My name is Adam.
Until today, I worked for Chili’s. I had worked for the company for one year and seven months and had spent the last two months working in Orlando Florida. More specifically, I worked at Chili’s at Alafaya and East Colonial near the UCF campus. Before I spill anything else, I must say, that the Chili’s in Palm Beach Gardens that trained me for the first year and five months is a fantastic restaurant that has taught me about working as a team and how to serve with great customer service. I love all of my coworkers at that location and the management. I am very proud to have given that location a year and five months of my service.
Today however, after two months at this new location, I walked out. This Chili’s at Alafaya is nothing like the company I thought I knew. How many of you enjoy a chocolate molten cake after a chicken or steak fajita? Want to hear a few fun facts about this Chili’s? Spoons are hard to come by sometimes. They are especially rare in the middle of a weekend dinner rush. I have seen my coworkers simply grab dirty ones and wipe them off to serve. Those skillets that the fajitas are served on are also used to serve Texas cheese fries that can have some wicked grime that is glued to the bottom. I have seen clean skillets at my older location and I can tell you that I have never seen a clean one at this new place. What is clean anyway? “Clean” at Chili’s at Alafaya means simply this: “the dish has passed through the dish washer.” Those skillets can have burnt cheese, grease, onion, peppers or anything else fused to the serving bottom and can be considered clean because they have passed through the dish washer. I have seen skillets with easily distinguishable cheese still stuck to the bottom from the last order being used to serve a fajita. Customers will never know because they are too distracted with the smoke and all of the other crap. (Or so the cooks, servers and managers hope)
Have you ever encountered a piece of carrot or tomato in your drink while sipping? Of course not. It is our job as servers and managers to catch these things and remove them from the drink before we serve it. I have even seen managers remove these things from bar drinks instead of having the bartender remake the drink with a “clean” glass to save a couple of dollars. Do you like chips and salsa? Most people that eat at Chili’s do. Those little salsa bowls can have things fused to the side too. I have seen chocolate, cilantro, (both possible allergens) cheese, and other unidentifiables stuck to the sides before salsa is poured in because hopefully no one will notice.
At the Chili’s in PBG, a chicken pasta was inspected and a hair was found. The meal was thrown out and remade immediately. At the Chili’s in Alafaya, I have seen a long hair pulled out of a salad and the meal was served. I have seen hair pulled out of a fajita and it was served. How does this happen? There will be several tables worth of food being pumped into the expo’s window and he will focus on the check times and have the meals sent out as quickly as possible no matter what may be wrong with the order. (Always under management’s orders) I am ashamed to say that I have wiped off foreign ingredients that have been stuck to the plates and survived the dish washer. When managers see check times past twenty minutes, they flip s*** and just make sure that the “food” is sent out with no regard to quality or sanitation.
What happens in the kitchen behind the line at Chili’s in Alafaya? I have seen cooks use their bare hands to handle, cook and prepare food with no regard to cross contamination or possible allergies. An example of this is when a cook picks up raw chicken with his bare hands and throws it on the grill. Then in the same step, he will wipe his hands off on a rag and then assemble a sandwich. If a customer ordered loaded nachos with no jalapenos and they were made with them, I have seen the cooks just pluck them off with his bare hands and reserve the dish. What happens if the soap dispenser runs empty? It will stay that way and only water will be used until who knows when. This may happen with any sink in the building.
Speaking of soap, or hand-washing in general for that matter, it seems to be completely optional. I have seen servers bus a table, drop dirty dishes off at the dish pit getting mixtures of any kind of dressing, drink, sauce or anything on their hands and then touch a customer’s food without washing their hands with soap. (Only rinsing quickly with water) They may push chips onto a basket to make sure they don't fall off, put a bun on top of a burger, use their nail to remove cilantro that is stuck to a plate they are about to serve a desert on, etc. Oh and the cups everyone drinks from seem to always have some kind of grime. Tomato seeds, carrot bits, or just any little bits of food from the dish-washer always seem to be on them. Servers will use their hands (Washed or not) into the cup to wipe things off before filling them with beverages. (The water in the dish washer is changed about every hour or more depending on how dirty the dishes come out).
Does management do anything about this? No, the managers are totally blind or just don’t care. The managers at Chili’s in Alafaya do not seem to care about the customers at all and only want to report higher numbers to the boss. They will do whatever it takes to survive the rushes and let their employees get away with anything to do so. They can actually be completely rude and belittling to their staff too. Today, the general manger Vince turned his back to me several times while I asked him for help to better serve my customers. He only made things worse by visiting two of my tables with forty minute missing food with complete ignorance to the situations then ordered me to “take care of my tables.” This would have been possible if the meals had been made in the first place. Also, once they had been made, not been taken by another server to his or her table instead of mine. Remember, there is a guy, the QA, (AKA the expo) or a manager that directs food to the right tables as meals are prepared. After all is said and done, I am viewed as a j****** by my tables for not having what they requested right and on time. Furthermore, I am labeled viewed as a weak server by my manager for the mistakes and am given a look as if I were made of sour cheese if I ask for help.
At Chili’s in Palm Beach Gardens, everyone focused on working as a team to provide the best customer service, at this Alafaya location, everyone works with a much more selfish state of mind to just get through the shift and on with their lives and disregard anything else. Food can be taken out of turn, drinks can be stolen, requests for help can be ignored, and anyone can be rude to anybody. All together, Chili’s at Alafaya is a terrible and miserable place to work and eat and should be shut down. I was proud to work for Brinker International until I came to this location. Now I am embarrassed to say that I work at Chili’s and want absolutely nothing to do with this company.