, especially on Friday or Saturday nights.