"We needed to stretch out the length of some of the food," says Tom, of his now-defunct Bennigan's. "It could be a few weeks before more bread arrived, and for the last few days, we would serve bread with mold on it. I had no idea about it until someone complained."
And if corporate didn't care, why should the employees?
"You know, why vacuum thoroughly if it's closed soon? Why should you wash more if you know you aren't getting many more customers that night? Why throw out the bread when you don't know when more will come in? We had bussers who didn't bother to clear a table before a wipe down, and I'd seat a family at a table where it was all nice and clean until a few inches to the back of the booth -- there'd be a line of crumbs and food from the previous guest showing exactly where he stopped because he didn't feel like reaching in. No one cares, and when people complain, it doesn't change the fact you could be out of a job soon."
"Dirty table?! No, that's ... an appetizer. Dig in."
That's the key, right there: The threat of getting fired doesn't mean much when the whole operation can go belly-up at any moment. Nicole's dire last days at Chi-Chi's were full of constantly checking to see if the dish washers (a group already short on fucks to give) had bothered to do their jobs.