Ever go to a restaurant so bad that you can't even dare to go back again? Well, the folks in these stories certainly have! These diners share their worst experiences ever while eating out.
An Experience Worth Every Dollar
“I was in Vegas for a convention. It was my first time spearheading a convention for a big client and I was understandably nervous. And frankly, I was going a bit overboard.
I wore my best suit, got a great haircut, and caught a flight out.
First thing when I land, I grab a cab and call up to make a lunch reservation at a restaurant attached to the hotel/convention center conglomerate thing because I knew I’d need a spot for a lunch meeting.
First half of the show goes really well. Clients are happy, my boss is happy, I’m still nervous but I’m pretty happy. We break away for that meeting, and I lead everyone off to the lunch spot.
We get there and the place is only maybe at half-capacity. Not terribly surprising, since I’d assume many people eat at the Casino buffet… and this is pretty well confirmed by the fact that everyone eating in the place is dressed in business attire.
I give the name of the reservation and we get seated.
My first warning should have been that there’s no silverware.
Okay, maybe they just bussed the table. We ponder this for a full minute before a guy rushes by and blurts out that he’s our waiter and will be right with us. Doesn’t stop, doesn’t give us menus, goes running over to a table entirely full of Business Bro’s. The sorts of guys who actively try and look like the cast of The Boiler Room. He’s fake-laughing with them, shmoozing for a better tip. Each and every one of them is done eating, most are even done with their drinks, so this kid is hovering like a vulture for them to get to signing their check and give him a fat reward for his sucking up.
Ten minutes go by. Still nothing. Fifteen.
Our waiter runs by and I try and stop him. He does a spin-maneuver like a wide receiver with the ball to avoid me. I’m honestly floored, and the clients start to make noises.
On his way back I’m turned around in my seat giving my best ‘I will not be ignored’ look and he says ‘one more minute!’ He says it angrily, like I’m a prick.
Five minutes later someone comes out of the kitchen in whites to drop off our silverware (missing two settings) and two menus. For a group of six. And no napkins. I don’t blame him, he clearly got roped into this, but seriously?
So we looked things over and we’ve now been waiting for more than 25 minutes. We have no water, we have no order in, we don’t have enough menus. I’m getting angrier and angrier (plus I haven’t eaten all day, so my brain is screaming bloody murder for sugar and protein). Our clients are obviously getting ticked, and I’m afraid I’m making the company look bad.
So we get up. I help the ladies with their things, and for the first time we get noticed. The kid breaks from the group he’s been schmoozing and literally runs over to us to block our egress. He plasters on a grin and says ‘can I help you?’
I simply said ‘no.’ and directed my clients out. The sever waves and signals… at first I thought he was gesturing us out.
Then I see who’s got to be the manager of the place waiting by the hostess’ desk. The manager blocks me, but he’s only one guy. I turn politely as I can to my clients and tell them to go on ahead… I’ll settle up here. I’ll be chivalrous.
The manager is red in the face, and obviously trying to hold himself back from yelling at someone. He asks through gritted teeth ‘was there something wrong with the service?’
As flatly, and evenly as I can, I say ‘there was no service. So we’re going to another restaurant. Excuse me.’
I turn and head for the door and he shouts ‘Good, get the heck out of my restaurant you little runt.’
Now, I may be young at this point (which is likely why the employees of this restaurant thought they could get away with this). But I’m wearing a tailored suit and leading six very, very well dressed clients around. And my clients may be all women (which I think was also why they ignored us). But they’re clients with accents and clothing that’s expensive even by Vegas standards. We are obviously here for a convention… one happening in his building… and we’re obviously here to spend money.
So I stop, and turn to look at this guy fuming at me. I smile, pull out my cellphone, and call our booking agent back at the office.
‘Hi, Alice? Yea, this is El Chupacupcake. I need a favor: Can you to pull us, the client, everyone out of the hotel? Yup, everyone. I’m really sorry to do this to you, but I need it now. Yup, all 300 blocks. This is Vegas, I’m sure there are vacancies elsewhere and they’ll be happy to take us.’
The manager’s face drops and goes white as a sheet. He starts stammering and sputtering. I thank my agent and close my phone with a satisfying snap.
