There are many different things a customer can do to make their server regret going into work that day. Waiters and waitresses tell what these customers did to be labeled as their worst table ever. Some even refused to ever wait on them again.
They Make Awful Comments, But The Worse Is When…
“My coworker and I were working at a pizza shop in college.
She was serving a large table of your typical frat guys and they are giving her a hard time from the start. They make gross comments and jokes, but they calm down after she gives them grief for it. However, when she is bringing the pizzas out to their table, one of them grabs her butt as she leans over to put it down. She immediately picks the pizza back up, walks to the nearest trash can and throws it away. Manager kicked them out after that.”
“He Grabs Her Wrist And Literally Will Not Let Her Walk Away”
“We had a family come in, 2 adults and 4 kids, thankfully I wasn’t serving them or I would have gone crazy. The father just spouts off the order for the whole table real quick then gets upset when she has to ask him to repeat something and keeps telling her how much of a hurry they are in. So then when she drops their food off the dad bows his head and begins to say grace, so the server starts to walk away. Oh no, apparently this would upset his God, so he grabs her wrist and literally will not let her walk away until he is done with his prayer. He actually grabbed her wrist so hard she had a bruise a couple days later. After all that nonsense he tipped her a card with a bible verse on it.”
“The Worst Group Of People I Have Ever Come In Contact With”
“Back when I was a server, I had a table of quite possibly the worst group of people I have ever come in contact with. It was about 8:45, but on a Sunday, so we were to close at 9. The restaurant was dead for hours, so the kitchen was completely clean, as the cooks were ready to leave immediately at 9 when we closed.
A group of 6 came in, 4 adults and 2 children. I was closing, so I was the only server on the floor, so I was the unfortunate soul who had to deal with them. I walked up and began to greet them, but was cut off, ‘Can we get six cokes?’ Not a good start.
Since they seemed to be in a hurry to eat, I take their order as soon as I could. It’s 9:15 now, so we were already supposed to be closed. These people order an epic amount of food, $310 worth. The kitchen was totally angry. They ordered enough for 18 at the table and the rest as take-out. When I took their order, they kept flipping back and forth about one dish in particular. At the end of their order, I asked the wife about the particular dish because she was the one who ordered it. She was very clear saying no, it wouldn’t be necessary.
The entire meal they had demand after demand. Three of them got a seafood dish and requested lemon slices. I had already cleared out fruit so I cut up 2 full lemons for them. When I returned, I was met with disappointment, saying they needed, ‘At least three times that much.’ Halfway through eating, the father asks me where his wife’s food is, the dish she made clear they didn’t need. So now I have to backpedal somehow. My manager ends up comping a bunch of things off their bill, due to ‘my mistake.’ Now they only owe about $250.
Finally, they were done, what a relief. I take their card and when I come back with the bill, they are already up making their way to the door. I rush to meet them, and the father takes the receipt and just signs it, doesn’t write in the total, nothing.
I stand there awestruck, and then he says, ‘Oh, I almost forgot to tip you. Do you have change for $100?’ It was a slow day, the only change I had was 5 $20’s. I hand him that, he counts them, and then slowly pulls one out, and says, ‘Thanks.’ 6% tip.
It’s 10:30 at this point, and now I get to clean up after these people. It was A MESS. I felt like I was cleaning up a 6-year-old’s birthday party. There was food everywhere. Better yet, they brought their own crayons for the kids to draw all over the table. Took me half an hour to just get that off the table. They also broke the centerpiece and the centerpiece of the table next to them, it was unreal.”
“The Woman Led Her Guests Into The Sealed Area And Ruined Everything For The Next Day’s Wedding”
“I worked in a big party venue as a server. We had this huge marquee so basically, we’d seal off bits so that they had the amount of room they needed without leaving loads of unused space.
We had a 40th birthday party that would finish at midnight and only since they were only having a buffet of sandwiches, we had staff in a closed off section of the marquee preparing tables for a 200 guest wedding the next day so we could just lay it out when these people left.
Midnight rolls around and it’s time for these people to leave, but the woman who arranged the party is going off that she booked till 12:30, my manager is nowhere to be found and I tell her, we literally only have a licence to serve until 12 so if someone told you 12:30 they lied.
