Contents edited for clarity. We expect that foodservice should be a certain way, but sometimes restaurants do not meet our expectations. Sometimes it is bad food or bad service. And sometimes it is downright ridiculous wait times or even nasty staff. I guess the saying is true, what can go wrong, will.
Some People Should Never Work In Customer Service
“We had a table of six which can be a bit much for some servers I know, but we’re all very laid back. The first problem, was we sat down and three of us had food bits on our silverware. We asked for new silverware and one of the new ones had food stuck to it as well. Already I was losing my appetite.
We ordered drinks and appetizers. three sodas, two pints, and a margarita. Sodas are sodas. The brews tasted nothing like normal. A bit flat and skunked, like they had been left in the heat too long. The person who ordered the margarita (who doesn’t drink often at all) asked if anyone could taste the Patron, then asked the server to make sure they didn’t send a non-margarita. ‘If he gave it to me it’s right, miss,’ he said.
He didn’t even pretend to ask.
They brought out the appetizers; the BBQ chicken wings and onion rings. Only we ordered the buffalo wings and nachos. The waitress pulled out her order pad to show we ordered the wings and o’s. I’m not sure what shorthand people in the industry use, maybe the cooks interpreted it right. She wouldn’t swap out anything. The wings were meh. The rings were terrible.
Our dinner salads came and she asked how the appetizers were. We told her again they were not good and not what we ordered. The only thing she asked after is if she can clear them. Yes, please. They were bad.
Salads were even worse somehow. Half of them had the wrong dressings. Luckily the place served dressings in a cup on the side. We could swap around for ones we didn’t mind (but didn’t order) except one who had asked for thousand island. The waitress argued and said that we got everything we ordered correctly. But we still complained because she was wrong.
After that, she told us she would see what she could do and that we like to complain a lot.
Wow! See what she can do? A small cup of dressing? Didn’t even have to replace the lettuce and toppings. Nothing. We didn’t see her until entrees came out. Again, this was supposed to be a small-town feel family restaurant. Out came five entrees. This was a table for six.
‘We appear to be missing this person’s main course,’ we told her.
The waitress said, ‘Oh, when she complained about the drink and salad I assumed she didn’t want her entree and I canceled it.’
The drink with no Patron. The wrong appetizers. The easily fixable dressing situation. I’d be starving, and to tell the person they shouldn’t have complained is just wow! Oh, she was livid. But my family is almost always chill so we shared our plates with her but, wow.
One minute in, our waitress showed up and said, ‘Hey I’m leaving soon. Pay your bill and tip so I have that money tonight.’ ‘Uhhhh, We still haven’t received everything we ordered or on this bill,’ we replied.
‘Just pay now, and at least 20 percent or more for the tip. The next server can open a new tab for them and you,’ she snapped and then walked off.
At this point, I knew I wanted to stick it to this lady. On the bill, I put on a card that expired a month ago (my bill, not credit card fraud). The result was not my original plan (just waste her time) but she came back, dropped off the slip, and said nothing else than see ya later!
We looked at the receipt. $96 total. $80 of it was food, and a mandatory 20 percent tip (party of five plus in a lot of places). She did not realize on the receipt below that it said the had card expired. There wasn’t even a place to sign because the card never went through obviously. I asked the hostess about the encounter.
‘Oh, she does that all the time. Thank you for pointing it out. We’ll take your check out of her salary/tips.’
I offered a card for the check and asked, ‘Can you take off the apps and drinks that we didn’t order? And this person never received her main course and it’s on the check. Can you take that off too?’
And of course, the hostess did! We left a one-cent tip so the server would get some notice. Our bill dropped to around $40 which was still too much. In retrospect, I should have just taken the free meal, but wasn’t sure if the house would have eaten it or the server. We never went back and the place closed about six months later.
“Not sure how international this chain is, but there was a time when Applebee’s was my go-to for a guaranteed terrible experience.
The first story I have, I was with a friend of mine and his girlfriend and we were hungry and I owed him a few lunches. We went to the Applebee’s by his house and saw the restaurant about half full. Nothing too crazy. We were sat by the hostess and we’re waiting for our waiter so we could get some drinks. About five minutes in, the hostess sat two women behind us who instantly started giving the hostess their drinks orders. The hostess whipped out her book and started writing the orders down. The waiter came over and started yelling at the hostess. It’s his job, he shouted. He then proceeded to get their drinks. Then took their food orders and then got them their food. Then he brought them their check and cashed them out.