I then walk out, while he’s following me down the hallway, shouting for me to come back. This has all been a terrible misunderstanding and we can work this out. He’ll even pay for the first round of drinks if we all come back and sit down.
The clients get to watch me walk back, like I’m the hero not looking at the explosion behind him… and I go from being the guy who couldn’t get bread delivered to the table, to the guy who brought a manager groveling after him.
We paid extra to have the second hotel staff come in and pick up all our bags in person from the first. I tipped them well for the spectacle.
It was worth every dollar.”
Okay, Well That’s Messed Up
“Some lady thought I didn’t need to diet. I spent the rest of the morning vomiting.
I’m lactose intolerant, so I generally get almond or soy milk in my coffee. I went to a coffee shop in South Carolina, ordered a latte with almond milk, and sat down with my friend. About halfway through the drink, I started to feel UHHH bad. I speed walked to the bathroom, frantically asked for the code, and spent like 20 minutes throwing up in a public bathroom.
It definitely wasn’t my first time around, but I wasn’t having a great time. I didn’t suspect anything malicious, so I walked out, grabbed my friend, and headed towards the exit. A barista stopped me and asked if I had a dairy allergy.
She explained that her coworker had assumed I was on some silly diet and subbed my almond milk for whole milk.
Luckily, it was just an intolerance. I was frustrated and sick, but everything turned out fine. I also have a severe tree-nut allergy. If she’d switched out my milk for walnut milk instead of dairy, I might have been hospitalized.
I’ve been in food service for a long time, and I’ve had coworkers joke about messing up customers’ food.
Recently, I ended up on the opposite side of the counter: some skinny lady ordered a latte with sugar-free syrup. She wasn’t very nice about it, and my coworker was grumbling about putting real sugar in her drink and letting her put on a pound.
It is absolutely never okay to lie to someone about what they are eating. People have different reasons for avoiding foods, and they shouldn’t have to disclose personal information in order to be taken seriously.
Someone may be following halal or kosher and not feel comfortable disclosing their religious status. Someone may be diabetic. They might have a sensory issue with certain textures.
They may have a severe allergy or intolerance. They might be in recovery from an eating disorder. They might have any of a host of medical issues that limit diet.
Or they may just not like a certain food.
It doesn’t matter why they don’t want to eat something and they shouldn’t have to tell someone. Serving people food means that they’re trusting you.”
Completely Uncalled For!
“My husband and I went to a sushi restaurant we frequented.
Our server was a younger asian fellow, with spiked up, oddly colored hair, and a detached disposition.
After we had been seated with our menus (by the hostess) for about two minutes, he came to our table and said ‘What do you want?’
We told him we needed more time, so he came back in another two minutes. We knew what we wanted by then, so we just ordered.
Our food came and we ate. He did not come back to the table to refill our drinks or see how we were doing. Not once.
When we finished, he brought the bill, set it on the table, and stood there. RIGHT THERE. My husband and I looked at him, at each other, at him again, and then my husband said ‘Uh, can we have a minute?’
‘Okay’ said the server before taking a single step back from the edge of our table and proceeding to stand in wait again.
We gave the card, and when he returned with the slip repeated the same. We asked him to give us time, and again, he took a step from the table, waiting for us to fill out the receipt. We felt strongly that he was trying to bully us into tipping more by watching us fill out the tip line.
I got up from the table and went and spoke to a manager. Upon seeing this, our server went to the back of the house. As I was speaking with the manager about how bad the service was, another server overheard and chimed in that he was terrible and had no business being in a service industry.
I returned to our table, retrieved my husband who had rightly left no tip, and proceeded to walk out. As we made our way to the door the server walked by (having seen the credit card slip) and said ‘You horrible cheapskates!’ I turned on my heels and immediately screeched ‘EXCUSE ME?!?’ but he was already retreating into the back like a coward.
I turned and looked at the now horrified manager, who had witnessed the whole ordeal. The other manager chimed in and told us that the server was ‘done’.
They gave us a refund on our meal, a discount for our next meal, and I never saw him there again. Every single time we went after that we had the BEST service possible. Doesn’t hurt that we are excellent tippers-provided the service doesn’t monumentally suck.
As a fun side note, the awesome manager and I became friends, and occasionally email recipes from time to time.”
