How do you guys feel about drinking coffee or energy drinks before work?

Joined Jul 5, 2008
I just got this new job at a really awesome restaurant and the chef is great but he wants things done QUICK!...and w/o mistakes..and although that's generally how every good kitchen should operate and how every boss wants it
we all know that in less organized kitchens or when we're stressed both of those things can go out the window and in the weeds

do you guys think there are more benefits than not in drinking a decent amount of coffee before your shifts on the line or no?
Has anybody experimented to see if their concentration and speed increased by doing this?
Joined Oct 18, 2007
There's a fine line between being alert and being jittery and on edge.
I drink coffee all day, it's my last remaining vice.
I don't do it for the boost (except for that first cup in the morning) as much as I just enjoy drinking coffee.
Energy drinks are another thing entriely.
I have a cook who pops a 5 hour e-drink when he gets here, and I'm not seeing the advantage.
I'm so close to suggesting he look into whether there is a 8 or 10 hour product out there.
Like anything, you build up a tolerance, and where you may initially realize an extra boost, suddenly you not only don't see the boost, you need the product just to function "normally", or at the level you did before you ever started drinking e-drinks.
Used to see this a lot with crank-cases.
At first, they had all of this energy, their house was immaculate, they were skinny, etc.
All too often I would see them lethargic, slovenly kept house, and overweight.
What once was a boost had become what they needed to get out of bed.

To sum up, drink a cup or two before/during your shift.
Don't get to where you rely on it for your energy, it won't be there for you after a time.
Joined May 29, 2006
I love a good cup coffee and foodservice coffee is most of the time better then home. I have one on arrival every morning while going over yesterdays sales figures. I have had guys working here that a gallon wouild not help them move any faster. Everyones metabolism is different and the shot of caffeine hits everyone differently.
Joined Sep 8, 2003
Some of the e-drinks out there are simply crap. Caffine and sugar and a great marketing strategy! One of the young ones that works for me comes in with an e-drink- says she needs it because she's so tired- and an hour later, I don't see any increase in speed, focus, ability to perform.

Have a cup of coffee and focus on the job, not on whether a can of hype is going to make you a better, more efficient cook.
Joined Jul 16, 2009
Sounds like most of you guys like a couple cups of coffee to go with the job.
For me, coffee doesn't give me any sort of 'boost' or anything. I will have coffee maybe just a couple times a week at work, only because I like the taste!
I like a little chocolate in mine.

Energy drinks IS definitely another thing entirely. Just like how Just Jim mentioned if you drink them constantly the initial effects will not effect you as much. So instead of pounding back one 250mL can before service, you find yourself pounding 7 of these cans throughout your shift.
It's bad for your heart!
I've been there, it's almost addicting! I went cold turkey to get off it.

Generally I don't look to energy drinks to help, if you're good enough, you don't need a substance to help you focus or be alert etc.

It depends on the person how it might affect you. It might not help at all! Becoming jittery and OVER focused! (I've been on energy drinks to the point where you are basically High and you're not in a calm focus state. I ended up making mistakes!..) Coming down and being totally useless by the end of your shift doesn't help either.

But! You never know! Give it a shot if you want, just remember: moderation!
Joined May 13, 2009
Coffee works for me. Just the first cup though, everything after is just feeding the addiction. Energy drinks...dont know anyone that drinks those, mostly know key bumping coke heads. And to my shock and awe they can rock teh grill and saute lines.

In fact, I have not worked in a restaurant yet where at least one of teh line cooks was not a coke head. I guess that is the next step after 5 hour enegry drinks lol. GHB was another popular one. I would always see the grill guy taking sips of water out of his water cap, and I always thought he was fruity or something till I was enlighten.

The wonderful world of line cooks, I need to write a book....