There are 14 members of staff standing around waiting to clear this room so they can get the wedding tables out and go home. I tell the woman I’ll go and find the manager to sort it out. She follows me through the sealed bit of the marquee and I told her she couldn’t follow me. Well, she goes back to the room and starts going off. The other staff don’t know what to do, they just kind of clean up around all the guests. When my manager finally goes to speak to her it’s 12:30 and in the interest of not having to call the police lets them party till 12:45. So all the staff except for the bar, who are fairly annoyed, go off to go smoke or have a ten-minute break.
When the bar staff started packing up the woman led all her guests into the sealed part of the marquee and ruined the tables for the next day’s wedding. We had to stay until 4 am to fix the tables and me and two others stayed to re-write all the place cards they ripped up. They broke nearly 50 Prosecco glasses. Cost the venue a fortune and I’m not sure they ever managed to get the money back. The manager should have been there to stop them doing anything like that instead of going in his office.”
“This Regular Has Quite The Reputation”
“I work at a popular seafood chain restaurant. The worst is one I actually haven’t waited on myself, but he’s a regular who comes in about once a month that has quite the reputation.
The man is about 65-years-old and white. He usually comes in a weeknight dinner shift with his disconcertingly quiet wife, and is also a former preacher (or at least claims to be). The whole time this guy is in the restaurant, he belittles his wife for being stupid and the server for whatever perceived slights he can conjure up. With female servers, he also can get pretty creepy/handsy. After one server politely declined his advances (which weren’t concealed from his wife in any way) by saying she had a boyfriend and kids, the guy got angry because she had children out of wedlock and that the kids were mixed.
He is not allowed to have female waitresses anymore, but management hasn’t banned him yet. Too many other fires to put out (my store is messed up). One of the worst human beings I’ve ever met, definitely the worst customer. He goes way beyond the usual entitled, stupid, and angry qualities of typical bad guest behavior and right into the domain of prejudice, predation, and likely, abuse of his family.”
“I’m Still Angry Remembering It”
“Worked in an Irish restaurant that would occasionally have entertainment in the dining room – quiet acoustic music, that type of thing. They had a standing yearly ‘reservation’ with a local Irish dance company, where we would clear a space for the kiddos, they could do a little performance, and their parents would have the nearby tables reserved so they could watch. Our customers loved this type of thing, and it brought money in the form of the parents/grandparents which I guess is why the managers never broke it off even though we begged every year.
It was always a mess. It was booked as a standard reservation with a bit of extra accommodation, and they treated the place like they’d rented it out. All the restrooms became dressing rooms. The back dining room where the stage was always got rearranged by soccer moms, who would dump their enormous duffels on the tables we actually reserved for them and use the unreserved dining area (often with completely unrelated customers seated in it) as a mingling area. Groups would sit at tables, order, get up, leave, and sit elsewhere in someone else’s section mid meal. It was like they expected their tab to follow them around like a little dog, magically knowing who they were paying for regardless of whether their family was scattered over five tables and sections. These were wealthy people, they know how restaurants work, they were just losers. One woman got huffy with me for refusing to find her daughter based on a physical description and make sure that she’d ordered food and if not to take her order, saying she ‘is probably just outside or in the other room.’
I’m still angry remembering it.”
“She’s Shouting At The Top Of Her Lungs”
“I have been serving and bartending for over 9 years, so I’ve seen it all. About 2 years ago I was serving in an Alehouse that was a popular spot for business lunches, especially with government officials. I know the type as soon as they sit down, and I know the drill. Greet, round of waters or tea, immediately put in order, drop food, pick up food, and drop check at the same time. No interaction, unless they extend it first.
Well an older, say 60+ woman (so dubbed plate lady, PL) comes in with another woman, who was probably in her 40s. I start to say ‘Hi, my name is-‘, and immediately PL interrupts me and says ‘TWO WATERS, NO ICE, NO LEMON. TWO CRAB CAKE SANDWICHES, BOTH WITH FRIES.’ And then turns away from me and carries on her conversation. Well that’s a weird way to say my name, but sure, why not. I put in the orders and drop the waters and promptly ignore them. Someone else runs the food so I approach the table to check on them and PL practically shouts at me before I even say anything, ‘CAN YOU NOT SEE WE ARE TALKING?? SHOO!’ Alright, sure, glad the food is satisfactory.
