Serving Up the Surprising Truth About Waiters and Waitresses
The stories that demand telling the most are often about the people we think about the least.
Where’s My Food?! is a new documentary that serves up the surprising truth about waiters and waitresses. Even if you're not one of the one-in-ten Americans who currently work in food service, there's a good chance you worked in a restaurant at some point in your life.
Would you be surprised to know that Americans spend half of our food dollars -- $660 billion per year -- in restaurants? (Fifty years ago we spent only 20% of our food budget eating out.) That kind of revenue empowered the National Restaurant Association (a.k.a. "the other NRA") to successfully lobby Congress in 1996 to keep the federal minimum wage for tipped workers at $2.13/hour. It's been that low ever since.
Viewers of Where’s My Food?! are introduced to nine food servers who represent a diverse mix of ages, backgrounds and incomes. The film highlights their often-hidden struggles with the NRA, poverty-level wages, discrimination, substance addictions, and serious health issues that impact coworkers and customers.
Frequent restaurant customers candidly admit how they sometimes “punish” servers by leaving very low tips. However these same customers show little awareness of how waiters and waitresses actually earn their living. Where’s My Food?! takes viewers behind the scenes into the "back of the house," where chefs and cooks rule.
Viewers hear from academic and industry experts who explain how tipping works from psychological and socioeconomic perspectives, how one executive chef runs his restaurants with an iron fist and a soft heart, and how consumers can drive positive change through awareness and political action.
Waiters and waitresses have no unified voice. If we, the customers, choose to leave this highly profitable industry unexamined and unaccountable, then we’re essentially encouraging restaurants to take advantage of their low-wage employees.
The producers of Where’s My Food?! invite you to join this discussion and to follow the progress of this important documentary.