Just for the record. I do not employ coke heads or line junkies. This is what I have seen and worked with throughout my years in the magical world of kitchen life.
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Yeah, but I drink the same away from work too, so you can't attach any meaning to it.
Joined Mar 16, 2005
Energy drinks only work if you feel like you're about to fall asleep after being up 24 hours straight, otherwise I really don't see the benefit... the adrenaline you get from service should be able to get you through. Admittedly, I occasionally enjoy an iced coffee or tea, though not really for the caffeine.
Joined Feb 17, 2007
I've only had an energy drink once---the morning of Christmas Eve after working 60 continuous hours my sous decided the two of us needed one. I can't say it helped and I can't say it hurt. At that point we were just tired and getting silly...we were just hoping to stay awake and get through the next eight hours so we could crash. It worked.

I drink coffee, diet pepsi, and water continuously at work all day. More water than anything. I enjoy a cup of coffee during the beginning of my work day but I can't say I need it...nor does it improve my performance at all. Diet pepsi I drink because I enjoy something flavoured yet calorie free with lunch. Water....well....I NEED water because the kitchen is SOOOOO hot...especially this time of year. If anything I would say proper hydration...and of course good nutrition and sleep..... will help give you the energy you need to work efficiently in a busy restaurant kitchen. Easier said than done, I know.

Like Jim my beverage consumption is the same regardless of whether I have a day off or am slugging my guts out at the shop.

Like Rivver...I too have worked in kitchens with people addicted to cocaine. And let me say this...they've been some of the best workers I've ever seen in my life....WHEN THEY SHOWED UP TO WORK, that is. They were known to disappear for weeks at a time....
Joined Jul 5, 2008
thanks for the replies guys...
yeh I will only drink an energy drink IF I've been driving for something like 20 hrs straight...otherwise I try to stay away because they actually really mess up my stomach...

I tried it out and had a 16oz cup of dark roast yesterday ...I don't know if it helped or not really ..but i do know it made me really jittery and shaky (which wasn't good for my knife skills) While cutting open avocados I thought I was gonna take off my hand too...

so I'll either try drinking it a little earlier in the day or going w/o it before work entirely
Joined Jul 11, 2009
Depends on what shift I work. If I'm opening the restaurant up and letting all the employees in and going over figures in the morning I enjoy a cup, it DOES make me alert and wake me up. Also, it's really good for getting rid of headaches from last nights social outting. caffeine, I found, is the best cure for a headache and coffee has lots of it
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I occasionally get caffeine headaches.
Those are caused by one of two things: too much caffeine or not enough caffeine.
I always assume it's not enough and start drinking more. :D
Joined Jul 30, 2009
Well I am an energy drink expert. I think you could benefit from an energy drink or shot as long as you pick the right one.

Mini think rush Xtreme Mango
Mr Energy 8 hr energy shot(no review yet but it is awesome)
Hardcore energizer Bullet
Dynapep micro shot
Ballistic energy caps
all would be good options. I may not be a Chef but my job keeps me on my feet for 12 hours and it is shift work so I know my energy products. I would come to you guys with my cooking questions. Use the internet to your advantage and do some research
Joined Aug 4, 2009
i have to be honest. i suck down pepsi, red bull and those six hour energy drinks like it's the end of the world.
Joined Oct 3, 2006
I really dont drink them for the energy kick, but those red bulls are just so ice cold and refreshing in the heat of battle when the chef runs down the line with a 6 pack in his hands during the rush and tosses one to each of us.
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I used to buy bags of chocolate covered espresso beans and leave them on the line.
The night crew would munch on them like crazy.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
I have a personal caffine ban after 12 noon, or i just get hyper & silly on it and piss everyone off.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I used to work nightshift in a hospital coffee shop and I did find that a cup of coffee got me through the dead of the night when I was sooo ready to fall asleep.
Now that I work a day job again, I rarely drink coffee. The restaruant I work at does have really good coffee but for me, nothing is more refreshing than my bb cup of ice water that follows me everywhere on the line!
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