An average meal out at a local restaurant is usually pretty unremarkable. Sometimes, a place stands out for good reasons like amazing food or quality service. But other times, it's the bad things that stand out. As these stories show, anything from a bad server to food poisoning can make for a negative restaurant experience. It's safe to say these people are not going to be repeat customers at these establishments.
Here are all the craziest Reddit stories about people's absolute worst dining out experiences. Content has been edited for clarity.
No Cheese, No Problem
“My parents stopped to get some fast food on a long car trip down to the beach. I ordered a hamburger. As always at these places, given my hatred of American cheese, I requested it to be cheese-less. Also as is usual, they managed to mess this part up. No big deal. My mom politely handed the burger back.
The cashier turned around. She tried to conceal her actions with her body but we saw her take the burger out of the wrapper and scrape the patty against the edge of the counter to remove the cheese. She then tried to hand it back to my mom like nothing happened.”
“Apparently the kitchen was having an outbreak of norovirus and just… decided not to close?
This was one of the most upscale restaurants in the area I lived in at the time. We were there for a family birthday dinner. Not just my family, but almost everyone who’d eaten there in the past week ended up horrendously sick. My grandma was hospitalized because it was so bad, though thankfully she was okay eventually.
They ended up having to call in an infectious disease specialist and close down for a while, as I recall. This was probably 15 years ago and I still get nervous about going out to eat sometimes.”
This Waitress Snapped
“I was having dinner with my now-wife who had just recently moved back to Massachusets from California. She didn’t have a new Massachusets ID yet. We went to order drinks and the waitress took my wife’s California ID. She immediately proclaimed it is ‘fake,’ snapped it in half, and handed it back to her. In the blink of an eye, she just destroyed her only ID for no reason. The manager ended up getting involved and agreed that the waitress was out of line. I think they offered us free drinks or something, but my wife was furious, and we ended up just leaving. It wound up being a hassle getting a Massachusets ID later on because of this.”
This Pizza Is Still In His Nightmares
“This happened like 30 years ago and it still haunts me. It was the first and last time I ever had Chicago style pizza. We were in a fairly dead restaurant since it was way after lunch. There were only a few tables that had people at them. A couple of tables over from us was a rather large family consisting of a mom, dad, and two kids in the 9-12 age range. Our pizza came, and we got all set to dig in when the older kid at the other table just started fountaining puke everywhere.
There was no reaction from the parents. They just moved out of the way and kept eating. At this point, every other diner in the place was moving en masse to pay/get their money back/leave. My family made it to the back of that line, so I got to watch these people stand up, move away from the table, and continue to eat AROUND the staff that was cleaning up the puke. My last sight of them was the father putting his hand on the shoulder of this poor server so he could lean over and snag something off the table to munch on.”
A Secret Ingredient
“I went to our nicest steakhouse to celebrate finishing a work project where I had been working 16-hour days for a few weeks. I was utterly exhausted.
I ordered the enchilada and aged steak platter, excited for my first time trying aged steaks. I finally got my food and took a bite of the enchiladas first. As I started to chew, I felt a ‘crunch.’ I pulled it out, and it was a piece of broken glass. I’m pretty sure some of it broke off in my mouth and I swallowed it.
I called the waiter over. All he offered to do was replace the meal. Um…no thanks?! How do you get glass in enchiladas in the first place? Somebody was super careless. And if it does happen, how does that not warrant a more active response?”
Wrong Order Up!
“My girlfriend and I were the only two people in a Dennys one night.
The cook made the completely wrong thing for my order. We knew this before we even got our food because I could overhear the waitress tell the cook he made the wrong thing. The cook mumbled something, then the waitress brought it over anyway. She pretended like she didn’t realize it wasn’t what I ordered, even though I clearly heard her say that she was aware of this fact seconds ago.
I said, ‘I’m sorry…but this isn’t what I ordered and I overheard you say you knew as much over there.’ The waitress gave me a very dirty look and put in what I originally wanted.
For the rest of the night, she was very scarce on coming around to our table. It took forever to get drink refills, our check, etc. Like I said, we were the only two there, so it’s not like she got too busy.”
