Everyone gets bad service once in a while, but rarely does it make you want to get up and leave the restaurant. These people had such awful experiences with service, sometimes not even getting their food that they left the establishment--often to never return.
I’ll Get The Check Right Out…Not
“My then-girlfriend, one of her friends, and I were sat at a table right next to the bar. We were in direct line of sight to the bartender, who was also the waitress. We ordered food and ate it without issue. The service was a bit slow up to this point, but the bar was busy and the place appeared to be understaffed, so I wasn’t too mad. There was no hurry.
After the meal, we waited for the check to arrive.
20 minutes, then 35 minutes, then 45 minutes went by. I started getting annoyed and got up to talk to the waitress.
‘Sorry, I’ll get the check right out to you.’
The one hour mark passes. Then 1.5 hours.
The waitress makes eye contact several times, but still no check.
At the two hour mark, I’ve had enough, so we start packing up. We walk out completely unnoticed. If they can’t manage to scrape together a check in two hours, even after being prompted, they don’t need my money that badly. Additionally, this was (to my memory) the only time I’ve ever not left a tip at a restaurant. I tip even for lousy service, but being stranded at a table for two hours is beyond my threshold for tolerance.
I never went back to that restaurant, even though it was walking distance to my apartment and the food was decent. They went out of business shortly after.”
Sweet Justice Was Served
“My father was abroad at a conference with a group of fellow lawyers and they headed out to a restaurant near their hotel for dinner and drinks. The restaurant was not busy, but the service seemed to be taking much longer than expected. About half an hour after they were seated, they were finally given menus. They ordered drinks right away and perused the menus for a time.
The drinks arrived after another half hour or so, but there was no indication that anyone was preparing to take their order. They drank their drinks slowly, but still no sign of any staff looking to assist them. About an hour and 45 minutes after arriving, they decided they would have to get back to the hotel for the evening lecture, and waved over one of the elusive waiters to let them know they were leaving.
The bill was brought to the table at a much-improved speed, and the group looked at the total in shock and dismay. They had been charged around 5 times as much as any reasonable person could expect to pay for their drinks.
One of the lawyers scoffed and summoned the manager with an imperious wave. ‘You, sir, do not have the correct license. You cannot sell adult beverages unless it is accompanying a meal. You are not legally entitled to charge us for these drinks.’
The manager spluttered and argued, but in the face of nine lawyers he was forced to concede, and my father and his colleagues left the restaurant happy with their success, if not the single drink they had consumed.”
He Just Quit
“I went to a Denny’s at 2:00 am after a metal concert with about eight other friends. We were all seated immediately since the restaurant was a ghost town and we all ordered pretty quick. It took 30 minutes to get our drinks and another hour to get our food. When the food came out, two of us got the wrong meal and three didn’t get any food at all. We sent back the wrong food and reordered the missing dishes.
Our waiter went back to the kitchen and let the cook know what was up, and the cook starts arguing with him. There’s only one other waitress in the restaurant and she’s too busy not caring to think about helping.
30 minutes later, the waiter comes back out with our new food. One person’s meal is still wrong and another’s is still missing. When we tell him, the dude literally rage quits in the middle of Denny’s, rips his apron off, throws it on the ground and storms out the back door.
The waitress who didn’t care just walks up and says, ‘Did he just quit?’ and we’re like ‘Guess so?’ She shrugs and says ‘Huh. It was his first day,’ and walks away. Another 20 minutes pass and no one seems to care or want to bring us refills, or our checks, so all nine of us walked out. Took about three hours but the free food was kinda decent.”
Steak And No Shake
“When I was in high school, I was on the band council for two years, and every Friday before a home game, we would all go out to eat at some relatively cheap restaurant with a small handful of band students whom we as the council agreed had gone above and beyond in recent rehearsals and class.
This particular occasion, we went to a Steak ‘n Shake not far from our rival high school. I’d been there before with my family and had a terrible experience with the service. The story was that the kitchen lost our ticket and our server spent a lot of time arguing with them, in between standing around and chatting within our visual field apparently, but he never came by to tell us what was happening until some 20 minutes after we had ordered and it still took another 15 to get our food but I was willing to give them another chance. Plus, I was out-voted by the rest of the council.
I was sixteen at the time, but due to reasons, I didn’t have a full license yet, and I wasn’t allowed to ride with other students who were driving. This was also during a flare-up in my dad’s chronic illness if I recall correctly, and he was unable to drive me anywhere and he didn’t want to sit in a loud restaurant while in pain and cramp everyone’s style. So we had a good friend from our church chauffeuring me around that week. This translated to I had to be done by a certain time so that friend could meet another obligation afterward.
So we were inside the restaurant, a bunch of us nerdy high schoolers with matching t-shirts emblazoned with our band logo and clearly denoting which high school we attended. It took us twenty minutes to be seated (during non-peak hours – it wasn’t very busy and there were definitely open tables) and another five or ten just to get menus. It was happy hour (half price milkshakes), so I ordered a milkshake and a grilled cheese sandwich with shoestring fries. The milkshake arrived about fifteen minutes later and my ride was now in the parking lot. I texted her what was going on and waited another few minutes. In the meantime, a family of four had arrived after us, been seated before us, eaten, and were paying their bill and getting ready to leave, and I had only just gotten my milkshake. One of the senior council members took his car through the drive-thru and got his food (not just his shake) in record time before any of the rest of us got our drinks. Nobody could get any of the restaurant staff’s attention.
