"You don't have to go home, but you can't eat here." Those words were spoken to me a couple of months ago at a diner in Pope County, eight o'clock at night at a restaurant that used to be 24 hours. The waitress told me the cook had gone home because work had become so light. She offered me coffee and said she could pull a sweet roll from the next morning's breakfast, but the kitchen was closed.
Day after Thanksgiving, I have a hungry toddler in the car and the hubster is grumpy. We're still half an hour from the house and need a bite to eat. So we stop at a particular chain restaurant (one of those places where the guy behind the counter assembles your food), expecting to be able to just get something quick. The doors are open, but there's no one behind the counter. I call for assistance, and a young woman comes out and tells me "we've already put up the food. You can buy a drink, but we're not selling food." According to the times posted on the business window, the place is supposed to be open for another hour and a half.
Last night, the Twitterstream lit up with a couple of acquaintances disappointed, having being "sat" at a local eatery and then told several minutes later that the kitchen had closed half an hour before.
I know times are tough, and perhaps sending home an employee would save on labor. But when is it really acceptable for a restaurant to be open but its kitchen closed? Have you had this experience lately? Share yours here.