Working in the food service industry is not easy. In fact, it can be an excruciating existence to lead, with overbearing customers and unsympathetic bosses. Sometimes, all it takes is one misunderstanding or one too many buttons pushed, to result in instant termination of employment.
The following testimonies come from the people who went through just that. These former restaurant workers were fired on the spot and took to Reddit to share the experience. Content has been edited for clarity.
Fired For Standing Up For Himself
“I delivered pizzas in college for a spell. Someone had an order that was something like $18.90. He handed me a $20 bill. I asked if he wanted change. In my experience, 99.9% of customers who would hand us a 20 on a $19 pizza would just give us the dollar as the tip or part of a tip.
‘They didn’t tell me on the phone you would be begging for a tip,’ he replied. ‘You’ll have to get down on your knees and show me you mean it.’
I told him to get stuffed. I knew he called the pizza joint because, when I got back, the manager told me to pack my stuff and leave.
That customer can still get stuffed.”
The Day “Mr. Fancypants” Came To Dine Turned Out To Be Her Last Day On The Job
“I was working for a small, family-owned restaurant. All the wait staff and most of the kitchen staff were family or friends of the owner. I was hired as a waitress. I did OK – not great, not terrible. It was my first time being a waitress.
One day, one of their regular customers, who is a bit of a local celebrity, came in. He apparently came in once or twice a week and tipped very well. Normally, the owner’s daughter would take the table, but she was out sick, so I took them. I got an amazing tip from him. He told the owner that he would like me to wait on him if I am available in the future. The daughter was a decent server, but knew her job was never in jeopardy so didn’t really do good customer service wise. Whereas I was always pretty friendly, but I was still really green on the waiting side of things. I think he liked me because I was nicer to him. The second he left, I was fired.
I was told that they couldn’t afford to keep me on as a waitress, basically. It was so many years ago and I can’t remember the exact excuse she gave me, but her reaction when Mr. Fancypants requested me was more than enough context I needed. I never went back to the restaurant after that, but I learned it shut down a year or two later.”
He Stopped Them On A Dime
“My mother, brother, and I were at Olive Garden years ago. We had the worst waiter in the history of the world. He was outrageously rude to the point of being abusive to us. At the end of the dinner, my mom left him a dime for a tip.
As we were leaving, the waiter threw the dime at my mom. If I was not a little kid at the time, I would have probably at least attempted to defend her. The waiter’s boss saw the dime throw and fired the waiter on the spot. Everyone has a bad day, but that guy was just a prick.”
Not The Kind Of Bartender Worth Trusting
“When I was 20, I worked in a pub. I was put on garden bar duty on my own for the summer season. The pub was almost always dead, and I would often run out of things to do to keep myself busy. So, I started drinking some of our inventory. As time went on one became two, two became seven.
Within four months, I had drank the equivalent of five bottles of Absolut. The manager called me to her back office and asked me if I knew where said bottles had gone. I was wasted as a fart when she asked me, so my acting skills were not award-winning.
I told her I had not a clue, but would keep an eye out for them. She then showed me security camera footage form the past four months of me pouring myself drinks. She had made the footage into a ‘best of’ compilation, if you will. She fired me on the spot.
I think that was a fair call on her behalf. I drank her stock and lied to her face. I moved away from work with adult beverages as it made me a very bad person.”
If Only He Had Not Laughed That Day…
“When I was much younger, I worked at Taco Bell – my first job ever. Some girl came up to the counter and SLAMMED her tray down onto the counter, screaming that we didn’t know how to cook and that it was cold. It was so hot it was still steaming as it sat on the counter, but OK. She cursed and yelled so, I did give just a little bit of attitude.
‘Alright, I’ll fix it, but you need to calm down,’ I said. ‘This is a family establishment, and this behavior is unacceptable.’
That was exactly how I put it.
