Waiters – Prepare For A $350 Bill

Throughout my life I have worked as a server.  I enjoy it, to be honest, and have worked at many different restaurants including Bob Evans,  Chillis, Cheddars, and now The Elephant Bar.

Now, let me make a few things clear.  Working as a server or bartender is not the easiest profession in the world.  It can be fast paced and stressful.  With long shifts on your feet. Furthermore servers, like me, make money from the gracious tips our customers leave.

Some days/nights this is a blessing.  Other times a curse.

So as you can imagine for many servers out there every single dollar counts.

With that in mind, can someone please explain to me this new law?

Pursuant to Senate Bill 704, enacted into law in 2016, all retail food handlers, as defined, will be required to obtain a food handler card after taking a food safety training course and passing an exam to obtain a license which will be good for 12 months from the date of issue. The fee for such exam will be $350.00 and will be a requirement of any/all service employers who shall be serving food with the exception of the aforementioned districts. The guideline document was compiled by a stakeholder working group comprised of members of the National Retail Food Safety Coalition (NRFSC), the National Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (NCDEH), and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).  The frequently asked questions and answers in the document are intended to provide guidance for food handlers, local enforcement agencies, industry, and training providers as this law is implemented and becomes effective on January 1, 2017.

Now I am not saying that servers and bartenders should not obtain a food handler’s card. I am all in favor of better training, IF the training is effective, and leads to a positive outcome.

Gene Lee, president and chief executive officer of Darden (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, etc.), had this to say about the law: “We feel this new bill will improve the overall safety and excellence that we will be able to provide to our guest.”

My only question is how?  How will this “new” training improve safety and excellence?

Further, why is the government getting involved?  Where does this $350.00 charge go? Who benefits from that money?

It seems to me that this is just a ploy to make money for someone by taking it from us?

When Gene Lee was asked if Darden would ever consider paying for the card on behalf of their employees, he said, “At this time, there are no plans for that. The staff will be responsible if they want to work with the Darden company.”

If you think this kind of legislation is unfair, and want to do something about it, please Sign This Petition and help overturn this law!