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Thread: a vegan working in a restaurant?

  1. #1
    * petunia's Avatar
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    Default a vegan working in a restaurant?

    hi. i am new... and i hope this thread doesnt earn me some hate points...
    ...just kidding... sort of.

    i am a vegan who works in a restaurant that serves meat. i have been working in restaurants on and off for a long time.
    i have quit different restaurants many times because of my ethical beliefs....
    but i am a student, and relatively poor. i always seem to go back to serving in restauraunts because the tips are amazing; i can earn a wage that is quite good - with my wage and tips i end up making about twenty-five dollars an hour; compared to the eight to ten dollars an hours i would make anywhere else. i live in vancouver, bc; the rent is ridiculous!
    if i did not serve in restaurants i would be well below the poverty line... which is obviously not the best place to be.
    but... i have some SERIOUS ethical conflicts in regards to what i do for a living.... obviously.
    i feel like a bad person/bad vegan for working in restaurants. i feel like i am selling my soul for money. its a horrible feeling. but at the same time, i have tried working at other places and i ended up being so poor that i could barely afford to buy food! it was awful.
    i have asked many friends what they think of this situation (none of these friends are vegan-some are vegetarian), and most people seem to think that a jobs a job. as long as im not eating it, its ok.
    i am curious what other vegans think (please dont be too harsh, i feel horrible about my current situation)
    so yeah, i would love to hear other vegans opinions/input/comments/ideas/suggestions/conclusions about my restaurant situation.
    oh yeah, if youre going to say "work at a veg restaurant!" ive tried. they are EXTREMELY hard to get into because EVERYONE wants to work at them.

    thanks so much
    ps this is long; sorry

  2. #2
    Metal Head emzy1985's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    I have suffered this conflict for most of my life. I have worked in restaurants and distribution centres that associate with meat, dairy, eggs etc etc. However my out look is live by example. You want the world to be vegan right? Where better place to start than a place where there is unlikely to be vegans. You will be suprised how much of an impact you can have on people just by being positive and healthy. Also you are not contributing towards animal curelty...it is not who you work for, it is how you spend your money. Others may feel differently, but believe me...I'm young and earn a low wage. I have to buy food to survive...I have to pay bills and rent etc etc and nowhere else pays me as much as I'm getting here although it's not the best place in the world to work it pays the bills. As soon as something more ethical comes up, that's where I will heading.
    Most of us on here are pretty open minded and considerate to peoples situations. No one is gonna hate you for your right to survive.
    The taste of anything in my mouth for 5 seconds does not equate to the beauty and complexity of life.

  3. #3
    AnneCE's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    I agree with emzy1985. You have to be pragmatic. You starving and dropping out of your course won't help animals or the environment or your health.
    But this is not your long-term situation, when you finish your course, you will have more options and opportunities. So plan for that, do what you have to now, and do your bit to spread the vegan message by example.

  4. #4
    Gazes at Trees
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    Quote petunia View Post
    hi. i am new... and i hope this thread doesnt earn me some hate points...
    ...just kidding... sort of.

    i am a vegan who works in a restaurant that serves meat. i have been working in restaurants on and off for a long time.
    i have quit different restaurants many times because of my ethical beliefs....
    but i am a student, and relatively poor. i always seem to go back to serving in restauraunts because the tips are amazing; i can earn a wage that is quite good - with my wage and tips i end up making about twenty-five dollars an hour; compared to the eight to ten dollars an hours i would make anywhere else. i live in vancouver, bc; the rent is ridiculous!
    if i did not serve in restaurants i would be well below the poverty line... which is obviously not the best place to be.
    but... i have some SERIOUS ethical conflicts in regards to what i do for a living.... obviously.
    i feel like a bad person/bad vegan for working in restaurants. i feel like i am selling my soul for money. its a horrible feeling. but at the same time, i have tried working at other places and i ended up being so poor that i could barely afford to buy food! it was awful.
    i have asked many friends what they think of this situation (none of these friends are vegan-some are vegetarian), and most people seem to think that a jobs a job. as long as im not eating it, its ok.
    i am curious what other vegans think (please dont be too harsh, i feel horrible about my current situation)
    so yeah, i would love to hear other vegans opinions/input/comments/ideas/suggestions/conclusions about my restaurant situation.
    oh yeah, if youre going to say "work at a veg restaurant!" ive tried. they are EXTREMELY hard to get into because EVERYONE wants to work at them.

    thanks so much
    ps this is long; sorry
    Petunia, first, don't worry about the length of your post! and please don't beat yourself up for your situation, your heart is most definitely in the right place - no-one here would think badly of you, we're not like that here!

    If anyone here in the Forum judged you in a negative way then that would say more about them than it does about you. You have good intentions and you will find your own way, you just have to work with what you've got.

    Emzy's right, and if we all avoided meat eaters how would we even start a conversation that leads anywhere useful to help them realise the truth?

