Anyone who has worked customer service knows all too well about the trials and headaches of dealing with the public, but there seems to be a special kind of awful when it comes to serving people their food. From fast-food to fine dining, restaurant workers dish on their worst customers ever.
Oh No He Didn’t!
“I waitressed in high school. This happened when I was ~16 or 17. A guy came in to eat with his family (a little girl and his pregnant wife). They were really, really friendly and at first I thought it was a great table. Then the wife went to the bathroom and the guy asked for the check, and on the check he wrote his phone number in the tip area along with ‘call me baby.’ I ran his card, waited until his wife came back, and brought over the guy’s card and his receipt. I handed the receipt to the pregnant woman and told her something was wrong with the tip. She got SUPER upset and I got in a lot of trouble with my managers for stirring the pot. In retrospect, I probably didn’t handle that the best way, but at the same time I was furious that some guy would come to eat with HIS PREGNANT WIFE and try to hit on a girl half his age. WTF. if he’s pulling that stuff so brazenly, god knows what else he’s doing behind his wife’s back” (Source).
Someone’s Always Watching
“While I worked in an all you can eat restaurant we frequently got customers who would eat say, three or four plates of food, then go and fill up another five, leave them all full on the table and claim the food was all disgusting and refuse to pay. There was one time in particular when a couple tried to do this, the managers got involved and were refusing to let the customers leave whilst they called the police. The woman in the couple tried to push past one of my managers and he took hold of her arm to stop her leaving. Cue shouts of assault and harassment, and male partner suddenly shouting, ‘don’t you touch my woman,’ etc. Luckily there was a full restaurant of people who were watching the show so they couldn’t get away with it. What losers!” (Source).
The Customer Is Not Always Right.
“I worked at a soup & sandwich cafe for 3 years while I was in undergrad. Good job, easy money. Anyways, we offered quick breakfast options: bagels & cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches & burritos, and a quick 2 egg breakfast with toast, hash browns or grits. We offered a $1 small cup of coffee because Starbucks was 2 blocks down. We broke even on the coffee, not really hoping to profit. Just trying to get people in the door and serve quick, good food. A super-yoga soccer mom started coming in every morning to buy a coffee. She would bring in her own bagel and her own cream cheese. She would purchase the coffee and then ask us to toast her bagel and put her cream cheese on it for her and expect us to run the food out to her like we did for every other paying customer. While she was purchasing her coffee, she would ask that we put on new gloves while preparing her food. Okay, fine. Not a big deal the first few times because the owner was trying to keep his customers happy all of the time. However, this budding new cafe was starting to increase in business, exponentially. And this bagel lady started coming in every, single day. The boss grew a little tired of her request because after all, he isn’t seeing the benefit of selling her a $1 cup of coffee and having us prepare her food for her. She didn’t tip either. However, because my boss always lived by ‘The customer is always right’ method, she got away with this. She came in on a Saturday morning once and thinking she got special treatment because she was a regular customer, she decided she would skip the line and put her bagel on the counter near the register. She waited in line, purchased her $1 coffee and noticed her bagel was right where she left it, untouched. ‘Excuse me, I expected this to be toasted and ready when I purchased my coffee. I come in all the time, you should know me by now. I am one of your most frequent customers.’ ‘Yes Ma’am. I apologize, I did not see it. Here is your coffee and I will bring it out to you in a moment.’ ‘I just don’t understand you people sometimes. So incompetent and rude to your customers. This is the kind of behavior that leads to disease and sickness in restaurants.’ I didn’t realize my boss was standing over my shoulder during this encounter. He sort of pushes me out of the way, grabs her bagel (ungloved hands), takes a bite, goes to hand it to her, drops it and asks her to leave with a mouthful of bagel. He goes to his office and closes his door still chewing the bagel. He comes out and says, ‘Coffee is now $2.’ Problem solved” (Source).
Back At Ya
“I was a hostess at a fairly popular restaurant close to a movie theater. This can attract some large families on busy nights, so we strongly suggest reservations in our advertising. It’s a Friday evening and we’re already on a wait. This family of seven saunters in, and the father asks us for a table. I tell him that we do have about a 40-minute wait, but if they’d like to wait on the patio and order an appetizer, there is space for them. He frowns, whispers to his wife, then turns back to me. ‘Nah, we’re going somewhere else. Go screw yourself.’ I almost didn’t believe I had heard it at first. Seriously? I was blown away that this father, husband, adult man felt like it was OK to say that to a 20-yr old hostess. What?” (Source).
