Steakhouse worker says employees are not allowed to use the parking lot

@cadealex/TikTok Александр Марченко/.Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘They don’t want rich people to see the workers … parking next to their nice cars’: Steakhouse worker says employees are not allowed to use the parking lot

‘Welcome to the service industry.’


Melody Heald


A new steakhouse worker, while sharing all the bizarre things about his new job, revealed that employees at the restaurant where he works aren’t allowed to use the parking lot. Why?

Illinois TikTok user Cade Alex (@cadealex) management doesn’t want the workers to park their vehicles next to the wealthy customers’ cars. “After day one, I have learned a lot about the food service industry, and I need someone to let me know if this is legal what the restaurant that I work at is doing,” he starts in his video. It’s been viewed over 386,000 times.

He says there is no food and breaks

Alex lists off all the things that made him suspicious about his new job. “First of all, they do not give us breaks or food,” he shares.

This is a shock to Cade since, he says, his previous job at Target forced him to take breaks. “They told me if you work four hours, you get a 15-minute break. If you work eight hours, you get a 30-minute break by the state of Illinois law,” he says.

He then says the servers are not allowed to eat the food while in the kitchen. Moreover, the workers can’t dine at the steakhouse as a customer if they just gone down serving or are about to start their shift. “We are not allowed to eat at the restaurant within two hours before or after our shift,” he says. This is probably due to management not wanting customers to see servers dining alongside them at the restaurant.

Closing time is intense

Furthermore, the employee talks about the intense closing routine. He says workers are expected to be at the restaurant until they are done. “In restaurant lingo, that means three until you’re done,” he shares. “When you clean the kitchen, scrub the floor, scrub the drains, wash the boards and the trays, and do all the janitor work that you did not sign up for.”

Parking is an issue

In addition, he says employees have to park at the nearby mall. “Also, we’re not allowed to park in the parking lot because they don’t want rich people to see the workers walking in, parking next to their nice cars. So, we have to park at the mall and walk over to the steakhouse,” Cade says. 

The silver lining

However, the content creator found a silver lining at his new job and is refusing to quit. “I’m only working here for a few months until I go to grad school, but it definitely feels like an adventure. Every day feels like I’m in The Bear,” he stays. The Bear is a popular Hulu series that follows award-winning chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) in his quest to turn his late brother’s sandwich shop into a Michelin-star level restaurant.

“Let’s just say, this is gonna build a lot of character,” Cade says.

He never discloses the name of the steakhouse but has since made several videos about his time working there.

The Daily Dot reached out to Cade via Instagram direct message and TikTok comment.

@cadealex HOW IZ THIS LEGAL😵‍💫 #job #jobs #jobsearch #jobtips #jobinterview #jobforme #jobless #minimumwage #serverlife #serverproblems #servertiktok ♬ original sound – Cade Alex

Service industry workers weigh in

Service industry workers let Cade know that what he’s experiencing—legal or not—”is the norm in the service industry.”

“I would work 12 hour shifts making $2.15 an hour and would be so shaky and light headed by the end of the shift because we couldn’t eat,” one viewer wrote.

“It bothers me that everyone is like ‘yep that’s how it is’ instead of agreeing this should obviously change,” another said.

Others questioned how Cade is supposed to do an efficient job with some of these hurdles in place.

“How are you supposed to give recommendations if you can’t try the food?!” one questioned.

Cade responded, “EXACTLY!!! I had to lie to someone and say ‘ooo these are really good.’”

Do companies have to provide food and breaks in Illinois?

No, employers in Illinois don’t have to provide food. But breaks are a different story.

According to the Illinois Department of Labor’s website, “An employer may not force an employee to work through a meal break. As such, employees must be permitted to take a meal break for every 7.5 hours worked no later than 5 hours after the start of the shift. An additional 20-minute meal break must be permitted if working a 12-hour shift or longer.”

The site also offers workers the ability to file complaints about their employers online.

And what about parking?

A business can enforce who can and can’t park in their parking lot since they own it. “These areas are under the control of the employer, i.e. those parking areas where the employer can limit access (such as parking lots limited to the employer’s employees and visitors,” per OSHA.

We regrettably covered this story twice. Please find our other coverage here.

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