I thought they would have the typical quick business lunch and would want to get out of there and back to the office, so once I see their plates are empty, PL even had her napkin on the plate, I approach to clear their dishes, silly me. I slightly bent down and extended my arm, barely touching PL’s plate and said ‘Sorry to interrupt, may I clear this for you?’ PL reacted as if I told her the only payment we accepted was for her to give every cook in the kitchen a lap dance. She shouted ‘WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU TAKE MY PLATE? CAN YOU NOT SEE SHE ISN’T FINISHED? WERE YOU NEVER TAUGHT MANNERS???’ I look at her companion’s dish, and there are maybe three fries left. She tries to push me her plate, but PL insists she takes her time and not let ‘the help’ rush her.
So I leave and walk to the servers station, only to hear her shouting at the top of her lungs a few moments later. My manager turns the corner into the servers station looking shocked and says ‘Wow, what’s her deal? Who has table 52??? I just tried to clear her plate and she freaked!’ As I’m filling her in, I hear PL shout again, this time with a string of expletives. A moment later, our 15-year-old busser runs into the service station pale and terrified. He also tried to clear the plates.
I fill in the rest of the servers not to approach them, and I just completely ignore them, casually standing at the end of the bar, so they can see me, and I can see their waters are near empty and the fries long gone. After about 20 minutes, PL starts snapping wildly around her trying to get anyone’s attention, but the servers all steer clear. I calmly approach with a smile, and PL starts shouting about what does it take to get her plates cleared? Can’t I see that they’ve been finished for half an hour? I smile and clear the plates, and say, ‘Ma’am, I was under the impression you wanted to take your time. No rush, but here is your check.’ I placed it on the table and walked away. She paid pretty quickly and huffed out of the restaurant, no tip of course. The younger woman walked passed me on her way out and shrugged her shoulders as if in apology. I just looked at her and said, ‘No, I’m sorry for you.’ They would come in every once in awhile and the servers started a system with who had to deal with them based on who owed who a favor, or who came in late last, who owed who a drink, etc. Luckily they refused me as a server again, so I never had to deal with them.”
“They Were The First Table That Ever Made Me Cry”
“I had a table of 22 one night. They were the first table that ever made me cry. They were so rude to me. One lady’s pasta came out wrong because she ordered improperly (she said chicken but meant shrimp) and she was very loud in telling me she wanted it fixed. When I returned with it, she decided she didn’t want it anymore. So I took it back and had to have both pastas removed from her ticket. She insisted her drink was also free for her inconvenience. As this was happening, several people wanted extra ranch dressings, refills, and one lady had yet to receive her mixed drink because the bar was so backed up that night. As they were telling me they wanted us to do the birthday song, a lady looked at me and said, ‘You realize you’re not getting a tip right?’ Their check was over $500 and as a server, I have to take a certain percentage of my sales out of my tips for the tip share, so I was about to lose $20 of my money for the night. I could not handle it. I found myself in the back crying. The managers stopped me and pulled me to the back to calm me down. We sang the birthday song (literally sang for them after they made me cry) and tried to get them out as soon as possible. Because there were so many of them and their tickets got mixed up I didn’t even realize that half the table walked out on me.
That was a bad night but seriously improved me as a server and a person in general.”
“She Literally Reached Over, Put Her Hand In My Face And Snapped Her Fingers”
“The whole table itself wasn’t that bad, but who I assume was the mom of the family was one of the worst customers I have ever had. I was taking the order of the table next to the one they were sitting and she literally reached over and put her hand in my face and snapped her fingers and said, ‘We need more chips.’ It took a lot of self-control not to smack her hand out of her face but I calmly said, ‘Okay one moment please ma’am, let me finish writing this table’s order down’ and she responded with, ‘Well we need water too.’ Then gave me that ‘what are you doing’ hand gesture that people do when they’re driving. They still had half a basket of chips and plenty of water. She, of course, had a million modifications to the plate she ordered and sent it back twice for very petty reasons. Drank about 3/4 of her margarita and then sent it back saying she didn’t like it. Demanded I comp their whole bill because of having to send her meal and drink back. We ended up only comping her meal, then she paid with cash and rolled her eyes and shook her head when I told her I only have $1s and no bigger bills, and of course, didn’t tip. The whole time they were there she just made snarky comments and had an attitude with me even though I was giving them really good service trying to please her. They stayed for 3 hours taking up a table I could have been making money from, but at least her family was obviously embarrassed.”