What’s A Cheeseburger?
“When I used to work at McDonalds some lady came in and ordered a cheeseburger without cheese. So being the person I am I just put it in a Hamburger wrapper and gave it to the front. Well she came back like 5 minutes later and all hell broke loose. She was yelling at the poor girl who gave her the sandwich and the girl was new. So I went up to help and asked what was the matter. This is what she said “I ordered a Cheeseburger without cheese you gave me a Hamburger I want what i ordered right now and i want to speak to your manager.” So I told her i was the manager. She proceeded to call me a liar even though i had a name tag that said shift manager on it. But I told her I would fix it. I took the Burger and put it in a Cheeseburger wrapper and gave it back to her she looked at it. Then at me and I’m pretty sure she had the realization of what a Cheeseburger without cheese is. She then just walked away without thanking me or anything. Also, I sent the girl home since she was crying” (Source).
She Gave Him A Splitting Headache
“I work at a local tourist spot as a food services supervisor, and we have a few different food outlets in the park. As a supervisor, I’ve had to deal with all kinds of challenging customers, but one of the dumbest ones I came across was dealt with by a co-worker of mine. Near the very end of the day, a lady came up to our fish and chips window and ordered a four-piece chicken strip combo. She said that she wanted it split four ways for her four children. My co-worker said sure, but informed her that since the combo just came with a small fries, that meant each of those four portions would include just one chicken strip and a few fries. He repeated it a couple of times, but she impatiently told him that was okay. You can probably see where this is going. When she came to pick up her order, she was irate. From the sounds of things, she wanted each of those portions to have at least two strips and a small fries–even though she was only willing to pay the price of a single combo. She screamed at my co-worker, told him he was incompetent, all kinds of things. She wasn’t willing to pay more, though, and my co-worker wasn’t about to make her more chicken strips and fries for free, so finally he told her the outlet was closed and that if she had any more issues she should take it up with the manager. She left and he closed the shutter, but then she came around to the side door of the building and screamed at him some more. Even when they closed the door, she waited for them and followed them across the park when they walked back to the main kitchen where they were able to meet up with the manager and she was asked to leave the park. We don’t allow meal-splitting anymore–if customers want something split, we’ll give them plates and knives and they can do their own portions” (Source).
“We had a waitress run into the kitchen BAWLING her eyes out. It took us a few minutes to find out what had happened from her. Apparently, a customer kept telling his son what he wanted, and the son would tell this waitress. When pressed by the waitress why he would not speak to her directly, he told his son to tell her. ‘I don’t talk to colored folk.’ We chased the loser out of the place. Myself, and two cooks. We wanted to roll him, but he was pretty quick” (Source).
Maybe He’ll Be Back In Three Days
“I got dined and dashed by a priest on Good Friday” (Source).
“I work in a moderate sized local pizza chain. A month or two ago, we had a special promotion for the food shelf in our area. The deal was, for every 3 nonperishable food items you brought in, you got 1 solo 1 topping pizza. This event was running over two days- the first day wasn’t that bad, mostly just our regulars coming in who had known about the charity event for weeks. They brought 3-5 cans, got their free pizza, and left. The next morning, the event was covered on the news. I wasn’t supposed to work that night but was called in due to how unbelievably busy we were. Groups of people were bringing in cardboard boxes FILLED with cans, most of which were expired or straight off the food shelves, and getting 10-12 free solo pizzas at a time. Then they would leave and come back two hours later and get 10 more pizzas. I had one person bring in 8 cans. When I explained to her that she was getting 2 free solo pizzas, she asked why she was only getting 2. I explained the math to her and so she took 2 of the cans back and gave me only six. I think this was the one that made me the most angry- it just shows how little you actually care about the charity and how you’re just doing it to get free food. The most baffling thing about the whole experience was how much people were taking advantage of this opportunity to help charity, and how an overwhelming amount of people complained about the free food that they were being given” (Source).