A Positively Cursed McDonalds
This was a McDonald’s with one of those play areas. I predicted that when I went inside, it would be complete chaos, with kids running around and screaming. So I got my ushanka, which is great at muffling noise, and gathered all my courage.
I opened the door.
To my surprise, there was no screaming. I walk up to the counter and the lady says to me, “Let me guess sweetie, you want a happy meal?”
I say, “No, actually I will take a number two, seven, and also a salad.”
She had the most surprised look on her face.
She told me that I was the first kid who asked for something other than a happy meal in a WHOLE ENTIRE WEEK.
When I finished eating, I was curious why there were no children in the play area, so I went out to investigate.
There was a shirtless, hairy-chested grown man in the ball pit.
I politely asked my parents if we could leave the place.
They said no.
All I could do for the next 15 minutes was look over at the ball bit, questioning everything…
Eventually, my mom looked over, wondering what I was staring at.
She saw him.
He woke up and started to walk to the exit. At this moment my mom grabbed my arm and led me to the car, running as fast as she could.
We all got in, my dad not knowing what was going on.
“Drive.” said my mom.
I never went anywhere near that McDonald’s ever again.
If This Happens To You In Italy…RUN
“We got scammed at a fake restaurant in Bologna. I can’t believe we fell for it.
The place got me by looking all bohemian and rustic, so of course, you think it’s a local place right? Plus it was off the beaten track. Usually, these traps are right in a major tourist area. Since it’s right outside our bed and breakfast, I make a reservation. I should have known something was up when he wanted a deposit.
If this happens to you in Italy, run, don’t walk, towards the door.
He’s afraid that you will hear the truth about the restaurant when you tell someone you are going there and that you won’t come for dinner. Second warning sign – no prices anywhere. You are going to get hit with the idiot tax. And we did. Frozen entrees and old shellfish. I had the scariest spaghetti vongole ever – I swear the garlic was piled on to hide the stench of rotting seafood. My husband had an obviously frozen vegetable lasagna.
The veggies for everything, including the antipasti, must have been weeks old. The portions were huge and very, very bad. The waiters are sweet as pie because they know it’s harder for you to complain when you are given a free drink here, a little extra dessert there. They know that you are on vacation and don’t want to cause a scene in a country where you don’t know the rules, and plus, you don’t want to ruin such a nice evening. Oh yeah, they ‘don’t speak English.’
Then you get the bill. It’s going to be double or triple any other place. Maybe quadruple. And there is nothing you can do. They may be getting their food from an illegal source, and you know that they are cheating on their taxes and relying on bribes to keep operating. So the police might even be on their side. You just pay that idiot tax and write a scathing review on Trip Advisor hoping that helps someone else.”
Don’t Get Into This Guy’s Personal Space
“One time I went out for dinner at a steak place in America, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and I was with my wife.
I was wearing my Desert Storm ‘chocolate chips camouflage’ field jacket, and my Navy dog tags hanging outside from my neck with the rubber noise bands around them, with blue jeans pants.
I have to go to the bathroom…but I figure ‘we’ll get our drinks down and get our order and then I’ll go to the bathroom.’
So we go in and sit in a relatively big wrap-around booth…and this server girl violates all protocol by walking up, sitting down in the booth, and she SLIDES CLOSER to snuggle up to me…
She sits ‘right’ next to me in the booth… like she’s my girlfriend or something… she’s got two feet to the right where she could sit at the edge of the booth, or she could stand, as servers normally do.
I can feel her body heat on my side through her clothes…while my wife is across the table.
And I said, (politely) ‘ I want to make this very clear, you sitting right next to me while taking our order is quite inappropriate, and makes me uncomfortable…and you’re violating my personal space because I don’t know you. Please stand up, and give me space.’
So she says… ‘No, it’s okay…because my feet are really tired… and (flirty voice) most men would be very happy to have a pretty girl sitting next to them.’
And I said, ‘I’m not going to evaluate whether you’re pretty or not… but… (and I leaned in really close- like the way a drill sergeant does with a Marine Recruit who doesn’t have a clue)…I know she’s going to be able to smell my breath…
In my low, scratchy voice, I say very quietly:
‘I’m a recently returned combat veteran from the Middle East, and you’re in my space. I’ve told you already, and I’m not going to say it again, because now it’s getting personal. Stand up.’