“She Asked If She Could Get Him Anything Else And The Loser Told Her…”
“Girlfriend was a waitress, shortly after I met her back in 2007. Came home angry, and we were talking and I asked her what was wrong. Told me about a customer who she’d been serving who was staring at her chest and butt, which I thought was sleazy but not that bad – started to tell her, ‘You’re cute, it happens-‘ but she cut me off and got to the really bad part.
After she’d brought out the meal and asked if she could get him anything else, loser told her she ‘could get on her knees under the table.’ Now you gotta know my girl. Humble, modest, doesn’t like attention, generally quiet and happy and smiley. Drops the check, hands on her hips and yells at the top of her lungs.
Restaurant was a small family owned operation. Place was actually pretty hard on servers, old-school ‘customer is always right’ mentality. She thought she was going to get fired. Her supervisor, an older lady, took her off after the outburst and asked what happened. After she heard, she went out and told the man to leave. Did not ask. Told. Didn’t even give him a chance to pay or apologize, just out, immediately.
I was so proud of both of them that day.”
“He Was Making A Scene On Purpose”
“A few years ago at a conference, a co-worker and I went out to dinner with colleagues who worked at other organizations. We knew them from the yearly conferences and regional meetings but didn’t know them well. Dinner was lovely, great service — until someone asked if we could get separate checks. Our server said no; she was nice about it but said it wasn’t something she could do. The husband of one of our colleagues, who I suddenly noticed had consumed a lot of drinks, strenuously objected to this. He loudly started complaining about it, talking about how they’d dined all over the world and they’d never had a restaurant refuse to split up checks. He was making a scene on purpose, getting other diners to look over, saying he’d never had such horrible service. The server pointed out that some people had ordered appetizers for the table and some had split bottles of bubbly and she had no guidance in how to parse those things at this point on a busy night.
I have no idea how hard that really is, but I thought she was adequately reasonable and apologetic and we were grown adults who could make it work. Except this guy was not going to let it go.
There was the ‘I am going to talk to your manager’ threat and all that other junk, but the server prevailed. And once she brought the check, this guy told the rest of us that he’d pay by credit card if we just gave cash. And I knew, I just knew he was determined to stiff the server and he’d probably pocket our tip money to achieve that, making him a thief as well as a loser.
It was super awkward; she was fighting back tears as a result of his behavior. As the group was leaving, my coworker and I feigned interest in the game on the TV in the bar so we could talk to the server without him there. Even then he was eying us, suspicious, worried we’d interfere with the justice he was trying to mete out. We waited him out, made sure she was tipped, made sure the bartender knew the story and left our cards to follow up, in case Mr. Wasted Guy wrote a wildly exaggerated letter later to try to get her in trouble.
I never wanted to be THAT table at a restaurant, but this dude put us there.”
“Everything Went Spiraling Out Of Control”
“I was graced with a party of eight on a very, very slow day. This is pretty much a blessing when you aren’t making any money as is. All started off well, maybe even great. Everyone ordered drinks which was awesome, got the check up to almost $70 right off the bat. That’s the best it got because immediately after the drinks everything went spiraling out of control. Everyone had some sort of particular allergy or general dislike of almost every item on the menu. We have over 180 different freaking things on our menu, pick one, it’s really simple. So after taking eight overly complex orders and explaining everything to the kitchen, I go back to see how they are with their drinks. Apparently not great since every glass had one sip taken out of it. Suddenly they’re complaining to me that the drinks they requested aren’t the drinks that they got. It was, and I could have given them turpentine and I doubt they would ever know the difference. So we remake every single drink. Finally out comes the custom orders. And of course, everything is wrong. But worry not, they were going to eat it anyway because they didn’t want to wait. And they ate it, every last scrap on the dang plate, but they hated it, and they made that nice and clear. Finally, after I dropped the check I get informed that they want eight separate checks. Oh yeah, exactly what I wanted to do, go back and try and figure all that out. So I drop the eight checks, they pay the exact amount and leave no tip. The best part, they unscrewed the salt shaker, took the top, and emptied the whole thing on my table. Thanks to those people for wasting my time and money. I got stuck at work for over an hour after I got cut to cater to that nonsense.”