As I walked out to perform other tasks while her food was made ONCE AGAIN and put on a gold platter for her royal highness, I was talked to by a family sitting and eating quietly who said something that had nothing to do with the yelling woman, but it made me laugh.
A few days later, the district manager called me and demanded to speak with me in his office. Apparently, the woman who threw the huge fit, even after receiving her food, maybe, three different times even though it was FINE, went and told my manager that the family and I were making fun of her and laughing at her. Apparently, I called her crazy and all kinds of nonsense.
It just so happened that the same family was there that day too. As he was yelling at me, the mom walked over and told the manager that we had said nothing about the crazy woman and we did not laugh at her. She told him that she told me a joke that made me laugh. Still fired.
What was neat though was that the family, who had been regulars for years, stood up, demanded a refund, and left. They were great. They even asked me to join them at a different restaurant for lunch.
The customer is not always freaking right. That is why, nowadays, I work in manufacturing and without public interaction.”
Hired And Fired Just Like That
“My job had people come and go like it was a drive-thru. We had one guy who was down that same path. He came in and started cutting the pizzas. A couple of weeks later, the guy was a master. Even during rush, he still had time to pick up orders.
The manager came in. He asked him how he was liking his job. He said that he was glad that he worked there. The manger fired him on the spot. The next guy came in and the cycle continued.”
It Was Like Working With Gordon Ramsay
“I was head chef at a venue. I was fairly new to the company and had been recently promoted. My store had some staff issues that I inherited. I did a week of training at a different store and worked with the head chef. He came to my store the following week.
I got in on day one with him and he proceeds to rip me a new one about how my line was not topped up. He removed half the ingredients because he didn’t approve of the quality. This turned into him being a complete loser and bullying me for two hours.
My manager walked in. I said good morning and acted like I was fine. The manager and the chef were great mates, they went to high school together. I did not want to start anything, so I just kept to myself for the time being. I was angry and upset, but I was here to ‘learn.’
Let’s get to it!
I was making a dip. I started with a roux and added a few extra things. I weighed everything in the first step out in the pot, set it on the stove, and went to grab my cheese. The other chef started yelling at me to start it again because the butter was not melted in the pot first.
Forget this guy, I thought. He’s not gonna freaking beat me. I’ll play along.
I quickly chopped some jalapeños, chopped some butter, weighed the flour, and started again. Then, my manager walked in.
‘Why did you use a green knife to cut butter?’ he asked.
In my haste, I did indeed do that. I turned around and told him to back off and ran out crying. I had enough. I got fired. They labeled it gross misconduct. I had a new role four days later. Forget them.”
“He Finally Found A Reason To Get Rid Of Me”
“I worked in a high class restaurant when I was younger. Anyone who works in the service industry can tell you the holidays suck – long hours for little pay in the kitchen, but the wait staff makes bank. I was the main prep person. I had just come off a 120-hour work week a day prior, and a huge mental breakdown at one point during that week, so all I had was a day to rest and get back to it.
I went in for seven hours, as usual, and was on track to make it out of the restaurant at about 9 or 10 pm that night with the next day off. I made a deal with my chef that if I prepped my stuff for the next two days I could leave by then. I worked my butt off. Mind you, I was about 18 working for nothing. When I started washing dishes there, it was for $7.50 an hour. After two and a half years, I had made it up to $8.25.
Get stuffed, Chef Erik.
My real issue was that the head chef absolutely hated me. We constantly butted heads, he would berate me, make me feel like a failure, etc. He was just that much of an imbecile and he believed anytime spent at the place not working was a waste of time. This was a guy who, when his wife was about to have a baby, brought her to the hospital, told her and the hospital staff to call him when she was just about ready, and came back to the kitchen. He left and went to see his newborn baby son be birthed, was gone for about two hours, and came back to finish out the night. He took two days off total with his wife and came back to work after his mother-in-law got there to help. I just worked loyally with my head down through the nonsense because I decided I wanted to be a cook. It was actually a great outlet for me to end up getting clean, but that’s a story for another time.