“7 top. Table gets excellent service. $140 bill or so. Person paying check is friendly and all smiles. Tips $0. Waits at the door to see the sad dejected look on the waitress’s face as she looks at the receipt and gives a Hannibal Lector smile. You could just tell he derived pleasure from her pain. Also, people who request lots of coffee creamers, open them all and turn them upside down on the table so they are impossible to remove without making a mess” (Source).
If You Can’t Handle The Heat
“Some customer comes into the kitchen (customers: don’t ever go into a kitchen, it isn’t cool) and starts yelling at the waitress, full on no holds barred yelling in her face. Him and his table full of other brats have all ordered Spiced Ribs, Chalupa Seafood baskets, T-Bones, Rib-eyes — as a cook, the more advanced the meal, the more I love to cook it. That’s why I’m there. I like to hone my skills and I like people to appreciate them. What you don’t do, is come into the kitchen mid-peak on a Saturday night because your food is 40 minutes late. There are 85 other people waiting to eat before you. You came out tonight to have a good time and eat, I get that, it stinks seeing other people get their food before you. I get that. They ordered a cheese dip though, that we heat in the microwave, which costs $6. Sorry that it’s easier to make than the high-menu stuff you’re ordering. That is no reason to call a perfectly innocent teenage girl a stupid idiot in the highest angriest voice you can muster. My chef, a typical alcoholic Gordon Ramsey type, flips his lid and lobs a plate onto the floor, smashing it as ceramic shards and nacho remnants scatter and explode everywhere. He starts taking steps towards the guy, ‘WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? THIS IS MY KITCHEN AND WE ARE MAKING YOUR FOOD,’ going on and on. This angry jerk of a guy has backed down, and the upstairs manager is coming downstairs scared out of his mind because no one wants to mess with the chef. Me and him are in each other’s good books, but he is one scary guy. Because I’m a male, I started following behind him as he approaches the other dude. He very quietly sat back down and tipped generously apparently. Which is awesome, because I’m in Australia, and you aren’t even really supposed to tip here” (Source).
Say Hi Floyd
“I had a customer call the store claiming that she had gone through the Drive-Thru earlier that day and asked for a Large coke with light ice. She told me there was definitely the normal amount of ice in this drink and she demanded a refund, a new coke, and a milkshake for her inconvenience. I was speechless. Other than this I’ve been called racist multiple times by customers with complaints and that I made their food wrong because I’m white (I’m a white manager with a mostly black crew). I typically point to the black cook Floyd and say, ‘No ma’am that guy made your meal.’ Floyd just smiles and waves” (Source).
First World Problems
“I used to work at Starbucks. My store was by the beach, and very busy in summer. You could wait in the register line for up to a half hour or even 45 minutes. It’s not like we were messing around back there. Just that busy. So, the thing about Starbucks is, people forget that the line to wait for the drinks is going to be a while too. You still are going to wait for a bit even after the register. We had a party of several high school age girls getting Frappuccinos, and they’d waited in line for a while to get them. So they were mad. This one chick in particular was acting like an entitled little brat, riding me and watching me like a hawk while I made these drinks. Asking me if each next drink was hers. Finally I told her something like ‘I’m going as fast as I can, we’re very busy, your drink will be out as soon as possible.’ Her father heard me say that and decided I was being sassy (I really wasn’t) and threatened violence. It never came to that, I ignored the prick just like I ignored his daughter, made the drink in order, and gave it to them. But Jesus Christ, threatening to punch some 19-year-old kid that’s half your size over the wait for a Frappuccino? FIRST. WORLD. PROBLEMS” (Source).
Jokes On You
“When I worked at Dairy Queen, we had someone pull up at the drive through 2 minutes before close. The person orders about $50 worth of food from the Brazier (kitchen) in addition to about $25 worth of ice cream products. As the car pulls around to pay, it’s one of the employees super wasted thinking this is all a big joke. Of course, he didn’t decide to tell all of us working that it was a joke. So, my nice clean kitchen was cooking up burgers, fries and just about everything and I end up throwing it away. Thankfully, the idiot was fired the next day” (Source).