“I Was Initially Excited And Star Struck, But Boy Was I Wrong”
“I waited on Tommy Hearns, the middleweight boxing champion back in the day. This was when it was way past his prime, but he was still somewhat known as a local celebrity whenever he came through. He came with his wife and two kids. I was initially excited and semi star struck because dude, that’s a boxing champion I’m waiting on! How cool!!!!!!! Boy was I wrong. Not only was he rude, his kids were spoiled brats, and his wife was no lady either. Fine, whatever, I’ve had rude customers before, just suck it up and give them great service right? They never addressed me like I was a person. I smiled and just tried to be as polite as possible. Didn’t matter, I was a piece of dog turd. He never even looked me in the eye when talking to me. And OMG were they needy! Nothing was good enough, they always wanted something that we didn’t have, and as soon as I walked away from dropping whatever it was I was dropping off, they wanted something else. And those kids, mind you, I understand that kids make messes, but holy cow, they destroyed my section and made me feel like an indentured servant for a better portion of the last hour or so.The worst part was he tipped awful, $3 on a $75 check (It would have been more but the owner comped him a bunch of stuff for free). Thank God I was done with school a few months after that and didn’t have to wait tables anymore. Literally the worst table I’ve ever had. You suck Tommy Hearns, you’re cheap and rude you piece of garbage of a human being.”
“The Son With The Burrito Suddenly Screams And…”
“I used to work as a cashier at El Pollo Loco and one time a family of 5 from Hawaii came in, and from what I gathered they had just flown in. I took their order, which was basically a burrito each and 20 pieces of dark meat no thighs (wings). The woman ordering proceeded to tell me about how her aunt died eating a chicken thigh from choking on a bone. That sucks, I thought. Well, the son spoke up and asked if the burrito he ordered (poblano) was spicy, and I said it was mild. They went to their table and picked up the food no problem. The scene that followed made me understand how someone could choke on a chicken bone easily. They tore through the wings in less than a minute and threw shreds of bone and spat chunks of gristle on the table and floor. Dirty napkins marked a 10-foot radius around their table. Soda ran freely down chins and across the floor. As I grab the broom and bucket to start cleaning the periphery, the son with the poblano burrito suddenly screams and throws the whole burrito on the floor after taking a bite. He rushes outside crying and starts puffing on a smoke. I immediately go over and sweep up the burrito, apologizing to the family and asking if there was anything I could do. None of them answer and continue throwing trash on the floor even while I crouch to sweep up the green goo of poblano chicken from the floor. To this day I have no clue what the happened, all I know is I hated cleaning up after those pigs.”
“I Have Never Heard Of A Party Of This Size Coming Into A Restaurant Without A Reservation”
“At the time I was relatively new at waiting, like less than 2 weeks serving by myself after 2 days of training when we had a few people walk in the door. I go to seat them and they say party of eight-MUMBLE. I ask for clarity and they repeat eighty-four (again mumble), so I ask again and finally they all but yell eighty-four! I have never heard of a party of this size coming into a restaurant without a reservation (not that our restaurant did reservations). So I go to find my manager because I don’t even have a clue how to handle a party of that size. We finally get everyone sat, my manager has me start at one end of the restaurant and her at the other because this party pretty much filled the whole place. She has me do orders by table and put them in every table so that the kitchen doesn’t have 84 dishes dropped on it simultaneously. Eventually, everything comes out but people are furious. ‘Why aren’t we all getting our food at the same time, why do they have food and we’re still waiting on our salads?’ Now mind you there were exactly 3 people in the store: manager, cook, and me. Long story short, everybody finally gets their food, they eat and go to pay, and now they’re complaining about the price and the auto-tip that the manager added to the group (they had said they didn’t want separate checks). Gotta love those party of x or more get auto-gratuity. She ended up discounting the bill a bit, maybe $20, and she threw me a $20 out of the till as a bonus. But seriously, who in the world just walks into a restaurant with a group of 84 and demands everyone gets served simultaneously?”
“They Were Regulars So I Knew I’d See Them Again”
“I once waited on a bitter old couple who really tried hard to ruin my day. We were slammed that day and when his appetizer wasn’t out in the 5 minutes he waited, he started going around complaining to the staff and telling them I was an idiot.
