The service industry can get crazy. Just ask anyone in it. The craziest is when have to fire someone. The fireworks explode.
Check out these stories from managers that had to let someone go from their restaurant and the person didn't take it well.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
Threats. Lots Of Them
“Let me count the ways…
I worked in a restaurant with multiple female line cooks. I fired one girl for insubordination, profanity towards a customer and attempting to start a fight with the same customer. She slapped me. Three other female cooks immediately began knocking the crap out of her and threw her out the back door. Customers called the police because they thought someone was getting murdered on the line.
Another time, I hired as an executive chef at an upscale sports bar after the current chef no call/no showed for three days. My first day on the job, the former chef finally appeared as if nothing had happened. I informed him he no longer had a position; he began trashing the office, wrecking the computers, credit machines, everything not nailed down. I stepped out, called the police and had to tackle the guy when he went for a knife.
On multiple occasions after terminating servers, the former servers would have a tantrum walking through the restaurant. One, in particular, ripped the tablecloth with family’s meals onto the floor while screaming obscenities.
I’ve had my tires slashed, threatening mail and e-mails and numerous threats of bodily harm. Fun times, fun times.”
Cell Phone Addiction Is Real
“I used to be a manager at a KFC and had to fire this girl for overuse of her cell phone. It got so bad that I would have to take it from her at the start of the shift. She would talk on it in front of customers, text constantly, and never follow through with her duties. She was about 16 or 17 years old. I never checked her phone after taking it and, it turns out, she got a new phone and gave me her old one with no service. I caught her texting under the register one day and told her to leave. She freaked out and shouted and screamed at me, said she needed the job, wanted another chance, etc., but I had already given her a bunch of chances. She ended up throwing stuff all the way out the door, dumped a whole tray of chicken on the floor, and knocked over plate stacks.”
The Barista Didn’t Take It Well
“I witnessed my boss firing someone, and it was awkward.
I work at a coffee shop, and this girl would sit on the counters and eat muffins, complaining she had cramps and couldn’t work. She was lazy, and annoying too. However, my boss is a huge softie and felt bad for her because he knew she had a rough life, which is very sweet.
One day, she came in two hours late, and he pulled her into the back and explained to her that if this ever happened again, he would have to fire her. So, she gets up and opens the door and laughs SUPER loudly in his face and screams out
‘Fire me?! FIRE ME?! Yeah, RIGHT!! You don’t have the balls to fire me. I dare you, you wimp!’
My boss got up, walked to the doorway where she was now standing and replied, ‘Get out, you’re fired.’ She honestly looked stunned, actually surprised that he did it. She began to walk through the store and knock stuff down until my boss walked over to her calmly and said
‘No, no, you walk through the back door and get out of here, or I call the cops’
We never saw her again after that, thank God.”
Trapping Him In A Lie
“I work in a restaurant as a manager and had a seriously scary sociopath working as a server. He was notorious for bullying other servers – we had many harassment complaints about him from other male servers, He was gay and would casually slip his hand in between peoples legs, would constantly try to manipulate any new server and get trashed on the job. He had been given many warnings but because he had threatened to sue the owners for discrimination for his sexuality if he was ever fired, they really needed a solid reason to fire him.
He was a master liar and felt so confident about lying he would tell bald- face lies about the person to the person he was lying about and never back down. After months of serious suspicions of him stealing money from the restaurant, one day I finally found a mistake he had made. Apparently, he had somehow gotten my co-managers login number and used it to remove items off a customer’s bill after the customer had already paid in cash and left. This meant he pocketed whatever amount of cash was extra. Not only was my co-manager not working that shift when he did this, but he was the only server in the restaurant during this transaction. Thanks to the excellent computer, we had a record of the whole thing. So servers are responsible for holding all the cash they get for their tab’s all day.
So, the owner, during the day, did all the squaring away of the evidence towards this server and his red-handed stealing and we devised a plan to confront him about it at the end of the night. We planned to do no accusing and only ask him a series of questions what would be increasingly harder and harder to explain himself out of. We knew he would try to lie. It was like a scene from a movie. We decided to ask him to have a talk in our basement cellar which looks like a dungeon, for effect. It went like this (I’m going to call the sociopath server ‘T’):
Owner: ‘So, T, we had some trouble understanding one of your checks from this morning can you explain it to us?’ He showed T the check with missing item, T began spewing out an overly complicated story about why it was missing an item that none of us can follow.