I was about an hour or so from getting off. I just had to finish cleaning up and putting everything away and I was home free after a 15-hour shift. At some point during the cleaning process, someone had gone to the walk-in to grab more of the dinner rolls I had made for the day. It was the only thing that had to be made fresh daily, so I couldn’t cook more, otherwise, it would have been a non-issue. When they went to grab the tray, it brought down the second tray of bread under it, causing him to slip. It all fell to the floor. I almost cried. When my chef saw, he said the last words I wanted to hear.
‘Ah,’ he said, ‘well, guess you gotta stay longer so we don’t run out for the night.’
I was speechless. I knew it was an accident but this felt so unfair given I was literally almost out the door. I walked out of the kitchen and had a quick smoke by my car after mentally preparing myself, and went back in. My chef came up to me and was about to say something. He must have smelled the smoke and asked if I had a smoke break. I replied yes and he almost smiled.
‘Get the heck out of this kitchen,’ he replied. ‘We don’t need you anymore.’
I was shocked. His own second in command smoked almost non stop, as well as other employees. Yet, I was getting the ax. I had not even received so much as write up in my time of working, but he finally found a reason to get rid of me.
I knew there was a no smoking policy, but literally everyone in the kitchen still snuck off for quick smokes, as I had as well, for the past two-plus years. I didn’t think he would ever get mad as long as he didn’t catch you.
All in all, it was the best thing that could have happened. I went to another restaurant soon after, met the girl who is now my fiancee, and have left the service industry altogether to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher.”
He Got Out Before The Restaurant’s Dark Secrets Came Out
“I worked in a terrible restaurant in my hometown. I was a dishwasher. The place would skimp out on feeding me during my shift by saying they were too busy. They only had me and one chef on. No matter how many people were eating during lunch, it was all on him.
After one shift, I went to clock out and saw my boss having an interview with someone. I said my goodbyes and headed home for the day. The next morning, about 10 minutes before I went in for my shift, my boss called me and told me to not come in for the day.
‘In fact, don’t come in again,’ he added. ‘You’re fired.’
He refused to give me a reason, but I suspect that the guy he was interviewing was a friend of his and he wanted my job. I found out that it closed a year later because the owner of the restaurant was convicted of money laundering and illicit substance trading.”
Perhaps He Should Have Taken A Break To Study In The First Place
“I was a waiter at a nice restaurant when I overdosed on Adderall because it was finals week and I had been studying night and day. I had forgotten how many I took because I was so sleep deprived. I could have been popping them like candies for all I know.
I got light headed and couldn’t think straight and started messing up people’s orders. The boss told me that I was a liability and fired me. I told my parents that I was taking a break to study for school.”
A Satisfying Climax To His Employment
“I worked at a brewery that was also a full restaurant. During a busy Friday night, my waiter took a very wasted (and very married) woman into the brewery and received pleasure from her. I guess his judgement was clouded in the moment because that brewery was not private.
The brewery had glass walls and was visible from the restaurant, so they were discovered very quickly. The general manager walked in and told him to get the heck out and never come back. I have never seen someone look so satisfied while walking out of a job after being fired on the spot.”
A Deadly Mistake
“I was working in a restaurant. A server broke a glass in the ice bin. She did not clean it up or tell anyone. She just went about her business. Another server went to get drinks for her table and found glass in the ice. The owner fired her on the spot because she could have easily killed somebody if the other server had not caught it.”
No Time For Humor When Making Coffee
“I got fired from my first job at Panera. I was being trained as a barista. When told how many pumps of caramel to put in a caramel latte, I (very obviously) jokingly said, ‘Nah, let’s do eight pumps,’ and then proceeded to make the drink correctly.
The next time I came in, manager called me into the office, and fired me for ‘going against specs,’ even though I didn’t. I just joked about it, once.”