Then came over and asked us what we’d like to drink. Why did I stay? I was hungry and I was sure he’d get to us eventually. Why didn’t I talk to another waiter/waitress? Because the only other one was on the other side of the restaurant. Did I say anything? Nope. Thankfully in America, waiters work off of their tips. Hopefully, he enjoyed his dime. Even then, I overpaid.
I joined an organization while attending college, and we’d go out for dinner and drinks on a few occasions. There was an Applebee’s right around the corner from the school. We were really only going for some drinks, so how bad could they really mess up? Challenge accepted, though. So, our waitress came over, took one drink order, then disappeared. She was gone for quite a while. She came back, took one more drink order then disappeared. There were six of us. I was lucky enough to get my drink order in early. She finally got everybody’s drink, after about an hour, and I ordered a second drink; or so I thought. 20 minutes later, my drink wasn’t out. I asked her about it and she disappeared for another 20 minutes. At this point, I grabbed the computer thing at the table and attempted to order the drink myself, but at the time it only allowed you to reorder drinks you already ordered. How did I find this out? After asking her for my drink for the third time, she told me the bartender was behind and ran off to the computer where my second drink magically appeared on the computer. Needless to say, after we put in some appetizers orders, we were there for over three hours.
And finally, the time a waitress told my girlfriend and a friend of ours that a certain drink was buy-one-get-one. Needless to say, after drinking them and receiving the bill, they were not. She refused to fix the problem and when the manager finally came out (which was another endeavor), she was on the other side of the booth arguing with us. It eventually came down to him either taking the one drink off or all of us walking out on our bills. It was ridiculous.
Now, keep in mind, these experiences were at three different Applebee’s. Since then, we’ve become friends with some of the waiters and waitresses at one of the locations and they’ve taken good care of us since. That doesn’t change the past experiences though.”
“I no longer remember the restaurant, but it was in the old quarter of Montreal. We walked in on a whim after the hostess by the door charmed a friend of mine with a well-timed compliment.
As we sat down, we noticed another patron staring at us. As we made eye contact, he made slashing motions across his throat with a finger. We thought he was mentally unstable, perhaps a bit violent, but other than keeping an eye on him, we took little notice. He stormed out of the restaurant with his wife in tow shortly afterward.
We realized later that he must have been trying to warn us off.
Many minutes passed before we got a menu; more time passed before we got water; and still, more before we managed to place an order. We ordered escargots to start the dinner. They were served ice cold, and their grainy, rubbery texture suggested to us that they were of a packaged, frozen variety, half-heartedly microwaved. We started hearing screaming, cursing, and loud noises suggesting a physical fight from the kitchen. My friend had ordered an avocado salad as a starter. What was delivered was limp, not entirely green, and, oddly enough, for an avocado salad, lacked any avocados whatsoever.
When we finally got a waiter to stop at our table so my friend could ask about it, the waiter replied standoffishly, ‘Oh, we were out of avocados, so we gave you extra tomatoes,’ and walked away.
Or, he attempted to. We physically grabbed him by the arm and told him enough was enough. We grabbed a menu from the next table, gave him enough for the stuff that had been delivered thus far, and told him to cancel the rest. It was the only time I’ve ever walked out of a restaurant in mid-meal.”
They Will Probably Never Go Back, Not Even For That Salad
“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. I 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 five-year-old boy, easily 150 pounds, walked halfway to our table, stops, and proceeds to projectile vomit all over the floor and the empty table beside us. I just sat there in shock, while my wife was about to lose her mind. The kid’s mother quickly pulled him towards the bathrooms to get him cleaned up.
Two waitresses came out with a broom and dustpan, almost immediately. I think oh good, a speedy cleanup. Wrong. These trifling waitresses swept the vomit into a pile and put a yellow wet floor sign over it and walked 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 was dry-heaving and had lost her appetite. I walked over to the front of the restaurant and asked for a manager. The hostess sucked her teeth at me and reluctantly went to fetch the manager. When the manager finally emerged, I explained to him what was going on. It amazed me that he didn’t already know. He looked at me and asked, ‘What would you like for me to do?”’
What? I don’t know, maybe clean it up? The waitstaff were still walking around serving tables as if nothing had happened. The manager walked me back to my table, moved our seating to the back of the restaurant, and comped 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 were still sitting on the floor, and people were still eating like everything was normal.