And she says, ‘I don’t want it to become personal…’ and then she sets her tone like she’s innocent… and batting her eyelashes I mean literally batting her eyelashes, she says ‘Can I take your order?’
And I said ‘Move. NOW.’
And I can’t… and I cannot believe to this day that people are so rude, or either stupid or manipulative or whatever… but she said ‘Or what?’ (like she’s really spoiling for a fight so she can sue me or something.)
So I see the manager out of the corner of my eye… he is approaching with a worried look…
I say, ‘Move! or I’m going to pee all over you! Because I have to go to the bathroom! I already asked you to stand up! then I told you to stand up! Get the heck out of my way!’
She says, (and I still cannot believe this also) she says, ‘How dare you!’
The manager arrives and puts a hand on her shoulder, he says, quiet and commanding, ‘Det up. now.’
She turns to him and says, ‘Don’t touch me.’
He says, ‘Get up, now. I’m not going to tell you again.’ he looks at me, and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir.’
So it was very cool…he stands with this like an actor’s stage motion and flourishes with his hand… and makes this elegant gesture… like ‘The way has been cleared for you to walk down the aisle, princess.’
So she stands up, and says ‘I’m going to sue you for assault and workplace harassment.’
He says, ‘Knock yourself out, there are cameras everywhere, I was watching from the office, this man is obviously some sort of military veteran and I’m assuming because of the way that he’s dressed, that he’s proud of his service, that he has some awards or medals… (he looks at me) ‘Am I right?’
And I say ( as I get up to go to the bathroom) ‘Yes, a few.’
And as I’m walking to the bathroom I can hear ‘…So he’s a much more credible witness than you are, and you’re fired. You have five minutes to clean out your locker and exit the premises before I call the sheriff.’
And she says, ‘You have to give me notice.’
‘Four minutes,’ he replies.
At this point my wife gets up and she comes to the female restroom.
‘What do you want to do?’ she asks.
And I said ‘Let’s just wait here in case the police arrive… they’re going to need a witness that this guy didn’t assault her…plus the cameras, Etc.’
So they’re still arguing…which was her yelling, and him saying ‘Three minutes.’
So finally she takes her little server apron off and throws it in his face, which he catches.
And so right there I’m thinking this definitely is ‘assault.’
So she goes into her locker and walks out of the door.
And so we approach this guy after a few minutes… seeing that she’s not going to come back…
‘I’m very, very, sorry. We had problems before with her… but I thought it was a one-off thing,’ he says. ‘I’ll give you both a free meal… anything you want completely on the house.’
‘No. just guarantee me one thing,’ I say
‘What’s that?’ he asks.
‘That she never works here again,’ I respond.
‘Done, obviously,’ he says.
And so he took our order personally and became our waiter for the meal.
Made sure everything was cooked perfectly… and at the end, he excused the bill and said ‘No, this is on me.’
I didn’t want to argue with him…because he had been so nice… and I could save $35. So I thanked him very much and I said ‘You have built goodwill between us, and shown true leadership.’
And then that became one of our regular steak places. Eventually, he left to become a regional manager.”
Remain Calm…The Vom Has Been Contained
‘My wife and I hadn’t been on a date for quite a while, so we were kind of pumped to finally have time together. My wife asked me where I would like to go for dinner, and me being a simple gal, I chose Olive Garden. (LOVE THEIR SALAD)
We were promptly seated and we ordered our food shortly after. We had just begun eating our salad and breadsticks when a 5-year-old boy, easily 150+ pounds, walked halfway to our table, stopped, and proceeded to projectile vomit all over the floor and the empty table beside us. I just sat there in shock, while my wife is about to lose her dang mind. The kid’s mother quickly led him towards the bathrooms to get him cleaned up.
Two waitresses come out with a broom and dustpan, almost immediately. I think ‘oh good, a speedy cleanup’… WRONG. These trifling waitresses sweep the vomit into a pile and put a yellow wet floor sign over it and walk away. I sat there in literal disbelief. It sat there for 10–15 minutes before I finally had enough and went to find our waitress. I told her what happened and her response was ‘the throw-up is contained. We don’t have any extra hands right now to pick it up. We will get someone to pick it up when the restaurant starts thinning out.’
