Sugar Factory restaurant view from street (l) ice cream in bowl with caption '$100 18,000 calorie Ice cream' (c) Sugar Factory workers dancing (r)

@ugh_madison/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

Should restaurants make their servers dance? TikTokers react to Sugar Factory’s $99-sundae dance routine

It’s a gross trend that should be put to an end.


Chloe Stillwell

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 29, 2023


Despite the fact that people will always go out to eat, restaurants still find ways to enhance the experience, turning otherwise regular dining into over-the-top, or sometimes downright kitschy, nights out. One way restaurateurs innovate is by adding novelty food items to menus. You want a burger covered in gold leaf? You can have it. You want cheese wheels melted and scraped onto your plate tableside? That’s a thing too. And don’t forget dessert. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s a $99 sundae served at the popular Sugar Factory chain that’s sure to scratch that itch. But no matter how you feel about the necessity or not of two dozen scoops of ice cream adorned in candy and other confections, the real question is, should servers be required to dance when they bring it to you?

TikTok has quickly caught wind of the Sugar Factory’s new protocol, in which the $99 King Kong sundae is brought to guests and then… there is a dance. Videos have gone viral of servers doing various intricate choreography to present the expensive ice cream. Most of the videos are posted in awe, with customers fawning over the presentation and encouraging others to go seek out the experience for themselves.

@joshandsav they had FULL choreography!!! 😂🥰 #sugarfactory #birthday ♬ original sound – joshandsav

One user even wrote in the comments, “I’ve never seen a restaurant go this crazy for a birthday celebration!! I love this and I want this when it’s my birthday so I can dance with them!!“ And while it’s okay to get excited for what’s just being offered by the restaurant—the customers aren’t making the servers do anything—it’s kind of fucked up for service industry workers to be put in that position by their employers. 

@_heavenlycurves Shout out to the staff @Sugar Factory Official Detroit! They did that 🙌👌 Happy Birthday to me ♊️🥳 #thesugarfactory #thesugarfactorydetroit #gemini #birthday #birthdaycake #fyp #dance ♬ original sound – HeavenlyCurves

Service industry work is some of the most skilled, tough work out there, and it’s also often thankless. The pandemic largely made people rethink these positions which ultimately became deemed “essential work.” Bad tippers and rude restaurant goers had to reevaluate their relationship to their precious eating out lifestyles when servers, bartenders, kitchen, and support staff were suddenly risking their lives just to bring food to tables. And luckily we’ve had a hangover from that reawakening that has put more emphasis on working conditions and fair pay for an industry that buoys the economy in most major cities.

So who then thinks that on top of everything, workers should have to dance for customers? It’s gross and uncomfortable. Some users in the comments feel the same sentiment. One wrote, “Imagine having a bad day at work and then you have to do this lol,” while another added, “they should get paid extra for every birthday dance.” Hopefully, as more videos emerge on TikTok, Sugar Factory will put an end to its awkward King Kong sundae dance, and just serve ice cream like normal people—without a forced dance.

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*First Published: Jun 29, 2023, 3:15 pm CDT