We all know servers sometimes put up with seriously annoying customers! But, what happens when it's the server who's in the wrong? These people couldn't even stay in the restaurant.
Pleasing the customer is not a priority to these servers. No wonder people had to walk out! Check out the best stories about waiters behaving badly!
This Chef Does Not Think The Customer Is Always Right
“I have a serious allergy to dairy protein. You sneak some cheese or yogurt into my meal, I’m likely to be bedridden for several days. So whenever I explain this to a server, their reaction tells me whether this restaurant is worth going back to — or going to at all.
I went to a new, rather artsy restaurant in Boston. Just about everything on the menu had dairy. I informed my server about my allergy, pointed to one item, and asked if it could be made without the cheese.
She cringed. Literally. It was as if she had been asked to chop off a finger as an hors-d’oeuvre.
And she said — no kidding — ‘I’m sorry, the chef cannot do that as he feels it would ruin the integrity of the dish.’
I closed the menu and left. Never came back. Several months later, I noticed the place had shut down.”
Nothing Ruins A Place Like A Little Anti-Semitism
“It was too late to leave because we were finished eating and in the process of paying when we heard the offensive statement.
Here’s what happened: My wife and I are Jewish, and we went to a local Middle Eastern restaurant. The food was excellent, but when we got the bill we noticed they’d forgotten to charge us for one of our dishes.
We pointed this out to the owner, who was at the cash register, and told her we owed more than they charged us. She looked at our credit card, saw our last name, and said, ‘How unusual that people like you would say that.’ The meaning was clear to us – that she thought it would be odd for Jews to point out a financial error that is not in their favor. Apparently, she bought into the anti-semitic idea that Jews are greedy and deceitful.
Needless to say, we didn’t go back.”
Body Shaming Server
“This didn’t happen to me, but to my dining companion. She is a big girl, 5’10” tall and perhaps 350 pounds. She is not self-conscious about her size unless someone points it out.
We were at a nicer restaurant and she ordered their big steak, baked potato loaded with butter, cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives, and broccoli with cheese sauce. The waiter leaned over and said, ‘You really don’t need that. It’s at least 2,500 calories. May I recommend the grilled sole with a salad and the plain broccoli?’
I immediately stood up and said, ‘Let’s get out of here!’ I turned to the waiter and said, ‘That’s insulting. We don’t need your diet advice.’ We started walking out.
He was loudly saying, ‘Well, she’s fat…’ We didn’t hear the rest.
Never gone back.
Mother’s Day Maniac
“My mom and I went out to breakfast for Mother’s Day and part of my mother’s order was hashbrowns. Now, neither of us like the mostly-raw, barely-warm grated potatoes that comprise ‘hashbrowns’ in a lot of places (how can you call them hash browns when they’re not brown?). So we always request them extra-extra done. I actually always put it to my server by saying: ‘Listen, you or the cook or both are going to think I’m nuts. But I literally want them at the point where they’re so crispy, you think you have to throw them out. You can’t possibly burn my hashbrowns unless you turn them to actual charcoal.’
I’ve used this at Denny’s, IHOP, and a dozen independent restaurants that make food in a similar vein and have never had a problem. But this particular restaurant? The server rather nastily goes ‘Well, we’re busy. I’ll see what I can do.’
I’m not too happy about that. I’m pretty easygoing about my food—when I lived on the East Coast my regular restaurant would actually put trainees on my table on purpose because they knew I wasn’t one of those crazy psycho hyper-specific impossible-to-please people. But, like…it’s Mother’s Day? You think we don’t know you’re busy? We can look around and see that you’re busy. We’re not asking anything more complicated than ‘the hashbrown version of a well-done steak.’ Yes, it’s not everyone’s taste, but I’m clearly here with my mother, and it’s Mother’s Day. Be nice.
But I let it go. Until he brings out our food.
Our hash browns are stone-cold and limp. I turned mine over with a fork and actually found out the entire inside was raw—as if they picked up a potato and grated it directly onto the plate. There was still liquid starch in them —which even a quick flip in a pan would have evaporated. My mom’s eggs hadn’t been cooked right—she asked for over-medium and got scrambled—and my French toast was rock hard. So I flagged him down. And I politely say: ‘I’m sorry, I know you’re busy, but we’ve got a couple of problems.’