    You could always recommend dishes on the vegie end of the scale if you wanted to, the choice is yours. Good Luck with your studies and Take Care

  5. #5

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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    when i was a student i used to work in a cafe not just serving the meat but cooking it too - yuck! then i worked in residential homes for quite some time which would also involve cooking of animal products. can't say i enjoyed it, but these people won't stop eating meat just because i stop serving it. and me dropping out of my course due to poverty would have helped noone. so please don't feel bad about the situation you are in. instead you could make (gentle) suggestions about getting a bit more variety on the menu.

  6. #6
    * petunia's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    thank you everyone.
    im glad to hear that others would probably do the same as i am, given the situation
    agatha, youll be glad to know that we do have a nice variety (not as much as i would like - lol) of vegetarian food on the menu. and most of what is veg is either vegan or can be made to be vegan.
    so i guess thats a start...

  7. #7
    chord monkey derwenna's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    You might be able to help your customers by knowing which items are vegan or can be made vegan (and understanding what vegan means in the first place), and as someone else said you might get the opportunity to recommend the veg*n dishes to customers, so think of it as being in a position to potentially do some good!

  8. #8
    * petunia's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    thanks derwenna.
    you know whats interesting, is that a vegan came into the restaurant i work at recently (we dont get that many of them), and he wanted to know about the vegetarian options.
    so of course i gave him a complete run-down of all the veg options, including what was vegan, and what could be made vegan.
    he was really nice and appreciative of the information (had had our delicious veggie sandwich, minus the cheese).
    about a week after that my boss posted an email that he had recieved from this man about me and how i gave him such good service and was so informative.
    it was great because (although hes never done it to me) my boss has critized the other vegetarian that works there, telling her that because she cannot taste the food, she cannot thoroughly describe it to customers.
    so if he ever critizes me, ill remind him of that email, because if i was not vegan, there would be no way that i would have known that much about the vegan opions on the menu.

  9. #9
    yum! angelamc's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    It sounds like your job isn't too terrible so if I were you, I wouldn't feel too bad. You made a difference by offering that guy advice on veggie dishes because he sent your boss a glowing note on your vegan knowledge! I think you're doing a great job!
    I work in a restaurant that serves meat, too, but we also specialize in vegan cuisine so I always reccomend our vegan options when people ask for suggestions. Every little bit counts...
    http://www.thepressrestaurant.com
    Last edited by angelamc; Dec 5th, 2007 at 06:04 AM. Reason: fixed the link

  10. #10
    * petunia's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    thanks angelamc.

    do you ever feel guilty or hypocritical for working in a meat-serving restaurant?


  11. #11
    yum! angelamc's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    I don't feel bad about where I work because we have so much vegan food to offer. I know I would feel bad if I worked in a steak house, though.

  12. #12
    emoticonaddict Spud Addict's Avatar
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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    I can totally understand where you're coming from, Petunia. I was previously a partner in a meat-based takeaway where I had to handle and prepare meat on a daily basis. Without going into too much detail it was certain preparation jobs that needed doing that turned me vegan in the first place. I ended up having to run it for just over a year after I became vegan, and I felt like a hypocrite every day.
    I employed the same intentional ignorance that I used to use when I ate meat to get myself through it.

    The upside was, that I changed the pizza dough recipe to a vegan one, made sure that any vegetarian/vegan fried options had a separate frier and provided indepth information to customers about what was in products.

    No-one is going to judge you, your life choices are making such a huge contribution already, but having said that I never really said anything about my old job before because I didn't really feel like a 'proper vegan' while I was doing what I was doing. The job I have now though, I'm still selling things like sandwiches with meat in, or cake products or crisps with dairy. It's very difficult imo to find a job that's 100% vegan, but like emzy said, I think it's good to work in a job unlikely to have other vegans.

    I also think that if veggies/vegans want to go out to an omni restaurant with friends/family, knowing there's a friend on the inside will be a great comfort to them in ordering with confidence.

    [/essay]
    No sense being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: a vegan working in a restaurant?

    I feel the same way.

    I am a student with bills to pay. I could not afford to work more hours, or make less money with the time I have to work. Also, by location, there are no vegan restaurants close enough for me to seek employment. As much as I hate watching people slice into steak, or the smell of meat in the air. I feel like this is a short stint in my life, and I can get through it to accomplish my many career goals in the future. Some of my co-workers give me a hard time for not eating any of the food, or not at least tasting it, but they do not understand how repulsive it is to me. And I also understand people do not share the same views as I do.

    Some days are worst than others, and I feel being a server in an environment you do not feel comfortable in is even worst. Good thing I'm a great server, and can connect with people. I just have to remind myself that even if I was not physically there serving them their meals, someone else would be doing it.

    I am so glad I joined this forum, and I got the chance to reply. I feel much better after reading some of these responses

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