Going out to eat with friends is supposed to be a fun. You get to laugh and eat - what could be better! Unfortunately not every experience is a good one. With so many restaurants opening every day your bound to find some duds. The people in the following stories went out in search of a good meal and conversation, but what they got was a lot of frustration and in some cases, an empty stomach.
(Content has been edited for clarity)
I Thought This Was The Happiest Pace On Earth?
“So this was a Disney restaurant, which makes it worse since they are a company known for semi-decent customer service.
My now fiancee and I were eating breakfast at a sit-down restaurant known for their banana stuffed french toast. I’d been there before, food is good. However, I had only been there with my parents. We were, at the time 24 and 28 and we both look a good 4-6 years younger (depends on who you ask). That is probably important.
Well, we get seated and everything seems fine. The server came over and was really unhelpful. We had a question about juice and he, from then on, had this dismissive attitude with us. Dude, I just wanted to know that this was the same juice I had last time (it wasn’t, not that he helped). We put in our order.
Someone else brought us our drinks. We waited. Then finished our drinks and needed a refill. Our server walked past us 10+ times to wait on the family literally right behind us. This dude was going out of his way to be overly-helpful to them while ignoring us. We had to find someone else to refill our glasses because we couldn’t even flag him down as he walked past our table. We asked him for refills and he said, ‘Oh yes, okay,’ and never came back.
Someone else brought us the food because it had been sitting on the line. We had to get up and find another server to get a refill. We also complained slightly to that server.
Our server walked past us maybe 10 more times, only checking on the table behind us and now another one next to us, still totally ignoring us.
We had to ask the other server, again, for refills. The other server apologized.
Finally, we were ready to leave. We waited and waited. Then waited some more. I asked our server for the bill as he was going back and forth to the other family. We waited again. Then we got up and found the manager.
I don’t know for sure, but I think he was ignoring us because we looked very young and he assumed we would not tip well. I mean at 24 and 28 we were young, but we could tip. The way he fawned over the families around us (adults with kids) made me think that this was also the case. I know that young people get the reputation as horrible tippers, maybe its deserved, but can you not refill my glass?
I left a quarter for a tip. So I guess he was right.
I know that I don’t know what was going on with the two tables behind us or why they were getting such good service while we were not. Maybe they were famous or something (no one I recognized). But the guy couldn’t even fill up our water as he walked past nor could he be bothered to bring us the check. And he said, himself, that he was our waiter so it wasn’t a case of mistaken waiter.
It was the only time I’ve not left a good tip and I still feel slightly bad about it (because I understand that in America its a thing we have to do), but geez. It was frustrating. If it were to happen again, a more confident me would have asked for a manager and complained more than the passing comment I gave to him that time.”
A Test In Patience
“A restaurant in our town reopened with a new owner. Under the previous owner, the food was fine but the waitress was the worst I have ever seen.
So we sit down at our table with five people and some minutes later the horrible old waitress greets us. We start rolling our eyes but decide to stay. ‘How bad can it possibly be?’
So we order our drinks and she brings them after about 10 minutes. She gets two drinks wrong. So we go ahead and tell the horrible waitress that the drinks are wrong. She takes them away and comes back after five minutes and tells us that we are wrong and that she tasted the drinks.
We proceed with our meal and order the food. After some time, she brings the food. One meal is not what we ordered so she takes it away again. The rest of us start eating and by the time the correct food was at our table, the rest of the group had already finished eating.
If you think that was the bad part you are wrong.
We tell her that we want to pay. She comes to our table, sits down and tells us, that something with the cash machine went wrong and that she has to make the bill by herself. So she sits there with the menu and asks us what we had and scrolls through the menu to get the correct prices. While doing that (took about 10 minutes) she starts crying and tells us that she isn’t used to all the new prices. She really sat at our table crying and complained about her job. Needless to say, she got no tip from anyone (in Germany you give a tip for a good service).
This was last summer. The restaurant is closed by now. Sadly the food was quite nice.”
“I went with a few friends to one of the few decent restaurants in our town. Some family-owned Italian place. We have gone there plenty of times with no issue. We order our food and no issue with the waitress so far. We have not seen the crazy come yet. It takes a long time for our food, but eventually, it arrives. In stages. One of our friends lets the server know she was given the wrong salad.
‘No, that’s the one you ordered,’ the waitress says.
My friend says, ‘No, it’s not. I specifically ordered Salad A because it has (insert dietary restriction here).’
The waitress responds with, ‘No, you are wrong.’
‘Uh, no? I know what I ordered.’