He Tried To Warn Them
“We arrived in Savannah, Georgia, hungry as could be. We had driven from Richmond, Virginia. We decided to drive all the way to Savannah to eat there instead of stopping at a McDonalds along the way. This local restaurant had a nice patio area, but we decided to sit inside because it was hot. First mistake. We were sat next to three empty kegs and electrical wires coming out of the walls. There were open bottles on other tables with no one sitting at them. The stucco walls were a smoke-stained yellow. Hanging on the wall next to our table was a word document printed with a review of the restaurant that sounded like it was written by a 9-year old. It was a paragraph long talking about how great their spaghetti sauce tasted. We opened the menu, and it had over 200 items on it. I ordered an adult beverage and my wife ordered a different kind. When her order came, we noticed there was something floating in it, and my bottle of drink tasted extremely stale.
We asked the waiter for any recommendations, and he laughed and said, ‘I would get nothing on this menu.’ We thought he must have been joking but looking back he must have been trying to communicate for us to get out of there. After an uncomfortably long pause, he suggested the stuffed shells. I ordered a crab soup because I was ravenously hungry. I forget what entrees we ordered. We never got that far. The crab soup came out, and it was chicken broth with parsley in it. There was nothing else in the soup. I laughed, as did my wife as I ate two spoonfuls of the chicken water. My wife insisted that we leave. Part of me wanted to stay to see how this could end up getting worse for our entertainment, but we left a $20 on the table for the drinks and horrible soup and figured the waiter could just keep the rest for trying to warn us. I frequently check Yelp and TripAdvisor to read other guests comments about this abomination of a restaurant.”
Good Ol’ Fashion Stare Down
“I went to a burger joint by the university I go to after a day of skiing. I wasn’t exactly dressed nice or anything, but it’s a burger joint, so whatever. I order my double bacon cheeseburger, 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. 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. I swear to God I looked at this man for an eternity. I felt nothing but rage for his face. 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.”
Proving A Point To The Extreme
“This happened when my social group was 16-17, and I’m 37 now.
To celebrate our freedom, we liked to drive outside the city to see the hill country and dine at the small town local places. We heard of a little French bistro an hour away, and so made the trip. Turned out there were only a dozen or so tables, and although we had no reservation, we got seated as only three or four other tables were occupied. Our waitress came out and got the drink orders. Returned with the drinks, and took our meal order. We got our breadsticks, then another batch 15 minutes later.
Then the waitress comes out to pick up all the baskets and cleaned up the little plates, then returned with the bill. We laughed a bit, said a mistake was made – we haven’t even eaten yet. She argued that we did, that she even just cleaned up our plates and silverware. We argued about it, she went and got the manager who came out to confront us about trying to get out of paying our bill. Nobody was sitting near us, and when asked, they said they weren’t paying attention to us, but we started getting ugly looks like we did eat and refuse to pay.
He gave us the ultimatum to pay up now or the police would be involved. We said we’re not paying for food we haven’t received. The police officer arrived and heard both sides of the story. The manager and waitress were going off how we were lying – while my friend then stood up and said he had it handled.
He asked the waitress what he ordered. She picks up the bill, flips it, and told him. It was a baked pasta dish with sausage. He confirmed that’s what he ordered. He asked the manager if the chef wants to come out and confirm he cooked it. It turns out the manager was also the cook and said he cooked it. He asked her if she did bring it out and serve it, she said yes. He asked if she threw away food away from the plates she picked up. She said no they were all cleaned up, as we ate all the food. He asked the officer if he would please step outside for a minute and he’ll prove they are lying.
Less than five minutes later, the cop walks back in, said to the rest of us at the table we were free to go, and told the manager/waitress they made a mistake. They tried to object, and the cop bluntly told them that the only thing the kid threw up was breadsticks, and if they want to go out by the bushes and check for themselves, they were welcome to it. That’s right, our friend Craig puked into the bushes to prove he had only eaten breadsticks.
Everyone in our group had our eyes wide open and the manager and waitress were too stunned to reply.
We didn’t argue, we got up and left, and hit the first drive through on the way home as Craig was twice as hungry as the rest of us since he didn’t get to digest his breadsticks.”