With no sign that my or anybody’s food was ever going to come out, I told another council member I had to go (she was somewhat aware of my situation), left $5 in singles on the table for the milkshake (I kicked myself afterward because I had forgotten at that moment that it was still happy hour), and left, almost an hour after we had arrived.
My church friend took me through the drive-thru of the Chick-fil-a next door while I angry cried about what had happened. So I still got to eat.
Later when I got to the school for the game, my council friend person told me that my food did arrive after I left and that she explained what happened and the server took $3 for the milkshake. I got my $2 back.
I later heard through the rumor mill that the reason they treated us so badly was that the staff was used to band kids from the other high school coming in after games at like 2:00 am and causing a ruckus and then stiffing the wait staff.
That didn’t make it okay what they did, of course.
There are a handful of things I could and probably should have done, like informing our server at the time of ordering that I was on a time limit, or making a concerted effort to flag down a manager to explain why I was leaving (I was angry crying when I left and I don’t want to deal with anyone when I’m crying because I hate causing a scene – maybe I should have caused one). Hindsight is 20/20.”
I Wouldn’t Eat There Either
“My sister and I went to this cheap but delicious Chinese buffet. We were regular customers and the owners and workers there loved us.
One day while we were eating there, a fairly huge rat walked out to the center of the room and died there. You could tell it had been recently poisoned. The owners apologized profusely, but everyone there left without paying, including us.
We never went back. And it closed down a few months later. I think word of mouth spread quickly after that day. I kind of feel bad, but I couldn’t get that image out of my head. There’s no way I could ever eat there again.”
At Least They Got Pizza
“A successful businessman I know well was in a rather renowned restaurant in London’s Mayfair, somewhat legendary for its food and high prices. He was entertaining business clients.
The service was downright appalling and they waited ages even to have menus brought to the table and failed to get drinks while they studied them.
So my friend took out his phone and ordered takeaway pizzas to be delivered to his table, by the firm which delivered to his nearby offices: he had a good relationship with them. They arrived in ten minutes.
They were all thrown out and went to a pub instead, but he swears to this day that it was worth it.”
How Long Can A Pizza Take?
“We sat down to have some dinner and a few drinks to go with it at a nice pizza restaurant. As it was summer, people were sitting outside and it seemed pretty full, but the seats inside were almost empty.
We chose to sit inside as it didn’t matter to us. We ordered drinks and were sipping them. Slowly, the wait was going on for too long for the main dish to arrive. We asked and the waiter said, ‘We have many people outside and they have PRIORITY.’ Okay, we kept calm and went on to wait again, as how long does it take to make a pizza?
45 minutes later, we asked again and got the same response. Meanwhile, 30 minutes into our order, another family also sat inside and gave their order at the same time as us started getting their food. We were two drinks down and 1.5 hours later, furious about the situation, gave one more try, to our surprise, it was the same response.
Flipping the table, we just got up and asked to cancel our order and proceeded to pay our bill for the drinks. This is where we got really angry when the server asked for a TIP.“
Waiting For Nothing
“A few years ago, my husband and I attempted to get a late lunch at a local restaurant. It was approximately 3:40 when we arrived (we had just checked our clocks because we attempted to go to another restaurant first but they had just closed.)
There was one waitress and only four of the tables in the restaurant were filled (there were only parties of one to three people, no large parties). It was a little slow getting menus and our drink orders in, but not terrible. I’d say it was about 10 minutes before we had our water and Coke. At this time, she took our orders. We hadn’t eaten yet that day, so we got both appetizers and mains.
The mix was really off on the Coke and apparently, it tasted terrible, so my husband drank very little of it, just a few sips. We wanted to ask for water instead, but over the course of the next 45 minutes, the waitress never once came back to our table to check on us. And in that time, another table ordered, got their meal, ate their meal, and got their checks — and we still didn’t have our appetizers. For most of this time, the waitress was just sitting at the register/bar and, as far as we can tell, not doing much except checking her phone and staring off into space.
After a full hour had passed since we arrived, we decided to leave. We went up to the counter to pay for the Coke (which had barely been touched). I went up with a smile and planning to be apologetic that we had to go, because even though I was annoyed she didn’t check on us more, I figured it wasn’t the waitress’s fault that the kitchen was slow, nor was it her fault we were so hungry when we arrived.
But when she saw us coming up with our coats and things, her comment was, ‘What ARE you DOING?’ with so much attitude I was taken aback. So then, I let her know that the situation was unacceptable and why, and she retorted that it wasn’t a fast food restaurant (again, everything she was saying to us was in a really confrontational tone). I said yes, I knew it wasn’t fast food, but over an hour and we didn’t even have our appetizers wasn’t acceptable, so we just wanted to pay for the Coke and go. We went back and forth for a bit (neither of us yelling, but both of us had angry tones), then she flounced into the kitchen and proceeded to complain to the chef about me, which we and the entire restaurant could hear clearly because the kitchen had no door. At that point, I walked out. I had fully intended to pay for the Coke, even though he had less than a fifth of it, but her behavior was so rude I was done. My husband was a little behind me and I guess the chef walked out to talk to me but I was already at the door. My husband just said, ‘Too late,’ and followed me out. We have never gone back there again and I warn others away.”