The owner asked the same question again
T was getting nervous and started turning bright red, the first time any of us has seen him start to crack about lying. He told an overly complicated story.
We paused and looked at each other.
Owner: ‘Ok well T, when we checked on the computer to see what happened and we found that someone voided this item off the check. The person who voided it was the co-manager, and you and I both know she isn’t working today. Can you explain how this happened?’
T: ‘I don’t know, must have been a mistake with the computer I don’t know how the computer works,’ stone face expression.
Owner: ‘T, [the other manager] was here today, and she has her own manager code right? She would not need to use the other manager’s code, so how could the co-manager’s code, who was not here today, have been used to void this item?’
T: ‘Well, I don’t know how the computer works when it makes errors so that not my fault.’
Owner: ‘What’s not your fault?’
T: ‘Umm the void.’ He was sweating, blushing and his voice was shaking
The Owner was not backing down and asked a third time to explain.
T: ‘OK, alright. I voided the item and pocketed the money.’
Owner: ‘Yes, you took the money.’
T: ‘Yes I took it, I’m remorseful, and I knew you were going to ask me about it when you brought me down, and when you asked me. I just lied about it a bunch when you asked me and I hope I can please talk to you in private to explain and hope to go on probation and stay and show you that it will never happen again.’
He went on to beg and plead to keep his job.
The owner had him go back to the restaurant to leave us alone to figure out what to do. As soon as he left the room, we celebrated as if we had just sent a successful rocket to the moon with high fives and fist pumping.
If you are a manager, it is difficult to ever hear a bad employee take any responsibility for their poor behavior, and to have a legitimate psycho admit to stealing in front of witnesses was solid gold justice.
He begged and cried to keep his job but we kicked him to the curb and celebrated with bubbly afterward.”
The Worst Kind Of Employer
“I used to work at this upscale health food grocery, a real yuppie place but a very nice store. I worked in the dairy/frozen cooler, breaking down orders and stocking the shelves. A crappy job that I didn’t intend to keep for very long.
So the management was notorious for being jerks to employees, finding crappy reasons to fire people once they started asking for raises. Makes sense I guess, because they could just hire new people at a lower rate to do the same mindless crap.
I was about to start grad school and had asked for reduced hours so that I could work part-time and go to school. My manager was like, ‘Yeah, sure, that will work.’ I said, ‘OK, cool,’ and went on the paid vacation I’d earned.
I get back from vacation, and my manager calls me up and says, ‘Hey, we have an extra shift for you today if you want it. Thought you might want to pick up some extra money after vacation.’ I said, ‘Sure, I’ll work it,’ and headed in.
However, when I got there, the manager says we have to go up to the HR lady’s office. That’s when I know I’m getting fired, so I’m like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’
We go up there, and my manager starts telling me that it isn’t working out, that I can’t have reduced hours, that they are letting me go.
I say something along the lines of, ‘That’s fine, we all know I didn’t want this job for much longer anyway. However, this isn’t the way to do things. You don’t lie and say you have an extra shift for someone, only to fire them when they show up to work. I have other things to do, and you’re wasting my time.’
At this point, the phony, universally-despised witch of an HR lady starts lecturing me about how I haven’t been working hard enough lately, how I don’t stay on task enough, and how my attitude isn’t professional enough.
So this is where it gets great because I hate this witch and I know that she has been engaging in relations with one of my buddies who also works there. I also know that she USED to be with another one of my buddies who also works there. These dudes couldn’t keep it a secret, so it’s kind of this thing that everyone knows, but nobody discusses.
So I cut her off mid-sentence and say, ‘Excuse me, are you lecturing me about professionalism after you’ve already fired me? Because I’m not going to listen to it.’ Staring her dead in the eye, I continue, ‘I could bring up some other things that another person in this office has done that are unprofessional, but I’m going to take the high road and just head home and apply for unemployment. Is that OK with you?’
HR lady says, ‘Yeah…that’s fine,’ real quiet.
The manager says, ‘Sorry, but I have to walk you out – store policy.’ I say it’s fine. On the way out, she’s crying, apologizing, thanking me for not bringing up the details of the HR lady’s indiscretions. I say don’t worry about it, no hard feelings, and head home.