No Job Is Worth Dealing With A Boss Like This
“I have so many terrific stories after 20 years of working in the service industry. My favorite was the coke addicted restaurant owner who chased me out of the building screaming and threatening to kill me over a negative comment card in the middle of a busy shift while I was waiting tables.
He then had to call me and ask me to come back with the money and credit card receipts from my shift. Then, he threatened to call the police if I didn’t return, despite his threats of murder and the half an ounce of coke in his desk.”
He Did Not Even Get A Chance To Work
“I got fired before I even started my first job.
When I was in high school, I didn’t have a job due to not having a car and being involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. This carried over into my college life – still no car. Music is a stupid hard degree. But I used scholarships and loans to pay rent and live life. After struggling for a while, I decided I was going to drop out of school mid-semester and try to work for a bit, so I could go back later with more appreciation for school.
I applied everywhere I could think of with no luck. People were not very receptive to hiring a 21-year-old with no work experience. Finally, I got an interview at a semi-chain Tex-Mex restaurant (think Moe’s) because one of my friends worked there. In the interview, I explained my situation to the owner, who was a bit skeptical, but hired me anyway. He told me to come back a week later and talk to his daughter, the head manager, about getting clothes, shoes, etc. and when the training process would start.
I came back exactly when he told me to and talked to the manager. She was less than enthusiastic about me working there, but told me my training would start on Monday and went through Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off. Trying to be as helpful as possible, I told her that sounded awesome, I was happy to work there, and if I was needed Saturday or Sunday night, I’d be happy to come in, although I had a prior engagement Saturday morning. She said that wouldn’t be needed, but thanked me and I went on my way.
Not even ten minutes later, I got a call from the manager letting me know that they decided I wouldn’t be a good fit, since I was already calling out of training shifts, and that I’d need to find a new job. Apparently, the manager had told her dad that I had told her I wouldn’t be available for any Saturday or Sunday shifts. When my friend that worked there asked the manager about it, she replied, ‘I didn’t like the way he looked, so I made sure he didn’t work here,’ then laughed and walked away.
I am glad I didn’t work there. Moe’s is way better anyway.”
She Was Only Worried About Covering Her Own Tail
“Some years back, I worked at a pretty well-known fast food place. Without disclosing the name, it is often associated with a clown. I was working the register one night when a customer was paying with a $100 bill. Per policy, any bill over $20 was to be given to a manager, who would mark it with those pens whose ink detects counterfeit bills. The managers were the only ones with access to these pens.
I handed it to the manager on duty, who was a real loser, with whom hardly anyone got along. She barely glanced at it, and said, ‘It’s fine.’
‘Aren’t you supposed to mark it with the pen?’ I asked.
‘Just put it in your freaking drawer, already!’
So, I did. On my next shift, the night manager was counting my till. He found the hundred, marked it, and saw it was fake. When I told him what happened, he said it was on her, and not to worry.
After having the weekend off, I come in late the following Monday having slept through my alarm. When I got called to the general manager’s office, I figured I was going to get chewed out for being late. Nope. It was about my till being short a $100, due to the fake.
When I told him what happened, he called in the manager, and asked her. She lied and covered her butt by saying I never gave her the bill for verification. Being in a ‘right to work’ state, I was fired without question.”
The Consequence Of Standing Up For Your Customers
“I got fed up with scamming our customers and called out the area manager for it. It was a terrible fast food job at Taco Bell but, dang, man, people already assume you’re sub-human for working there, so I wasn’t going to give them a reason to believe it.
It was just messed up and, well, he was a piece of junk and one of the only bridges I never cared about burning. He immediately made up some lie about people complaining about me, which I knew was a lie since I heard him talk to the manager on duty asking, ‘What can we do about him?’ when going over the schedule.
I knew what was about to happen but, whatever. I was about to graduate and I figured my work ethic alone would ensure I wasn’t going to go long without a job. The general manager was peeved and he fired me but, oh well. The area manager got fired a few months later, then fired again from the new gig not long after.”