Some Interesting Nachos
“We were delivered our nachos and there was a significantly sized piece of plastic covered in cheese. I called the manager over and they said they would bring out new ones and comp us 50%. I said I would rather not eat here at all and wanted a full refund and he had the balls to tell me I would still have to pay for the plastic covered nachos!
So I took a picture of the nachos and plastic and told him I was walking out and if he wanted to make a fuss about it I would be more than happy to show every customer what they tried to serve as food and contact his main office. He relented and we left with no issues. Thanks, Red Robin, for another sub-par experience.”
Here’s Some Soup…
“I was at a stupid Chili’s once with my husband. We ordered a soup and sandwich deal, and then just sat there while another couple next to us was seated, got their meal, ate it, paid and left. Our waiter twice checked on our meal and said that the kitchen had not fired his ticket either time. He also told us there was no manager on duty. Finally, we talked to a guy who said he was in charge of the kitchen, and he said our waiter was too incompetent to correctly place our order, but he couldn’t enter a ticket himself because he wasn’t a server.
Eventually, they offered us a free cup of soup, which was ridiculous because we never even got the soup we ordered. The whole thing was such a garbage show, we were disgusted and left.”
I Guess No One Paid
“We left without paying one time, but it was an accident.
We were with a large group of friends (I think there were 15 of us total) at an IHOP one night after having been out on the town. My husband and I never received a check and in the commotion of everyone paying their bills, we were asking around the table to see if anyone had accidentally gotten our bill. One of our friends said, ‘don’t worry, I’ve got it,’ and gestured with his wallet in a way that made us think he was offering to pick up our tab (this is a group of friends that have been friends for over 20 years, so picking up each other’s bills sometimes is totally normal).
A couple of days later my husband saw his friend again and was like, ‘hey thanks again for picking up our bill, let me pay you back man’ and the friend was like ‘what?’ Apparently, in his wasted state and the confusion at the table in general, the friend hadn’t gotten our bill and didn’t pay our bill and his words and gestures weren’t at all related to paying our bill. Oops.”
“My wife and I as well as a couple of friends walked into a place for trivia night. We were seated at 6:50. I know because they announced that trivia would start at 7. The waitress took our drink order at 6:55, as they were announcing the trivia rules. At 7:10 she took our order. We always order the same thing, and it’s not complicated. Now, this place is at the level of maybe a Chili’s or TGI-Fridays, so there’s nothing fancy.
7:30 rolls around, and we’re playing trivia. Nothing yet, not even a refill on the water.
8:00 and we’ve gotten 1 refill on water. The waitress has vanished.
8:30 nobody has anything. We go to the cashier and ask. We’re told that the kitchen is backed up. I’m told that they’ll find my waitress. She never appears.
9:00 trivia is over, and we still haven’t eaten. Ironically, we win trivia. We get our gift card and start to walk out. Suddenly, our waitress appears and asks us where we’re going. I tell her that we never got served and she assures us that our order ‘will be right out’ and I inform her we placed the order 2 hours ago. She then tells us we’re going to have to pay for it. We just walk out. The manager follows us into the parking lot, yelling the whole way. Finally, I and one of my friends confront him and explain that we got here before trivia started and that the order was placed TWO HOURS AGO. We didn’t even get water refills save once. He’s suddenly apologetic. We get another gift card, this time for $100.”
No Lunch At All
“I was at a job site and only had an hour to get some lunch. There was a little pub and deli place just around the corner, so I went there. I’m a carpenter, so I look like what most carpenters do by lunch-time.
The server came to my table right away with a menu and I ordered a large coke, double cheeseburger, and fries without even looking at it. This must have offended her in some way, because for the next half hour she completely ignored me, even though she was serving drinks and food to people that had come into to the place after me. And I had not even gotten my large Coke even though she could clearly see that no one else had brought it out to me.
I had to leave to get back to work. So I walked out. If I would have gotten my coke, I would have paid for that, though all I got was missing my lunch – and I was hungry.
I kind of hope there was someone in the kitchen starting to cook my burger 45 minutes after I ordered it just so I was not the only one who lost by me being there that day. Next time I’ll just go to KFC. At least I’ll get lunch.”
You Better Pay For Your Tap Water
“I rarely visit restaurants. The one time I did visit an expensive restaurant they were ready to take my order after just a few minutes. I then waited 90 minutes before I was told they didn’t have the correct meat for my order, but they would be more than capable of having it ready the next day…
Note that in that time, nothing was served, not even water. I got up to leave and was stopped at the door. The police were called due to me refusing to pay the bill. What was I supposed to pay for? Having taken up a table for over an hour? I don’t know what happened afterward, but the police told me to go.
Last time I ever visited a fancy place like that!
(And on top of that, my date never showed up).”