And this jerk looks at me and, in the same tone as a teenager going ‘whatever’ says: ‘I can’t help what your grandmother wants. That’s how they get cooked.’
My mom can be extremely histrionic and overdramatic, but at that moment, she was genuinely hurt. She looked like she’d been slapped. She’s had a lot of health issues in the last few years, and they’d aged her very badly—but most people are at least tactful enough to not say so.
So I gave him a very gentle smile, and said: ‘I can’t help that you’re a jerk, but my mother is not going to be treated this way on Mother’s Day, and I’d like to speak to your manager.’
He didn’t say a word, just walked off. I eventually had to go get the manager myself. The manager, luckily for her business, was extremely good at her job because I was ready to walk. I told her I didn’t need a comped meal or anything extra, but I wanted a different server.
She served us our remade meal herself and insisted we take home a piece of pie, which genuinely was not necessary. I just didn’t want that jerk anywhere near my mother’s food again.”
All He Could Do Was Get Out
“I’ve been a kind of hardcore biker for most of my life. Sometimes when the road is tough, a person can get a little rank. One day in Arkansas, I got off my horse, dusted my self off, took off my brain bucket and doo rag let my hair out. For 45 years, I’d grow my hair as long as I could, for the Locks of Love folks. Whenever it got below my belt line, I’d shave it off. Anyway, I went in sat at the counter, the employees walked back and forth then one said, ‘We don’t serve your kind.’
I’m of Filipino descent, fourth generation, and when you ride across four states worth of desert, in the summertime, you can work up a pretty good tan. With my dark skin and long hair, they thought I was Native American. The natives stay on the reservation. So I just got up, walked out, just shaking my head. I got on my bike and got the heck out of those awful people’s state.”
Thanks For The Warning
“I was working for Sherwin Williams years ago. We had a meeting that lasted way too long. It was nearly 9 pm when twelve of us went into a restaurant for dinner. They were obviously winding down but said they would feed us.
Most of the tables were empty and the staff was lifting the tablecloths, folding them back to cover up the tables. We asked our waitress what was going on. She said, ‘They are going to spray for cockroaches as soon as we close.’
Crossing The Line
“It was right after my husband and I got married and moved to a new area. We went to a local restaurant that we had a coupon for. It was a basic steakhouse, where you throw your peanut shells on the floor, and the ‘tablecloths’ were brown paper sheets.
The server, a very young cute girl, wrote her name upside down on the paper tablecloth, which was cute. But, then she sat down beside my husband (invading his personal space) and said, ‘Wow, you are a hottie!’ Yes, my husband was a hottie, but I did not need our server to tell me that!
He was so upset, he had already shared to her that we were just back in town from our honeymoon. She called him ‘sweetie’ every time she came to the table and ignored me completely. He called the manager over to the table before our entrees arrived, explained the issue, paid for the drinks and appetizer and we left.
They were closed for business less than two years later, I do not know if more people felt offense at actions like this, or if it was just bad business management.”
“We Wondered If We Were Getting Punked”
“The only time I didn’t tip was when the whole family stopped in a place in Georgia.
After we were seated, a waitress took our order, and we only saw her again when she dropped everything off. This was food, salads, drinks, water glasses, and the bill all at once.
The food order wasn’t correct. When we tried to tell her that this wasn’t our order, she said we should eat it anyway because she was busy. We said okay because it did look good, but we still needed silverware. She put down one fork and said, ‘Share.’ We were two adults and three grown kids. It was so bizarre we wondered if we were getting ‘punked’.
I got up, went to the busing station, got us silverware, picked up the water pitcher poured for our table and went to the surrounding tables with it too
The bill she had left was our original order. Mostly burgers, but what we got was ribs, steaks, smoked chicken and a bunch of sides and appetizers. We did ask to speak to a manager because we wanted to complain about the terrible service and, more importantly, we didn’t think it was fair to underpay by so much. We figured it wasn’t the owner’s fault. And the food was delicious.