But it didn’t stop there. After I left the check with them they walked out. My restaurant had a policy that the money lost was deducted from the waiters paycheck. So I was angry but they were regulars so I knew I’d see them again. The next week when I saw them I brought this to their attention and the man immediately went to my manager and told him I was lying and stole the money. Fortunately, my manager believed me, so I didn’t get fired (though I lost money). I told him I’d never wait on that couple again.”
“I Just Let Them Go And Called The Police”
“When I was a waitress I had a large table, 7 adults, all of whom only spoke French except the one lone female. Her English was not very good, but to be honest living near Quebec this isn’t unusual and doesn’t bother me. But this table started ordering multiple large items per person with drinks and started dumping syrup, smearing butter, and even lipstick onto the table. They did a lot of other things, and when I left the bill, they got up and left, pushing me out of the way. Now this whole time I played nice just because it was the easiest thing to do, but when they dined and dashed (it was late night and there was only me and the small cook in the back) I just let them go and called the police. The police came very fast, and when they came I noticed only one car pulled in and multiple others sped towards the highway with their lights on. Turns out they were bank robbers or something of the like from Montreal, were wanted and very hot on the police radar because of a bunch of robberies the past few days in between my area and Montreal in the past 24 hours. My employer, of course, did not make me pay for the stolen food, and I never heard that they caught the group. They were just a bunch of losers. I think it’s kind of funny though because if they had just paid for their food I would not have had to call the cops, and they would have went by my town unnoticed, but oh well, just a bunch of mean and stupid criminals in my opinion.”
“She Ran Into The Kitchen And Had A Nervous Breakdown, Screaming, Wailing, Crying”
“So, in 2004 I worked at Red Lobster. This poor waitress I worked with she had been serving for a few years. She had a 20 top, it was her only table the whole shift. They disrespected her every chance they could. Called her inappropriate nicknames, ordered her around, and were generally demeaning. The check was $600 plus a $120 gratuity. The host of the party asked to speak to the manager. She said, ‘I didn’t order no ‘gravity’! What’s this ‘gravity’?’ The manager responded what it was, and the host said she wasn’t going to pay it. At that exact moment, one of the other patrons at the table stood up and said, ‘I got the tip y’all’ and slammed down a $5 bill on the table. Everyone laughed but were also serious. Tears welled up in the server’s eyes, as for the last two hours, she basically worked for less than minimum wage as tips are averaged for the week. She ran into the kitchen and had a nervous breakdown, screaming, wailing, crying. It was really really bad. We actually took up a collection from the staff, everyone gave her $3 (which she has to tip out based on gross sales not on tips) so with the $30 we gave her, she basically tipped out the bar and bussers and was left broke. It was the worst nervous breakdown I have ever witnessed.”
“The Guy Asks For My Number”
“It was a super busy Saturday night. I work at a sports bar, and UFC ‘fight nights’ can get pretty crazy. On one of these nights, I had two guys, one was about 20 and the other guy must have been his father. They got extremely upset because their food was taking 20 minutes. Again, this was a busy Saturday night and the restaurant was nearly at full capacity. At that point, they were lucky their food didn’t take 45 minutes. So after complaining to me about how long their food took, the younger one demanded a discount for the long wait (which the manager refused). After dropping off their check, the guy asks for my number. When I said no, he got mad and told me that he would’ve given me a good tip if I just gave him a chance to get to know me. I pointed to my (fake) engagement ring and explained that I’m engaged and not interested in ruining that for anyone in the world. What I really wanted to say was that I’m really not into cheap guys who want a discount for a petty reason, especially if the check was only $26 to begin with.”
“My Section Was A Disaster Area”
“I worked in a tex-mex restaurant when I was about 20. The worst table I ever had was a 20-top. When the reservation was made and I was given the table I was thinking cool, I’ll probably make pretty good money off this table.
They show up and it’s a birthday party with 6 parents and 14 little (~5-year-old) kids.
Kids plates were like 1/3 of the price of adult plates. So I worked my butt off trying to keep everyone happy but made next to no money as the parents only ‘tipped’ the mandatory 15% tip that was included in the price.
Once they were done my section was a disaster area. Rice everywhere, stuff smeared on the tables, etc.”