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    This Guy Pretended To Be A Food Critic To See If Waitstaff Would Treat Him Differently, And The Experience Was "Amazing"

    "I whipped out the notebook," foodie Josh Slavin said. "Pretty early on, the waitstaff took note. ... I see the waiters chatting a little bit back and forth and then a notice a big shift..."

    Across every corner of the internet, you may find what's sometimes referred to as an "unethical life hack" — something that will undoubtedly make your life easier, even though it may not be the most honest thing to do. These hacks are often harmless, like this years-old suggestion that resurfaces periodically: "When visiting upscale restaurants, bring a small notepad to pretend you are reviewing it. You will get excellent service and maybe even free food."

    Well, one foodie and content creator on TikTok recently came across this tip on Reddit and decided to put it to the test. So, equipped with a notepad and pen, 21-year-old Josh Slavin approached the Italian restaurant Carbone.

    "I've got a notebook and I'm gonna go to a fancy restaurant and act like a food critic," Josh started his now-viral video. "Let's see if they treat me any differently."


    Acting like a FOOD CRITIC at a Michelin Star Restaurant. Do with this information what you may… 🤫 #lifehack #foodtiktok #hongkong #travel #hack

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    Starting off, Josh sat down for his reservation and tried the first few items without fanfare. Then, "I whipped out the notebook," he said. "Pretty early on, the waitstaff took note. ... I see the waiters chatting a little bit back and forth and then I noticed a big shift."

    "The manager comes up to my table, gives me his card with his cellphone number, and tells me to give him a call whenever I need a reservation."

    Throughout lunch, Josh repeatedly referred back to his notebook to jot down his "thoughts," which included tongue-in-cheek reviews like "yummy yummy, in my tummy."

    For a more serious take on his time in the restaurant, BuzzFeed reached out to the 21-year-old about his experience. "Carbone was...a place I had wanted to try for a long time," he shared. "Both before and after I took out the notebook, the service was outstanding, and the team was very nice. After deciding to take out the notebook, it seemed to catch the attention of some of the team members. Still, the service was great, I just noticed that I was being observed a little bit more closely."

    Everything was so great, he's not 100% sure the notebook really made a difference. "To be honest, because the service was amazing, I wouldn't be surprised if the manager would have stopped at my table and done the same, regardless of the notebook," he said.

    There were, however, a few complimentary snacks and drinks included during his meal, and... 

    ..."The next day, the manager reached out via email, thanked me for coming in, and expressed that I should see him as a point of contact moving forward," Josh said.

    Though he considers this mission to be a sweet success, Josh does acknowledge that there was a flaw in his experiment. "I think it is impossible to know whether I was treated differently," he said. "Admittedly, my methodology was a bit flawed — it is hard to tell whether I was treated differently when I had never been to the restaurant to conduct a 'control' visit. Many people have commented that Carbone is known for having tremendous service, and I likely would've gotten amazing treatment regardless."

    Have you ever tried the "food critic" test? Let us know in the comments. And if you'd like to keep up with Josh and his taste tests, you can follow him on TikTok and Instagram.