We haven’t been back, and this was four years ago.”
Their Regular Steak House
“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 had to go to the bathroom, but I thought we’ll get our drinks down and get our order and then I’ll go to the bathroom.
So we went in and sat in a relatively big wrap-around booth and this server girl violated all protocol by walking up, sitting down in the booth, and SLIDING CLOSER to snuggle up to me.
She sat right next to me in the booth like she’s my girlfriend or something. She had two feet to the right where she could sit at the edge of the booth, or she could stand, as servers normally do.
I could feel her body heat on my side through her clothes, while my wife was right across the table.
And I said, (politely), ‘I want to make this very clear, you sitting yourself 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 said, ‘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, the way a drill sergeant does with a Marine Recruit who doesn’t have a clue) I knew she was going to be able to smell my breath. In my low, scratchy voice, I continued 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.’
She replied, ‘I don’t want it to become personal,’ and then she set her tone like she was innocent and batting her eyelashes, I mean literally batting her eyelashes, she said, ‘Can I take your order?’
And I said, ‘Move. NOW.’
And I can’t, I cannot believe to this day that people are so rude, or stupid or manipulative or whatever, but she actually said, ‘Or what?’ (like she’s really spoiling for a fight so she can sue me or something).
I saw the manager out of the corner of my eye as he was approaching with a worried look.
I said, ‘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 out of my way!’
She said, (and I still cannot believe this also), ‘How dare you!’
The manager arrived and put a hand on her shoulder, he said, quiet and commanding, ‘Get up. Now.’
She turned to him and said, ‘Don’t touch me.’
He replied, ‘Get up, now. I’m not going to tell you again,’ And then he looked at me, and said, ‘I’m sorry, sir.’
He stood with this like actor’s stage motion and flourished with his hand and makes this elegant gesture like ‘the way has been cleared for you to walk down the aisle, princess.’
So she stood up, and said, ‘I’m going to sue you for assault and workplace harassment.’
And he said back, ‘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 looked at me], am I right?’
I confirmed his assumptions as I got up to go to the bathroom. And as I was walking to the bathroom I could 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 said, ‘You have to give me notice.’
He replied, ‘Four minutes.’
At this point, my wife got up and she came to the female restroom. And she said, ‘What do you want to do?’
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.’
They were still arguing, which was her yelling, and him continuing his countdown. So finally she took her little server apron off and threw it in his face. He caught it. And so right there I’m thinking this definitely is assault. So she went into her locker and walked out of the door. We approached the manager after a few minutes, seeing that she was not going to come back.
He apologized saying, ‘I’m very, very, sorry. We had problems before with her, but I thought it was a one-off thing.’
I said, ‘No it’s good, don’t even worry about it.’
‘I’ll give you both a free meal, anything you want completely on the house,’ he said.
I wouldn’t accept art first and made him guarantee us one thing; that she’d never work there again. He agreed, took our order personally, and became our waiter for the meal. He made sure everything was cooked perfectly and at the end, he excused the bill and said, ‘No, this is on me. You saved me from her meeting someone else who would have been difficult about this.’
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 then that became one of our regular steak places. Eventually, he left to become a regional manager.”
“You Can’t Treat Your Customers Like That”
“Up until about a year ago, there was a nice little Indian restaurant in our small southern town. My boyfriend and I both love Indian cuisine and the closest other than this one was about an hour away. We used to eat at this place all the time (several times a week) until what I refer to as ‘the incident’ occurred.
We arrived at about 2:00 pm on a weekday because I used to work as a manager at a fast-food chain and would work weird hours. Now granted, they did close at 3:00 pm and reopen at 5:00 pm, as most Indian restaurants do. But we went anyway because we had plenty of time to finish our meal before they closed.
When we got there, we stepped inside and waited at the host desk to be seated. We waited for about 10 minutes before we saw anyone. They didn’t have a bell up front, but the door rang when someone opened it so I figured someone heard us. Just as we were about to leave, a server came up and pointed to a table we could sit at, and quickly got our drinks.
Now for lunch, they have a buffet open. But I have never really trusted buffets, and I prefer to order from the menu because you get exactly what you want. The server didn’t come back for another 20 minutes. So at this time, it was about 2:30 and they started closing down, mopping floors, etc.
