Being A Restaurant Owner Shouldn’t Make You A Tool

This Week’s Contemplations While Marathon Training

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

In between coaching myself to success, motivating myself to persevere, and cheerleading my efforts along the way, my mind weaves, winds, and wonders. Running is among other things a chance for me to “let my thoughts go where the f they want to go”. I spend the majority of my runs choreographing the most amazing back-up dances to like, every single song that plays.

This week I was triggered while running past a bar I interviewed at, and immediately went down a rabbit hole which brings me to this weeks contemplation:

“Why are so many restaurant and bar owners, assholes?”

In this triggering instance, the owner of a new Irish bar was super rude and asked me multiple times, “… you DO have experience?” I honestly didn’t really know what to say. I was astonished he asked so many times. Part of me was offended he was ungentlemanly, and another part of me was withholding a Real Housewives yelling match moment. Our entire encounter made no sense to me and I was happy to sashay away, never to return or speak positively about them again.


I reflected on the last job that I quit. I’ve never walked out of a job before, but at the end of this particular shift, I had to. This owner was sitting at a bar down the street, checking the cameras over his phone… he texted the bartender to tell me to take off a jacket I was wearing. It matched the uniform, and even the manager was like, “… seriously?

Honestly the last time I was called out for a uniform might have been in college when I didn’t have a belt to wear, and I had to go home and get one and come back only then to be written up for being late to my shift. I was 20, then. I just felt like… “why is this moment so petty… it’s like, 45 degrees outside so why can’t I be comfortable…

I also wasn’t paid properly, which was a warning from a previous server.

Girl, Bye.

Or how about one a few years ago: he changed the music, on his phone, from home, via Spotify, because he thought our choice was inappropriate for the vibe of the restaurant. Tell me, what kind of music goes with small, quaint, low-attended restaurant?

Why? Just, why.

This one might be the worst:
I picked up shifts this past holiday season at a Christmas themed bar and each shift was 11+ hours, and we got a 15 minute break to eat in a small prep kitchen area. Illegal! Every 8 hour shift in NYC requires a 30 minute break. I’m not sure how someone who owns 4 establishments has the gall to outwardly disregard the law for the sake of making money.

Oh, wait. I think I’ve heard that one before.


I was an opening staff member at this place which had burgers and steak on the menu, but we opened with no grill because we didn’t have gas connected. I mean, I’ve never really seen such a forced and rushed opening before. A portion of the restaurant was under construction… and barely even touched for the majority of my 4 month employment. And I’m sick of hearing about the aspirations an owner has to, “change the way staff are treated in the hospitality industry” when the most blatant issues were present at hers: drunk bar manager, inappropriate kitchen crew, staff turn over galore, and methods that don’t make sense.


Ya know, in conclusion, I’ve had the chance to work for some bomb owners and managers. A few losers in the bunch are now great happy hour chatter. I guess the main lesson I’ve learned over the years is to follow and listen to my gut; I came across so many red flags and succumbed to them because I thought, “Oh, I need this job and can’t”, or some other excuse. Patience, a little perseverance, and as my Mom would say, “a little elbow grease” and positive situations come from the darkness.

What will next week’s long run bring to mind…



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Matthew Walfish

Matthew Walfish

Software Engineer. Retired Dancer. Marathoner & Yogi. Photo Lover. Dog Dad.