‘Well, let me get the menu for you,’ says the waitress. She leaves briefly, but long enough for us to look at each other with different levels of ‘What is going on?!’ Our server then returns, menu outstretched, and she begins to read Salad A’s description very slowly. Then she gets to the ingredient that was the whole point of said friend ordering Salad A. There was this flash of insane anger in her eyes, followed by the most thinly veiled restraint of anger ever. ‘Well. Then. I’ll go get your salad for you,’ she says.
She stiffly marches off to the kitchen and at this point, we’re all shocked and angry, but kind of curious to see where this goes. About 15 minutes later (this is a salad, mind you), our waitress returns with the salad. It has no cheese. Which was the other reason my friend wanted to eat it? So she calls out the waitress again and tells her there’s no cheese on the salad. The waitresses eyes bug out, and she says, ‘I. WILL. GET. THE CHEESE.’
We are just, incredulous is not the word. At this point, no one is really eating because we’re just thinking we’re on Candid Camera. What the heck is this woman’s deal?
She returns, and says, ‘Okay, say when.’ Then begins to just grate like crazy some cheese.
Friend says, ‘Okay, you can stop now.’
The waitress says, ‘No. You wanted cheese. You’re gonna get cheese.’ At this point, basically, the whole salad has disappeared in this cheese mound. We get up, leave no tip, ask for the manager at the host stand. The hostess says the manager is busy at the moment, so we just say screw it, and my wife leaves her phone number.
She later makes a post about her experience on the local news website and it goes viral within the community. The manager contacts us privately, gives us 2 $50 gift cards, and the unhinged waitress was fired.”
It’s A Stand Off!
“I went to a burger joint by the university I go to after a day of skiing. I’m not exactly dressed nice or anything, but it’s a burger joint, so whatever. I order my double bacon cheeseburger (’cause it’s the best thing on the planet), take my to-go ticket, and sit down in a booth facing the counter.
After a couple minutes of chilling on my phone, I glance around and I see the owner of the place kinda peeking out at me, from like halfway behind the ice cream machine and he’s just staring into my soul. I’m a kind of scruffy looking person so I’m kind of used to getting ‘excellent customer service’ in malls and stuff, but how am I gonna steal a burger that I already paid for? So I glare this guy back down for like a solid four seconds and I lost that round.
I want you to imagine how long four seconds is when you’re staring into the eyes of a man who looks like he wants to hire someone to kill you as soon as he can.
A few minutes later, they call my number and I get my food and dip. As I’m turning away from the counter, I see the owner start to walk around and he follows like 8 or 10 feet behind me to the door and stays in the building while I get in my car.
I put the key in and look back up and he’s just looking at me, like half hiding behind one of those big window posters with a giant picture of an oreo shake or whatever.
We have a standoff through the two panels of glass and I swear to God I looked at this man for an eternity. I felt nothing but rage for his face and I’m sure he felt nothing but the same for mine. We both broke eye contact at the same time and I haven’t been back since. I still miss those double bacon cheeseburgers, best I’ve ever had.”
He Spilled His Tray On The Wrong People
“I have served a table that was probably the worst dining experience I have seen or provided.
I was pretty young, around 21 I think. Working at a local Jamaican/American restaurant that stayed pretty popular most days, especially Sundays, the area was thick with suburban families. Sunday during the day the families would get out of the church and eat at our spot so that the parents could have a few frozen daiquiris before heading home. We could easily clear $13k during a Sunday morning shift (that is extremely busy).
At the time, I was experimenting with Adderall to help with my performance at work. Took a bit too much this one particular Sunday and was extremely jittery and high strung. The day started with two servers calling out; so I planned to cover their sections.
My geeked out brain told my manager I could handle it. I was doing fine, slinging drinks and food like crazy. Then I got a 4-top, three men and a woman. I chatted them up for a moment before getting drink orders, and they somehow slip into the conversation that they are off duty cops.
For some reason, it totally put me on edge and made me extremely nervous. I forget to ring in their order and ended up not remembering for almost 10 minutes. They didn’t seem too upset at the long wait for food, with how busy it is. They seemed enthralled in conversation. But I was freaking out about this table, somehow worried in my altered dosed brain that they could notice I was on Adderall and I could get in trouble somehow, causing me to stutter at the table and generally act like an awkward fool while interacting with them.
It was common for us, and kind of like a restaurant flair, to totally overload our server trays with daiquiris when serving them. We would send them out in waves, wait until the orders build above 10 drinks (which took almost no time) then run them. Typically we could hold around 15 tall daiquiri glasses on one big tray. It was a show, and customers would find it impressive.
I am going for a pass through the restaurant with a tray of daiquiris and I decide to stop at the 4-top first to try and impress them and maybe recover my slipping tip. The table was kind of out of the way of my route but it felt worth it.