But, we were told that there was nobody who could see us. So we paid the bill and left”
He Was Told To Go Elsewhere
“I’m a vegetarian and I specifically ordered a meal with no meat and the dish came with meat. I calmly told her that I can’t eat it and she said, ‘If you don’t like it, you should go elsewhere because that’s the way that it comes!’ Now I had eaten there many times and they made it the way I ordered it with no issues, so I asked for her manager. She said that he was not there.
I took down her name and asked the cashier (who couldn’t believe what had just happened) to take the dish off of my ticket. I was going to pay for the drink, but the cashier comped it and gave me the name and number of the manager. I called and got no response, so I contacted corporate. A few weeks later, they sent me a letter with an apology saying that she no longer worked there and $300 in gift cards.”
Their Waitress Wasn’t Having Such A Great Day
“My ex-wife, step-sons (8 and 5 years old), and I went to a local Denny’s for dinner one night spurred by the kids seeing something they wanted to eat on a commercial. So we sat down and our waitress approached. She was a middle-aged lady with a very heavy look on her face. But she approached and did her best to be friendly and take our drink orders. As our drinks arrived, they weren’t right. The kids had the wrong sodas, so we politely asked to switch them out, which she did with an apology. We assured her it wasn’t a big deal and she proceeded to take our order.
When the food arrived, several things were wrong and this is where things went downhill. Again, politely, we showed her what was wrong with the order and she proceeded to have what I can only describe as a small break down. She began to apologize profusely and began to recant a horrible tale of why she was so scatterbrained that particular evening.
I can’t recall all the details, but there was talk of illegal substances, relationship violence, ‘messed up kids,’ and more before we could stop her. In our confusion, my ex and I looked at each other with a bewildered stare on our face at which point she got the kids up and headed out. I asked for our food to be boxed up to go, the waitress profusely apologized some more and I continued to tell her it was ok even though I wasn’t really happy.
So I paid for the food, tipped the waitress and told her that I hoped things improved for her. I couldn’t be mad but I also couldn’t keep the kids there with no idea what they would hear next that my ex or I couldn’t undo. To this day, I hope she didn’t get in trouble at work, and that her situation improved. But, there was no way I was going to let my kids hear that conversation, some of which was making me uncomfortable at 35.”
It’s No Surprise This Place Went Out Of Business
“My family and I had been going to a small breakfast place for months. We discovered it through word of mouth and had to give it a try.
They served the best Mexican/Californian brunch we had ever had. It was a tiny place, just a hole in the wall. Great food, small local family vibe, it was a perfect spot. We started going almost every Sunday for brunch.
One morning, I dropped by with my wife and two kids. I noticed a few new people in the kitchen and on the staff. I said hello as always and sat down to order. The food was as good, as always, although we didn’t recognize the server. In any case, we finished, asked for the check and paid the bill. The new waiter walked over to us in an oddly aggressive manner. I thought maybe something had happened.
In any case, he got in my face and told me how they expect at least at 20% tip (I think I left 15% or thereabouts). Now, I’m there, on a Sunday, with my wife and kids, and this guy was in my face because he felt his tip wasn’t adequate. Maybe I am from a different time, but tips in my mind are an award for good service, not a tax. Clearly, this individual felt differently.
I asked the owner to come over, ripped up my original receipt and paid just the amount owed (i.e. no tip). The owner didn’t really seem to know what to do and mumbled something about goodbye. I just ignored him and his now clearly antagonistic waiter as I walked out, never to return.
Six months or so later, they had closed and a wonderful little breakfast nook was gone.”
I Guess I’ll Take It To-Go
“I am a huge fan of P.F. Chang’s. I don’t just like it there, I love it there. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I go maybe every two, three months.
I was there last summer for lunch with a friend. Our server pounced on us the second we sat down. Like, literally the second. We were still in the process of sitting when she came over and smacked us with the super cheerful ‘hi-there-folks-are-we-ready-to-order?!!’ all said in one breath like a seasoned server.
We told her we needed a minute to actually, you know, open our menus and take a look. She came back thirty seconds later, but my friend and I were regulars and knew the restaurant well enough to have our orders ready by then. I put in an order for veggie lo mein. Our waitress said, ‘I can go ahead and bring out a takeout box for you along with the food because there’s no way you’re gonna be able to eat all of that, right?’ and gave a friendly server laugh.
