When Lulu Glenn sent me a text me back in November with her take on Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” I knew I had to get on board. Mean Tweets is huge. When Obama does one, you know it’s the real deal. Lulu wanted servers and bartenders to do the same thing with Yelp reviews. At that time she was rounding up the talent, but I wanted to do more than just read a review–I wanted to help make it.
Lulu was open to the idea of collaboration, so after a couple months of holiday procrastination followed by New Years’ lets-do-this prep, it was done. We were really lucky with this project. Our cast and crew believed in what we were doing as much as we did. On top of that we had plenty of kind people who watched early cuts and gave us great feedback. And finally, many friends and several (very cool) websites shared the video. Within a single week we received over 100,000 views. To internet pros that may be chump change. But to those of us who count large groups of people in terms like “Damn, I just got sat another 8 top!” 100K is a huge haul. In case you haven’t seen it, you can find our video at the end of this article.
So now, a week later, our little project was embraced by a community of servers, cooks, bartenders, and other food service workers. Most thought it was “hilarious” and “epic” and some even “share(d) the f*** outta” it. Surprisingly, others empathized so deeply with our readers that they didn’t think it was funny at all. I can assure these viewers that we all had a fun time doing this. No feelings were hurt. If anything, it allowed us to drop the facade we have to put up for customers and give our own spin to that strange anonymous cruelty. You could say we brought the back of house (BOH) humor to the front of house (FOH).
Confession time: I haven’t been in the food industry for a little over three years. Before that I had worked eight years as a server, expo, caterer, tap-puller, table-busser, etc etc. My review, however, was dated from my days as an expo–so it’s legit, don’t worry. I guess you could say “I got out.” But if you don’t mind, I have some advice as a BTDT survivor of the food biz.
If you want to make it, make it. If you want to do it, do it. Don’t let dirty dishes, bad tips, worn out nonslip shoes, and Mean Yelp Reviews force you to postpone your dreams. Food service is a tough job, but you’re the only one that can focus on what really gives you strength.
You may have to keep your job as a server for several years while you’re working towards your goal, and that’s fine. In the case you know what you want to do, it will be worth it. Even if you switch jobs and start a career it will take time to get to where you want to be. And since you’ve worked in the trenches of a restaurant, you’re no stranger to the hustle–you can handle it. For those of you who are lifetime food service employees, God bless you. Yet if you’re frustrated day in and day out, find something that sustains you. Find the thing that allows you to shake off an anonymous Yelper calling your haircut stupid. Also, you may want to take a hard look in the mirror just in case your haircut is stupid. Just in case. (Ted, your haircut is not stupid.)
Have any questions about how this video was made? Hit me up on twitter @GrahamHigh
Watch, like, share! If you already have, thanks a ton. You’re the overtippers of this world.
Graham is the director/editor of Mean Yelp Reviews, along with serving as producer. You can find his other work here: youtube.com/user/grahamihigh