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This isn't a happy food story, my apologies, but it's hard not to notice while regularly scanning local restaurant news that there are risks associated with working in the industry beyond the perils of a rogue meat slicer or bad burn. For the second time in recent months, managers at Burger Kings around Chicago were murdered; the most recent was last Saturday in Momence, when a 15-year manager and one of her employees were apparently shot during a hold-up. She headed for work at 4:45 a.m. and an hour later was dead. In November, a Lindenhurst BK manager was stabbed and strangled with her bowtie by a man who was apparently trying to remove her as a witness to his robbery.
I had also earmarked a story in my head a few months ago about a pizza delivery woman killed near Chicago; while searching for the details I discovered, at a completely unscientific too-fast pass, robbery-related murders of pizza delivery people the last couple months in Fitchburg, MA; Philadelphia, Cincinnati, where a driver suffered a fatal heart attack after being kicked in the head (the perps got $37, after robbing another pizza delivery guy earlier) and one sad story about a guy who worked at Wendy's AND as a delivery guy for Pizza Hut in St. Petersburg who had his skull cracked open (but didn't die). In the Chicago case, which took place in November, a man called to have a pizza delivered to him in a parking lot near West Chicago, then beat the delivery woman to death with a hammer. These kinds of stories, the bread and butter of if-it-bleeds-it-leads local news, may not mean anything unusual statistically--that is, when comparing the risks involved in these generally low-paying jobs that comprise the bulk of the restaurant industry to other low-paying jobs. They stand out, though, as you wade through happy tales about artisanal beers and where to get good aged steak.