I go home, and the HR lady calls me that night. She asks if there’s anything we should talk about, anything I need to get off my chest. I said, ‘I don’t know why you’re calling me, I don’t work there anymore, you still do, you live your life, I live mine, that’s it.’ I didn’t get why she called.
I apply for unemployment, but I know that HR lady is notorious for fighting tooth and nail to prevent people from getting it, so I don’t have my hopes up. I was fired, after all–even though it was nonsense. Inexplicably, HR lady never returns the adjudicator’s calls, never presents the store’s case at all. I get unemployment.
I explain the whole situation to my girlfriend, including the intense exchange in HR lady’s office where I hinted at her sleeping with employees. My girlfriend says, ‘You blackmailed her. That’s why she didn’t fight you on unemployment.’ I say, ‘I didn’t blackmail her! I was just pissed and wanted to shut her up.’ My girlfriend says, ‘Yeah, well, she thinks you blackmailed her.’
And you know what? I agree. Several of my friends have been fired from the same place for equally crappy reasons, and she has fought all of them as hard as she can to make sure they don’t get unemployment.
So, I got the unemployment, which helped out while I was going to grad school. I now have a job that I love, and sometimes see HR lady around town. We just exchange super-fake ‘hellos’ or just look at one another and say nothing.
Fight Or Flight
“I used to be a restaurant manager at a large chain. I had to fire a server once that went crazy. The second he realized he was being fired, his face went beet red, and he just had this look of fury on his face. He crumpled up the write-up I was handing him and stormed out of the office.
He proceeded to burst out the front door of the restaurant in front of all the customers, literally breaking the door off one of the hinges. He walked with passion out to his car, opened the trunk, and grabbed a tire iron. We were watching the whole event and called the police the moment he started walking back toward the restaurant.
Luckily, one of the other managers he had a more favorable opinion of was able to talk him out of trying to beat me to death with a tire iron, mostly by letting him know the cops were on their way.
The worst part was that his mother also worked there as a server. She seemed embarrassed at that day’s events.”
Not So Tough Guy
“When I was 19, I was managing a pizza place. We had this cook who was this 16-year-old white kid wannabe gangsta stereotype. He had a horrible attitude and hated me because I wouldn’t let him treat his shift like a perpetual smoke break.
One day, I went into the kitchen to explain to him (For the 10th time) that just walking outside to smoke when he had tickets to make was not okay. He responds with ‘I know, shut up!’ I told him to watch his language, which got me another ‘Shut up.’ I told him if he said anything else, he was fired. ‘Shut up!’
I said ‘Get out, you’re fired.’ He threw the pizza he was making at me, missing me and exploding against the wall. He stomped out of the restaurant, knocking things over. I followed him outside to the parking lot, to make sure he didn’t do anything to my car.
He reached into his car and came back with a three-foot-long wooden handle from some gardening tool, and swung it horizontally at my head. I ducked the first swing, and on the second swing, I grabbed it with my right hand and shoved him to the ground with my left, taking his weapon away from him.
I screamed at him to get the heck out, and if I ever saw him again, I’d call the cops. He jumped in his car and peeled out of the parking lot, narrowly missing a family crossing the street from Burger King.
If that wasn’t enough, 30 minutes or so later, he called the restaurant bawling, begging for me not to fire him. I laughed at him and said he was even stupider than I thought for calling. He tried to put on his tough guy act again, and said: ‘Well you at least have to give me my stick back.’ I laughed again and hung up on him.
Never saw him again.”
But She Wants To Go NOW!
“I used to manage a pizzeria. We had a phone girl who once demanded to leave work early because she had to go to the DMV. It was 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. When I pointed this fact out to her, said employee went ballistic – screaming, crying, the works. She left in a fit. Never did find out why she had to leave so bad.”
