young woman with caption 'there's no way you've worked in food service before if you still order soup at restaurants' (l) soup (r)

photohwan/Shutterstock @hallemerck/TikTok (Licensed)

‘They keep the same ones for up to weeks’: Former restaurant workers explain why they never order soup

‘I just try not to think about it.’


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. For instance, most people wouldn’t think twice about ordering soup at a restaurant—but that’s just because they don’t know the truth, at least according to the response to an enigmatic TikTok.

Posted under the hashtag #serverlife, a simple eight-second video shows TikTok user Halle Merck (@hallemerck) staring stonily into the camera. The clip’s text overlay reads, “there’s no way you’ve worked in food service before if you still order soup at restaurants.”

Merck doesn’t explain why she’s so averse to buying restaurant soup, nor does she state where she was formerly employed, but apparently, this is an “if you know, you know” kind of situation. In the comments section, other food industry workers agreed with her personal soup boycott.

Why? Several commenters said a lot of restaurants reuse the same container of soup for days at a time. People in the industry claimed they can’t trust restaurant soup to be fresh.

@hallemerck stop lying #serving #serverlife #AXERatioChallenge #foryou #fyp #864 #sc #restaurant #foryoupage #servertiktok ♬ Boy’s a liar Pt. 2 – PinkPantheress & Ice Spice

“They keep the same ones for up to weeks,” reads one top comment. “I still order soups tho lol.”

Another wrote, “my bf and I both worked in restaurants, but once a year we crave olive garden soups,” adding, “I just don’t think about it.” Merck replied, “olive garden soups are the only exception.”

Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of restaurant workers shared exactly the same experiences. While some commenters said their workplaces served fresh soup or kept the portions frozen for storage, they were outnumbered by people agreeing with Merck’s warning. Some even chimed in to name other food that gets left out for way too long in the kitchen, like bread, salads, or toppings.

This is definitely reminiscent of a series of viral TikToks warning people about drinking sweet tea at restaurants—although the consequences aren’t quite so dire.

Although it’s certainly concerning that so many restaurants apparently leave soup standing around for days on end, the sweet tea issue involves actual mold. If you don’t clean tea urns thoroughly on a regular basis, mold quickly builds up in the liquid, and it can very easily make you sick.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Merck via email.

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