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! I explained to her that this was disgusting and it was right by our table. We could smell it!! By this point, my wife is dry-heaving and has lost her appetite. I walk over to the front of the restaurant and ask for a manager. The hostess sucks her teeth at me and reluctantly goes to fetch the manager. When the manager finally emerges, I explain to him what was going on. It amazes me that he doesn’t already know. He looks at me and asks ‘what would you like for me to do?’ Uh, I don’t know, maybe clean it up?
The waitstaff is still walking around serving tables as nothing has happened. The manager leads me back to my table, moves our seating to the back of the restaurant, and comps our meals. We waited 20 minutes for our meals to come out and requested to-go boxes. As we walked out of the restaurant, we noticed that the sign and throw-up are still sitting on the floor, and people are still eating like everything was normal.
We haven’t been back, and this was four years ago.’
Ah Yes. Food Poisoning For Dinner!
“I ordered a cheddar-stuffed cheeseburger for lunch at a sports bar/restaurant in Indianapolis. I was intrigued because I’ve tried fixing this type of burger before, but the cheese always runs out and the whole burger gets ruined.
The burger comes out and the first thing I notice is that it’s shaped more like a meatball than a burger patty. The entire burger was at least 4 or 5″ tall. I take a bite and… no cheese. There’s just this big, hollow, golf-ball-size spot in the middle where I assume cheese once resided. Oh well, I figure I still have a burger I can eat, even though it’s not the cheesy meat pinata I’d been hoping for.
I take two more bites and I notice that there are bits of pink meat spread out in weird spots in the meat. Usually, the center or one side will be a little pink, but there were 4 or 5 1cm bits of pink spread out through the whole thing. I have no idea how they accomplished that, unless some of it was frozen.
I ask the waiter what’s going on with this burger and he basically explains that it’s not uncommon for the cheese to run out during cooking. Why would you put an item on the menu that turns out lousy at least some of the time? Why would you serve it?
I didn’t even eat half of it. The waiter noticed my full plate and comped me for the cost of the burger (but still charged me for my drink and fries).
Completely lost my appetite for the rest of the day. I forced myself to eat a small bag of Doritos for dinner. 12 hours to the minute after setting that raw hamburger down, I jump out of my hotel bed, run to the bathroom and puke for about 10 minutes straight. I puke so long blood comes up. Then the other end of the intestinal track decided it wanted to be purged too. Even more blood.
Yup, food poisoning. Nothing quite compares to being stuck in another city in a lousy hotel puking up blood and bile thinking you’re going to die. The conference I had to attend at 8:00 AM was a blast, lemme tell ya. I’m glad no one knew me because I looked like a hot mess. I even popped a blood vessel in one of my eyes. That’s the only meal I’ve ever had that ruined 24 hours of my life.”
Mystery of the Missing Waitress
“I don’t know if this was the worst, but it sprang to mind.
We were in a restaurant we’ve gone to sporadically over the years. It’s usually reasonably good.
We’re seated and our drink order is taken. I mention to the waitress that there’s no silverware on the table, and she says ‘Oh, no problem, I’ll be right back’. She shows back up 10 minutes later to take our dinner order. We order, and I again mention the lack of silverware. ‘Oh, right, hang on’.
We don’t see her again for 30 minutes. Drinks are empty, no silverware, nothing. Can’t even find her in the restaurant.
After 30 minutes, she shows up again with our meals, both pasta dishes. She sets them down, and I again mention that we have no silverware, and can’t eat our dinner. ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, hang on’.
She disappears again. There’s something horrible about being very hungry and staring at your meal while being unable to eat it. Stomach’s rumbling, you’re salivating, you’re so dang ready to dig in… but you can’t.
After staring at our dinner for at least five minutes, I get up, go to the setup table and grab two full sets of silverware and napkins, and return to the table. We ate. The waitress is still MIA.
Twenty minutes after we finished our meals, there was still no waitress. I get up and ask to see the manager. I tell her what happened and she accuses me of trying to steal the silverware. Blew my mind.
Suffice it to say, we’ve never gone back and have dissuaded lots of people from eating there.”