Adam Ruins Restaurants

Oct 25 2015

In this episode, Adam uncovered the hidden truths of dining out, including why tipping is a custom we should ditch, the fact that experts can't tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine and why seafood fraud is rampant in the restaurant industry. If you have an appetite for more, here are the sources he used.


"Restaurants in the U.S. pay servers less than the minimum wage, as low as two dollars and change per hour."

United States. Department of Labor. Wage and Hour Division (WHD): Minimum Wages for Tipped Employees. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 2015. Web.

 "For most of our history, Americans considered tipping for better service an undemocratic form of bribery."

 Segrave, Kerry. Tipping: An American Social History of Gratuities. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1998. Print.

"Research shows that only two percent of the difference between tips left by different parties can be explained by the quality of service. No matter how good of a server you are, you’ll be tipped about the same."

Lynn, Michael. "Restaurant Tipping and Service Quality: A Tenuous Relationship." Cornell University School of Hotel Administration The Scholarly Commons 42.1 (2001): 14-20. Web.

"And the worst part is, tipping results in discriminatory pay. The research shows that white servers are consistently tipped more than black servers, across the board."

Brewster, Zachary W., and Michael Lynn. "Black–White Earnings Gap among Restaurant Servers: A Replication, Extension, and Exploration of Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tipping." Sociological Inquiry 84.4 (2014): 545-69. Web.

"And since discriminatory pay is against the law, it’s kind of surprising that this whole system isn’t straight up illegal."

United States. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. U.S. Government, n.d. Web.

"And some [restaurants] are already [abolishing tipping]."

Cohen, Patricia. "As Minimum Wages Rise, Restaurants Say No to Tips, Yes to Higher Prices." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 23 Aug. 2015. Web.

"Did you know that Jaegermeister was named named in honor of Hermann Göring's 'Jaegermeisters', or 'Huntmasters', during the Nazi era?"

Usborne, Simon. "How Jägermeister changed the way we drink." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 20 Apr. 2013. Web.

"Many of the most popular “craft” beers are made by huge corporations. The term is totally unregulated and can be used by anyone."

Tuttle, Brad. "That Craft Beer You’re Drinking Isn’t Craft Beer. Do You Care?" Time Magazine. Time Inc.,13 Aug. 2013. Web.

"A lot of supposedly “small batch” bourbons and ryes are the same liquor, slightly changed, with a cooler label."

"Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others." The Salt. NPR, Washington D.C., 30 July 2014. NPR. Web. 

"Here’s the big secret: the experts can’t tell the difference [between expensive and inexpensive wines] either."

Dubner, Stephen J. "Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?" Freakonomics. WNYC, New York, New York, 16 Dec. 2010. Radio.

"Frédéric Brochet of the University of Bordeaux performed a series of tests on unsuspecting wine experts. But for the sake of TV, we’ll call them wine pranks."

McRaney, David. "'You Are Not So Smart': Why We Can't Tell Good Wine From Bad." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 28 Oct. 2011. Web.

"Did you know that lobster was originally food for poor people? It wasn’t until the 40s that it became associated with wealth."

Luzer, Daniel. "How Lobster Got Fancy." Pacific Standard. The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy, 7 June 2013. Web.

"Nearly all farmed salmon is actually dyed pink."

Guilford, Gwynn. "The Costliest Part of Feeding Farmed Salmon: A Pill That Turns Them Pink." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 15 Mar. 2015. Web.

"Actually, even when the menu says “wild salmon”, often you’re getting farmed salmon and just don’t know it."

Burros, Marian. "Stores Say Wild Salmon, but Tests Say Farm Bred." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 10 Apr. 2005. Web.

"The mislabelling of fish is rampant in the restaurant industry."

Warner, Kimberly, Ph.D, Walker Timme, Beth Lowell, and Michael Hirshfield, Ph.D. Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide. Rep. N.p.: Oceana, 2013. Web.

"While escolar is delicious, its flesh contains waxy deposits that are not easy to digest."

Mims, Christopher. "59% of the 'Tuna' Americans Eat Is Not Tuna." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Feb. 2013. Web.

"But it [the orange roughy] didn’t [seem so tasty] back when the same fish used to be called ‘the slimehead’."

Fahrenthold, David A. “Tastier Names Trouble for Seafood Stocks.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, 31 July 2013. Web.

"In France, after the Revolution toppled the aristocracy, the nobles’ personal chefs had nowhere to work. They opened fine restaurants so that anyone, no matter their background, could eat like a king for a day."

Bramen, Lisa. "When Food Changed History: The French Revolution." Smithsonian Institution, 14 July 2010. Web.

"The ice cream cone was invented during the 1904 world’s fair in St. Louis."

Kennedy, Pagan. "Who Made That Ice-Cream Cone?" The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 01 June 2013. Web. 

For More On This Topic

Why Do We Tip?: the podcast Planet Money explores the motivations behind tipping, featuring an interview with tipping expert, Michael Lynn.

"Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?": the podcast Freakonomics reports on wine prankster Robin Goldstein.

Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide: a shocking investigation into the prevalence of fish fraud.

Watch Adam reveal the awful truth about salmon and tuna and explain how wine snobs fake it.