Excuse me? I was so taken aback that I didn’t know what to think for a second. I just said something like, ‘Uh, no, I’ll eat my meal first and then I’ll see.’
The thing is, I can totally eat all of the lo mein. I usually don’t, but when I’m starving I absolutely can. It’s only around 600 calories and it’s a meal so I don’t feel bad doing it. I guess she just pegged me for someone who doesn’t ‘look like’ I could eat a whole bowl of noodles. At least she was maybe calling me skinny?
The food came quickly as always and my friend and I began to eat. I was barely halfway into the lo mein when a pair of hands reached out from behind me and swooped away with my food. The voice of our server drifted over my shoulder as she sprinted towards the kitchen. ‘I’ll go ahead and box the rest of this up for you!’
Was she trying to count calories for me? Was she offended that I was allowing myself to enjoy carbs, which is a rare treat? Did she assume that there truly was no way a slender girl could finish her meal? Was she too eager to be helpful so she just ended up being abrasive? Who knows. I was dumbfounded, though.
I would’ve guessed that her shift was over, but in a restaurant workplace that doesn’t make sense: you have a set start time, but don’t know when you’ll be done working for the day. It completely depends on how busy it is. You could go in at 7 and be sent home at 8 or you could stay until midnight. If she had been told she could get cut after the table that was currently sitting, she easily could’ve had a different server cover us.
I really didn’t get the sense that she was trying to be rude, so I still tipped 20% as I always do at a minimum. My friend and I did steal her pen from the credit card book, though. He was a server at the time and said he hated when his guests did that.
Interestingly, I’ve never seen her there again.”
“When I was much younger, my mum asked me to drive her into the city so that she could do some shopping. She offered to take me out to lunch as thanks for the favor. We ended up at a local Tex-Mex restaurant that everyone always raved about.
I ordered some nachos and asked if they could leave off the lettuce and tomatoes. The waiter told me it was on the side. I said in reply, ‘That’s great! Could you have them just leave it off entirely?’
He answered me, ‘I could, but they probably won’t remember. Anyway, it’s on the side.’ I looked at the picture on the menu which showed the lettuce and tomato on top of the nachos, so I wasn’t sure and asked once again if they would please just not put it on the plate.
The waiter once again told me not to worry about it since they were on the side. I finally had had enough and said, ‘Well, the tip is generally on the side as well, would you like me to just not worry about that either?'”
A Quick History Lesson
“I was in Germany around 1986. The small gasthaus my wife and I entered looked inviting, with a nice roaring fire in a stone fireplace and just enough customers to tell us that they probably had good food. I noticed that before what appeared to be the only waitress they had started toward us, an older gentleman stopped her and came over to our table. I greeted him in German and asked for a menu. He told me in thickly accented English that Americans weren’t welcome in his gasthaus. I asked, again in German, why that was. He told me that Americans had killed all his family during the bombing of Stuttgart during WWII. He said Americans have a special place waiting for them after death and asked us to leave. As we got up from our table, I noticed that everyone in the place was looking our way. I reached out and shook his hand, told him I was sorry he felt that way, I understood his feelings, and perhaps if he could remember something else I would appreciate it. I casually told him that without the Berlin airlift, Berlin would have starved, and the Marshall Plan ensured that he didn’t suffer under the oppression his brothers in the East did. I told him goodnight and my wife and I left.
I was just about to back out of our parking place when the woman I pegged as the waitress came out and quickly waved to us. She asked that we not leave but come back in. I didn’t ask any questions, but my wife consented so we did. Apparently, several customers chastised the owner and told him I was correct. He would be a bad owner not to serve us dinner. He shrugged and went in the kitchen, but sent the waitress out to catch us. We enjoyed a very good meal and got a couple of good drinks sent to us by other customers. After we finished, we were invited to a table with three couples and enjoyed some interesting conversation. As we prepared to leave, the waitress told us that we were welcome there and to please come back again. We agreed to, thanked all for the hospitality, and headed to the door.
As we started out, I head a voice call, ‘Americanisher!’ (American) I looked back to see the old gent frowning at me, but then his expression softened slightly, and he saluted me. I returned his salute and left. We returned several times, and while he would never acknowledge us, he always did that same thing when I left.”