“I used to work at a restaurant, and one time they hired this particularly awful hostess who we all were mildly frightened of because she had a serial killer psycho look in her buggy eyes. It creeped everyone out. Anyway, she was always late, rude to customers or just ignored them and creeped them out, and couldn’t follow basic instructions. So, finally, after a couple of weeks, they hired a new hostess who turned out to be cheery and friendly, perfect! Well, they went to fire the creepy hostess, and she started screaming running through the restaurant saying ‘You can’t fire me!’ Then, finally, when the general manager came down and said to leave, or he was calling the cops, she abruptly calmed and quietly left. About 10 minutes later a guest came in and asked if we knew that there was ‘a crazy woman playing bumper cars in the parking lot.’ We looked outside, and she was taking her car and running into all the cars in the parking lot! Guests, managers, servers, all of them. Nothing major, but some annoyingly large dents and tail lights and headlights and such got busted. Let’s just say she left in handcuffs about 15 minutes later, and everyone else that happened to be eating at the restaurant left with a crapload of gift cards and her insurance info. I’m sure her rates went up after that one.”
Punching A Customer Is Never A Good Idea
“Not a boss, but watched someone gets fired at a Carl’s Jr. One time.
The person in front of me in line was being an obvious jerk to one of the employees, semi harassing him, taking forever just to order a burger. The guy behind the counter finally had enough of his nonsense, yelled ‘Screw this crap, I don’t make near enough to put up with your crap’ and jumped over the counter and decked the guy in the face. After the jerky customer was laying on the ground, the employee hopped back over the country and asked me what I wanted.
Safe to say he didn’t finish (or even start) taking my order before his manager came out screaming and told him to get out. My best experience at a fast food restaurant.”
The Vacation That Never Ended
“I had to fire this server at my restaurant because she was… she was just awful. I don’t know how else to describe her. Keep in mind that she stayed employed as long as she did because we were short staffed.
At first, I was annoyed because every time I would train her/try to give her pointers, she would watch/listen as though she were bored out of her skull and knew everything already. I’d ask her if she was paying attention or had any questions and she’d respond with monosyllables.
Then I noticed her blatantly disregarding the rules. When I brought these things to her attention, she would blame me for not telling her the rules in the first place (nonsense). The last disagreement we had was two weeks into her employment. She was wearing short shorts, and I approached her about it, telling her to go home and change and to never wear those shorts again to work. She blamed me again for not telling her about the dress code. When that argument was squashed (because I told her that she’s either deaf or a liar), she broke down and told me that she’s too poor to afford new clothes. She didn’t have other pants other than jeans (not in dress code) or black work pants that she wore to her other job. Asked about this, she said, ‘Oh, I’d have to wash them every day!’
‘Better get more detergent then, what’s the problem? Now go home and change,’ I said.
Then she proceeded to tell me that she doesn’t have a car, doesn’t have a place to live other than couch surfing, and has been living out of trash bags that she carries around. She can’t afford ANYTHING. ‘Although, tomorrow I’m leaving for a week-long vacation with this friend of mine who pays for EVERYTHING! She’ll buy me new clothes!’
So later that night, she asked if she could leave early to meet some friends for dinner before she left for vacation. To get her out of my hair, I said fine; I’ve got this by myself. She then hung around for 30 minutes before her friends arrived… 10 minutes until closing. They sat down, and my host gave me a look that said, ‘This is a joke, right?’ This farewell dinner lasted 40 minutes until I dropped the checks. Shocker, all but two immediately put their cards down. You can guess who was part of that guilty party. I went back to collect the signed receipts but all of the receipt books had vanished. I looked down at my star employee, and she was sitting on the checks. Her BUTT was ON the checks. I walked away from the table, went straight to the bar, and called my co-worker to witness this and have a drink with me. She came bursting in (she hated this girl) and we sat there drinking until we heard them leave.
This was going to be the last straw; I was going to fire her when she got back from her trip. But then – SHE TEXTED ME THAT HER VACATION WAS ‘RUNNING LATE,’ AND SHE WOULDN’T BE BACK FOR ANOTHER FIVE DAYS.
HER VACATION. WAS RUNNING. LATE.
This would make her miss three scheduled shifts. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. My reply was, ‘You can stay on vacation for just as long as you’d like. You’re no longer employed here.’
This spurred a texting war where she fought with me over the reasons of her termination, how I’m a horrible person and boss for not giving her instruction and then firing her for it, and how the next person I hire will be just like her: ‘deserving a chance to prove excellence.’ I just laughed the whole time and sent her back tips on how to not be an idiot employee at a restaurant.”