Nice Try; Not
“I once had a family of 4 come in, a wife, husband and 2 kids, the wife ordered a cheeseburger. Everything seemed to be going well, I asked if they like their food and if there was anything I could get for them, they said everything was fine. The wife finished her burger and got my manager, she told her that he burger was absolutely horrible and wanted a refund for the whole meal. My manager almost laughed at her and told her if she hadn’t finished the burger and had said something at the beginning she would have gladly gotten her another burger but there was no way she was getting a meal for 4 for free nor was she getting hers for free because she, at first, told me she liked it” (Source).
Ignorance At It’s Worst
“I was serving at a restaurant across the street from a popular sports arena and the Monster Truck rally happened to be there this particular weekend. At about 20 minutes to closing a rather large group of monster truck mechanics and their extended families come in and just sit themselves down anywhere they please. Upset, because I was just about ready to go home, but with a smile on my face I go and ask what they’d like to drink. And so it begins. All 30 of them start yelling at me about what they want at once, parents asking what kind of booze we have, kids screaming about flavored lemonades and smoothies, it was a mess. At this point I tell them they have to order food now as well if they want it before the kitchen closes, I promise it was just as much fun as getting their drink order. Things only get worse now, they all down their drinks as soon as they get them and instead of asking for a refill people start repeatedly slamming their cups on the table, snapping their fingers, clapping their hands and yelling at me every time I walk by. They started asking me pointless questions just so they could dismiss me half way through the answer and laugh about it. Eventually someone there picked up on the fact that I’m gay, from here on out I was known as ‘that gay guy.’ I didn’t come back after this encounter, but I remember this being the worst part, to see all of these little kids (anywhere from 3ish to about 16) and their parents laughing with each other taunting me with this word. The rest of the staff lost it once they heard this and all ran out give them a piece of their mind and kick them out. Needless to say they didn’t tip” (Source).
John’s A Jerk
“This one guy, we’ll call him John, was a regular at a restaurant I worked at. He would always ask for recommendations and no matter what you suggested, John would tell you he had that last week and it sucked. He would take up as much time as possible no matter how busy the restaurant was. He had a wife who would jokingly tell him to knock it off but she would laugh so it would just encourage him to be a jerk. Then after bringing the food to them, he would ask me to box it up so they could take it home. They would occasionally leave a tip. Years later, I was a brand new nurse and my coworker had gotten a tray of food thrown at her by a patient. John was the patient” (Source).
She Really Wanted Her Hot N’ Ready Pizza.
“I was working the opening shift at Little Caesars with two other people. It was around 10:40 AM, so we were putting everything in the oven so we could open at 11. Hearing a knock at the door, I look up and see a woman teetering in front of the door with two small children next to her. I notice her parked car taking up two spots before noticing we still had fifteen minutes before we opened. The assistant manager was a stickler for the rules, so he told us to not let the person in until open. Cut to 11. The lady and her two kids enter. The kids run to the table in the corner, while the lady stumbles to the counter. I can now smell the alcohol emanating from her aura, and I solve the mystery to the parking situation. She orders a couple of pizzas and breadsticks, nothing too fancy. I proceed to give her the food, and as I hand it to her, she blurts out that she wants to talk to the manager. Knowing something was about to go down, I proceed to get him and return to the oven. Nothing was coming out, giving me plenty of time to listen to the conversation between them. Not that it was hard, as she immediately started screaming at him. She accused him of not opening on time, saying that we were to be open at 10:30. I guess she knows our schedule better than us employees. She also said that her food took way to long to make. Our Little Caesars had Hot-N-Ready, so as soon as I got the money in the register, I turned around and grabbed the food. The manager is trying to calm down the drunk woman, who is threatening to call the police now. He was halfway through a plea before being cut off by the woman, belting out what would become his future nickname: ‘YOU OL’ WHITE LOSER!’ She stormed out of the place, leaving the food with the kids, still sitting at the table. She walks back in a few minutes later, now carrying a paintball gun she had grabbed from her van. Upon seeing the paintball gun, the manager wanted me to call the police. However, while telling me this, the police were already pulling up. Apparently, while she was grabbing her paintball gun, she actually did call the police. The officer tried to get both sides of the story. The manager calmed down and told him our side of it. However, the woman was arguing with us the entire time. By now, the officer could smell her new perfume, Eaux de Jack Daniels, and gave her a breathalyzer. Five minutes later, she was being carried out of the store in handcuffs” (Source).