However, I didn’t plan on coming to their table first when I put the daiquiris on the tray. The only daiquiri I need to drop off at that table is on the far side of the tray. Instead of just backtracking and dropping off the other daiquiris. I decide to go for it, I reach over the other glasses and grab the offending painkiller daiquiri. The bottom of the glass I am grabbing gently taps the top of one of the glasses and the entire tray of daiquiris come toppling down like dominos right on top of this lady’s head. They bust everywhere and absolutely drench this woman in ice-cold frozen daiquiris and broken glass (note: it was Sunday; so the lady is dressed in cute white/khaki Sunday dress clothes that are now ruined).
The ice cold drinks also get all over the table’s food and fall into the men’s laps. A piercing horrified gasp escapes the woman’s mouth and the entire restaurant that was loud with voices suddenly went dead silent. I could feel every eye in the restaurant on me.
Almost immediately I start to tear up in fear. I apologize profusely with a trembling voice, I am pretty sure the table notices my eyes welling up because they are acting insanely cool about it.
I get a female server to go with the lady to the bathroom and help her clean up. We give them all free T-shirts and gift cards. Also, of course, comped the meal. The whole scenario still makes my gut wrench in embarrassment
And after it was all said and done, I still got a $20 tip out of it.”
Not Such A Great Deal After all
“My family took me out to an Indian restaurant in my small hometown for my birthday. My food was on them, but THIS place had the power to make me angry despite all of this.
We sit down in a long booth and the waitress comes over to bring us our menus. She talks for a solid five minutes, explaining how to order from their short, but very complicated menu. (You can have this and that together, but not this and the other thing, etc).
The menu lists the entrees as $10, what a deal! Then you realize that it’s $10 for a pile of crunchy basmati rice and a tiny salad consisting of three slices of cucumber and some grassy stuff. The protein is extra. Okay, no biggie, I can totally get behind a big bucket of curry to go with my pile of rice for another $10, portions at Indian restaurants are made to share, after all! The curry shows up and the bowl is literally the size of a pudding cup. Ten dollars for six little cubes of chicken in a bland tomato sauce (comparisons to Campbell’s comes to mind), there isn’t even enough curry to begin to think about dipping the rice in it. And forget about the naan, which was $2 extra for a naan the size of a piece of wonder bread, definitely not enough sauce for that.
Beyond the menu, pricing and portion frustrations, the ceiling of this place is covered in corrugated aluminum, so every word uttered by other patrons is echoed across the entire restaurant. I couldn’t hear my boyfriend speak when he was just across the table from me.
The service itself was alright, the waitress wasn’t rude or anything, but the rest of the shenanigans was enough for me to leave quite unhappily.
Later on, I write a review on their google maps listing, because I am not finicky about restaurants, generally. I enjoy myself and while I might have a few nitpicks about the food, it’s nothing to write home about. However, this place gets me riled up just thinking about every detail that they managed to mess up. (who messes up plain rice at a restaurant?!?). I write a funny review because that’s what I do, I make mention that there is not a single Indian person in the place and maybe that’s why it sucks, and I call out the white dude with hip-length dreads specifically (because why?). I finish off the review by recommending another Indian restaurant in town that is actually good, which happens to be run by Indian people.
The next morning, I get a call (no one ever calls me, so this is weird). I pick up the phone and it’s the restaurant owner accusing me of being a reverse racist for making a joke about the white dude with dreads (turns out he was the white dude with dreads) and that he’s going to post my review all over my social media profiles to out me as a racist. He tracked down my phone number to call me.
What he doesn’t realize is I A) am a PR person with a focus on social media marketing, B) am not in the least bit ashamed of what I wrote and will share it freely and C) have no qualms about going public with the threats you made to me (which I recorded, by the way) and D) I can be very petty.
I shared his threats on my social media and he got a storm of bad reviews on his page.”
How Do You Measure Time Here?
“It was at a place called ‘Rock Bottom.’ We had family visiting and they were headed home the next day. While everyone else’s food came, our niece’s food did not. She had ordered something simple off the kid’s menu, like a turkey sandwich. We brought it to the server’s attention and she assured us that the food would be out in 15 minutes. It was not out in 15 minutes.
For a full 45 minutes, while the rest of us finished our food, she (and later a manager) visited our table every 5-10 minutes to insist her food would be out soon. 45 minutes.
Thank God the little girl was super chill about it. Our family needed to pack up to fly home, so when she finally got her food, they just took it to go. I felt so bad for taking my family there.
I still just don’t understand how it took so incredibly long to make a sandwich that I could have made myself in less than 5 minutes. Also, why did the staff keep lying about it? The worst.”
