Posted on 18 Dec 09:56

How I became a gluten-free waiter

I spent several years working in large restaurant chains and slinging tasty beverages behind bars before I landed my position at Liteful Foods. I found my recipe for success at the time was taking classes at my local community college during the day and working my butt off at night by working in the service industry.

Though, my recipe for success may sound easy in blog-form... It certainly wasn’t. Besides being constantly tired and sore, I was developing a certain disdain for the general public and I learned to hate myself for being just another cog in the chain-restaurant machine. For the most part, I tend to keep a cheerful disposition when working… but that is not always easy to do when you have corporate managers asking you why you only sold “25 margaritas instead of 30” or when you are told “you are not here to befriend with customers, you are here to sell to customers”. It wasn’t long before I had to look elsewhere for another job.

Thankfully, my lovely girlfriend at the time was working for a small and booming restaurant called “Company Cafe” that specialized in gluten-free food. She had been working at Company Cafe for about six months now and she informed me that they would soon be opening a second location.

To be perfectly honest, at the time I thought gluten-free eating was a scam. When I worked at the large-scale corporate restaurants chains, I was fed information about gluten-free eating by less than reliable sources. I was told it was just another diet fad. I was told that folks who had to eat gluten-free were “just doing it for the attention” (seriously). So naturally, I was somewhat wary about working for a restaurant that only served gluten-free food.

As you can imagine, I quickly learned that I was very wrong. During the training process at Company Cafe I learned about celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder. I learned how celiac affects 1 in 135 people and how it wasn’t just an allergy… it was a disease that forced its victims to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Not only that, but there was an even larger population of people who were predisposed to eating gluten and developed adverse reactions when eating gluten. I also learned that Company Cafe was started and formed by people who either had this allergy or knew someone who did. They envisioned Company Cafe as a sort of “safe haven” for those with gluten allergies.

It wasn’t long before I learned to love my new job and working for a company that not only took great pride in its food, but also brought great happiness to its guests. There were a number of times when I would see a child’s face light-up when serving them their first slice of gluten-free cake. There were times I had to affirm and reaffirm to my guests that “yes, that chicken fried steak is definitely gluten-free”. I would then witness the look of shock and happiness when they bit into their first ever breaded and fried steak.   

As the years went on I worked my way up in the restaurant and took charge of their social media profiles. I continued my schooling and even worked my way up to a manager position in the company. I learned a lot about gluten-free eating. Oh, and I even proposed and got engaged to that lovely girlfriend I mentioned earlier.

Unfortunately, the Company Cafe location I worked for had to close due to unforeseen circumstances (let’s just say that the guy who owned the property our restaurant sat on... wasn’t a very nice guy). But that was fine because the Company Cafe crew was ready to share their delightful gluten-free goodies with not just Dallas, but the rest of the country. It wasn’t long before Liteful Foods was born and we opened our little shop on the interwebs.

I still work my butt off, I still sell cakes to happy eaters, and I still love my job.

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