That Isn’t An Excuse
“A few years ago, I worked at a pizza place with a dine-in area, though I wasn’t a waitress. I just took orders at the counter and brought out the food. One night we had a group of 15 people come in as a party, and every single one of them was deaf. This particular group was the most obnoxious, self-entitled, rude crowd of people I have ever dealt with. They all acted as if they hated me from the moment they walked in the door, so that was awesome to start out with. Almost every single one of them was completely deaf, yet wanted to communicate their orders verbally. Now, I have nothing against that, but they would blatantly look away when I would try to repeat their order to make sure it was right, and then they would send it back to the kitchen blaming me for getting it wrong. Or if they did acknowledge me while they were ordering, they would get extremely frustrated while I was repeating the order, as if I were mocking them in some way. Not only did they not tip (not terribly important considering I was paid hourly, but it’s the norm for big groups), but the youngest of the group knocked over 2 cups of water as they were leaving and just looked at them while he was walking away, not a single care given. Four out of the 15 had their meals comped for being ‘incorrect,’ and the others just chose to make that night awful for me. Having a disability isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for being a brat” (Source).
“I used to work fast food. We would regularly have people from construction crews come in an one person would usually end up ordering for the entire group (anywhere from 5 to 20 people). Often, these guys wouldn’t speak English so they’d come in the store and we’d bust out the picture menu for them and things would go pretty smooth. Every once in awhile though, these guys would decide to come through the drive thru and that was always an ordeal. If you’ve ever tried to take and order from someone who doesn’t speak English, who is ordering for 15 people, and is talking through a drive thru speak, you’ll realize it is one of the most frustrating experiences there is. One day, this guy was trying to order and just kept yelling ‘2-4-4’ over and over and over. At first I thought he was ordering a number 2 meal and 4 number 4 meals. Apparently not. He got more emphatic with his shouting. So I looked through the menu and found an item priced at $2.44 and thought that might be what he wanted. Wrong again! He yelled for a few minutes more, and then just started going off on me in Spanish. Meanwhile, I’m yelling back (all through the drive through speaker) ‘I don’t speak Spanish! I don’t know what you want! Come order inside!’ After a few minutes of this, I realize it’s not going anywhere and start helping other customers. He eventually gives up and decides to come inside, but not to order. Oh no, it’s too late for that. This guy comes in irate and is yelling and screaming profanity at everyone behind the counter. Funny thing is he was cussing and yelling at us in English when he came inside. Oh you speak English now all of a sudden? Forget you man” (Source).
Some People Can Be Really Ignorant
“In the early ’90’s I was a waiter at Friendly’s. On Sundays I worked all three shifts: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunday nights were particularly brutal: it was our busiest night, yet we were always undermanned due to staff not showing up, and I was tired from a long day. Every Sunday night this large church group would come in, about 20+ people. They would come in at the tail end of the dinner shift, just as I was about to pull myself out of the weeds, and they would ask for me to be their waiter. Then, if they couldn’t get five tables near each other, they would spread out all over the restaurant into other waiters’ zones but still insist on me being their server. They would act disappointed (and in some cases annoyed) that I didn’t remember their drink preferences from previous weeks. They would place their beverage and food orders, then get up and change tables. Not to mess with me, mind you; they were just being sociable with each other. Then they would get fussy with their orders. This or that was wrong, this is undercooked, I didn’t think it would look like that so can I order something else, etc. It was hard for me to tell if I had gotten an order wrong, or if maybe I had the right order for the wrong guy because they wouldn’t stay in the same seat throughout the experience. It went on and on. They were, per capita, the neediest customers I had to deal with all week, and there were 20 of them all at once. Every. Single. Sunday. Don’t even get me started on the loser cooks who couldn’t get the orders right. Let’s just say Friendly’s doesn’t exactly draw the best and the brightest, and only the dumbest ones showed up Sunday nights. I was too poor not to. So here’s the kicker: religious pamphlets. That’s what I got tipped every week, plus about $5 in change” (Source).