Victims Of A Waitress’s Rant
“My wife and I went to a fairly nice restaurant with friends, but we only brought cash. We were calculating a very generous estimate of the total as we were ordering to ensure we would be able to cover it.
When we got the bill, it was significantly higher than we had estimated. It was still within our cash budget, but just barely. It turns out they recently increased the price on almost everything on the menu but failed to have new menus printed. That would have been nice to know before we placed our orders rather than when the bill was on the table.
So we gave the waitress all the cash we brought with us, which unfortunately left her an embarrassingly minor tip, $10 on a $190 bill.
As we were getting ready to leave, the waitress came up and called me every possible insult within the reasonable vicinity of ‘cheap,’ ‘fake’ and ‘loser’ due to the tip. Seriously, she was ranting at me for a good five minutes in front of our friends and other patrons. And, fortunately for us, the manager.
I felt terrible about the tip before she had said anything. Once she did I kindly pointed out that her tip would also have been the entirety of the $40 in price increases that she had failed to mention.
The manager then walked up and fired her on the spot. His apology to us was that the next meal for us and the rest of our group would be on him, no limit. Even so, none of us have gone back since.”
When Eating Becomes Dangerous
“I was sitting in a greenhouse kind of glass structure eating a steak in a restaurant in Ohio in the middle of winter. The next thing I knew, the glass above me shattered and I got woozy.
I had been hit by a big block of ice that slid off the roof three floors above me and had fallen through the glass and clobbered me in the head. The EMTs showed up almost immediately and took me to the hospital, even though I didn’t want to go. I checked out fine except for a good size bruise. The restaurant gave me $1,000 two months later.”
Poorly Received Complaints
“I took my wife to dinner for her birthday. She told me two days earlier she wanted a good steak, so we went to try to get her one. It was one of those Texas style restaurants but not Logan’s or Texas Roadhouse.
My wife got a Caesar salad as a side and it came out quickly. It looked like they brought her the container of dressing with a few pieces of lettuce in it. It was completely overdressed. Oh well, my wife ate half of it and set it aside. We decided not to say anything because it was a salad and we were here for steak. We didn’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 looked 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 would 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 brought 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 wanted to talk to the manager. The waitress had been nice the whole time we were there, when she actually checked on us that is.
Anyway, 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, ‘I hate you for talking smack about my food.'”
Perfection Takes Time
“There’s a restaurant I love for brunch that has the best French toast in the entire world. I’ll never go back though, due to the horrible service. On three separate occasions, we waited 15+ minutes for menus and water. The one time I complained to the owner about the slow service her response was, I kid you not, ‘Perfection takes time.’
My ice water does not require 30 minutes to perfect, idiot. Brunch should not take three hours!”
A Celebration Ruined
“My wife had just graduated college. I reserved the party room at a local restaurant. My sister and brother got there ahead of the rest of us, so they walked into the place and got seated in the party room. We were about 10 minutes out when I get a call from my sister. Apparently, they double booked the room and the second party showed up in full, so the staff kicked out my sister and brother and seated them. My wife is laid back and I didn’t want to ruin her celebration, so we showed up and they seated us in the sports bar section with a bunch of tables smashed together. Whatever, at least we were all together.
We were enjoying our meal as best we could. The service was noticeably slow and the food came out a bit cold, but again, I was not going to make a big deal. We were in a party with about 35 people. After an hour or two, one side of the family decided to head home. So, we all stood up and were giving hugs and saying our goodbyes. For some reason, the restaurant thought that meant we were all leaving and they started breaking up the tables. I told them, ‘Hey we’re not done, only some of us are going.’ But they kept breaking up the tables and not listening to me. I repeated it and this time one of the waitresses pulled the table right into me. I’m like ‘hey, we’re not done!’ She did it a second time. I shoved the table off me, but the waitress thought I had too much to drink and was overacting. She did not attempt to apologize. At this point, I dropped all pretense of happiness and just decided this occasion had been ruined already. I started yelling and the entire restaurant tuned into my rant. Finally, a manager came over and started apologizing and tried to do damage control. Obviously, the meal was done, and we all headed out together. In the end, it was not the best celebration.”