Those Sodas Weren’t Worth It
“I was 8 or 9 years old on vacation with my family in a beach vacation town. Our entire crew went to a restaurant – 8 kids (6 -16 in age), 10 parents. Big table. We had no problem waiting for it. Orders are taken – no problem. Drinks/apps come out – no problem. The waiter continually asks, ‘Can I fill that drink for you?’ to the kid’s side of the table. The parents eventually noticed the kids were getting refills on soda, but we were on vacation, sure, let the kids drink a bit of soda. Sometimes the glass wasn’t empty, but the waiter was filling it.
We found out when the bill came that they charged $3 for every refill. The drink bill was over $150 (maybe 1-2 adult drinks, my family were not drinkers). I never saw my dad lose it on a restaurant manager until that point. We’ve been to many places that would mention that the refills were not free, that’s fine. This place seemed to make it seem like they were free when they were not.”
Would You Like To Hear The Specials Or The Story Of How I Got Here Today?
“I went to Cracker Barrell in Albuquerque with my family and the waitress almost immediately began telling us her life story. She tells us that she was a store opener for Panera and that she was flown around the country when a new location was opened so that it can be the best possible location because she’s the best. She then proceeds to tell us that they fired her because she was ‘moving up too quickly’ so she had to return to ‘this dump of a place’ and can no longer afford her bills.
Definitely a bit of an overshare, but okay, our meal goes on. When she returns, she continues to reiterate how hard up she is for cash and how badly she’s struggling. My family is now officially uncomfortable and become awkwardly silent whenever she approaches our table. When she brought our bill, she asked my grandfather to tip her well because she really needed the money and ‘deserved a fat tip.’
I was livid. I had just had surgery after finding out that I had cancer and had gone to visit my family in New Mexico because at 22, that’s a terrifying experience to deal with. I excused myself from the table, went to the cash register at the gift shop and requested the manager. I explained what had happened with the waitress, and my personal reasoning for being so frustrated. The manager apologized for her behavior and said that he hoped the next time we came in we would have a better experience.”
Sorry For Complaining
“I took my wife to dinner for her birthday. She told me two days earlier she wanted a good steak, so we go to try to get her one. It’s one of those Texas style restaurants (not Logan’s or Texas Roadhouse though).
My wife gets a Caesar salad as a side and it comes out quickly. It looks like they brought her the container of dressing with a few pieces of lettuce in it. Completely overdressed. Oh well, my wife ate half of it and set it aside. We decided not to say anything because it is a salad and we are here for steak. We don’t want to seem whiny.
Our steaks came out a few minutes later and I noticed the jerky-like appearance of half of mine. I then noticed the massive lump of hard butter in my sweet potato. It also looks like the cap came off the cinnamon container under the butter. Again, not worth making a fuss over. I cut the potato up and spread the butter as well as I could, hoping it will melt. The potato wasn’t even warm enough to melt the butter.
On to the steaks. They were tough. Too chewy. We decided we would speak up at this point. Our waitress came back and brings our check, but left so quickly that we couldn’t say anything to her about the food quality. She came back to pick up the check and noticed I hadn’t put my payment in the check. I told her we didn’t enjoy the meal and we would like to talk to the manager. The waitress had been nice the whole time we were there when she actually checked on us.
Anyways, my wife and I were chatting and waiting for the manager. It took probably 5-10 minutes for her to get to the table. She walked up and extended both arms onto our table, propping her self up, and stared at us like a disappointed parent or teacher. After an unusually long pause, where it seemed like she wanted us to apologize for bothering her, she finally said, ‘So, what’s your problem?’ I told her the steaks were overly tough, my sweet potato was cold, and the salad was overdressed. She seemed offended. I just then realized this manager looks like Cherry Jones from Transparent.
‘One scoop. That’s what they put on all the salads. One scoop and you’re telling me it’s too much?’ At this point, she was giving my wife dirty looks. She said, ‘I’m walking around this restaurant all night. If something was wrong, we would’ve replaced it, like that! Why didn’t you ask your server? Because she checked on you. I know she did because I asked her!’ And she snapped her fingers. At this point, I was taken aback by her abrasive attitude. ‘What do you want me to do? Tell me.’ Very aggressive. I told her two of our sides were good and we did eat some of the steaks, so she could do whatever she thought was fair. I didn’t know to expect a full comp, but I did feel like we deserved something, since we didn’t eat a third of the food we ordered.
She stared at us more and again asked me to tell her what to do. I repeated that I wanted her to do what she thought was fair. At this point, I wanted the interaction to end. It was awkward and this lady looked like a bulldog waiting to attack us.
She ended up adjusting our ticket. She removed all charges, except for my wife’s soda. The tab was $2.82. I was surprised she had comped it all, but I felt like the drink charge was a final, ‘Screw you for talking about my food.'”