Our server came back and asked if we needed refills. We told him we would like to order. He literally rolled his eyes at us and left to get something to write on. We put in our orders and it took about 10 minutes to get out to us (which is about standard for them). As I took a bite of my food, I realized it was ice cold. Literally freezing like they had turned the warmer off and put it in an ice bath. It also tasted really off, but I couldn’t tell if it was because it was cold. He also didn’t give us any rice, or the naan we ordered. My boyfriend was also given the wrong type of curry.
I wasn’t going to say anything, but my boyfriend insisted I send it back. I was just going to ask the server to bring me whatever he had that was hot, and I’d take that. I wasn’t picky, just hungry.
However, the server was nowhere to be seen. We could clearly see the kitchen from where we were sitting, and at one point he walked out of the back, and we looked up, smiled, and waved slightly to get his attention. Now I do not normally do this, but we wanted to get his attention because I knew they were about to close. He promptly turned around and went right back into the kitchen. We were baffled. He had clearly completely ignored us.
We waited until 3:00 and he still didn’t come out of the back. We actually thought he had forgotten about us. My boyfriend never touched his curry either, and at a certain point, we figured the guy wasn’t coming back out. We didn’t have any cash on us, and so we didn’t know what else to do other than leave.
Skip ahead about a week, and my boyfriend got a call at work. It was the manager from this restaurant, demanding he pays for the food we ordered a week ago. He said if we didn’t pay, he would call the cops and press charges. My boyfriend tried to calmly explain what happened, but the manager kept threatening to call the police. Finally my boyfriend agreed to pay for the meal, because he didn’t know what else to do.
After this incident, we ripped this restaurant apart with an online review. Within a month they closed down. They were never that busy, to begin with, and they lost their best customers that day. I was sad to see them go downhill, and I really do miss having a curry restaurant near me. But you can’t treat your customers like that.
“It Tasted Very Weird” I Should Think So!
“I have had two particularly unfortunate restaurant experiences.
The first was on my 19th birthday. I love discovering new cafes and restaurants all the time so I found a small cafe midway between my college and my house and went there to celebrate with a bunch of my friends.
The food was okay, nothing great but we were having fun so it didn’t really bother me. When it was time for dessert, I ordered something that was called ‘Death by Chocolate.’ It intrigued me. When the food came, it was a very average-looking, small chocolate cake topped with gems. I started eating it anyway. It tasted very weird and then suddenly I could feel something sharp and metallic in my mouth. I immediately spit out whatever was in my mouth to discover that a broken piece of a knife was in my cake! I guess they took the name of the dessert too literally!
My friends and I called the manager and complained and he still insisted that we pay for the food, so we paid for the rest of the food except the dessert and left.
The second bad experience was just last year. My friends and I had taken a mock exam at our coaching center and decided to go and grab a cup of coffee to forget the abysmal scores we received. We ordered three iced lattes and were sipping away happily when one of my friends gasped and stared wide-eyed into her glass. We peered in over her shoulders to see ants! This coffee shop was a well-known franchise and they were serving coffee with ants in it. Quickly we checked our drinks and found ants in them too! We went to the counter and complained and they seemed too familiar with the situation and just told us to not pay for the drinks and leave. After yelling at them some more about how terrible they are, we left and never went back to any of their outlets again.”
“I had a scary and terrible experience in a restaurant in Greece. I sat down in a small restaurant in a quiet area away from the main street and ordered myself a Full English breakfast, beans, toast, eggs, the works. My food arrived, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to the food. I was just picking and eating whilst reading. I must’ve eaten around five or six mouthfuls already by this point. Then I noticed a maggot on my fork. I took a look down at my food and there were five or six maggots crawling on my egg! Some were dead and some were still cooking!
My initial reaction was to shout out, ‘Oh my god, there are maggots in my food!’
I luckily managed to hold my tongue and I called the waiter over to me instead. I explained about the food and he actually shrugged his shoulders and took it back to the kitchen. At this point, I just wanted to leave. He came back ten minutes later with another plate of food where I explained, ‘Hey; I’d like to just pay and leave, please. I don’t want another plate.’
There were clearly maggots in the kitchen!
Instead, I got the following response, ‘No, is good now. You eat.’
I was pretty angry at this point so I said, ‘No, food still bad. You bill now.’
With anger in his eyes, he brought me the bill. They charged me for two breakfasts! By this point, I wish I had made a huge fuss really loudly. All of the remaining diners in the restaurant would have left. I paid, I left a small tip and went to the beach.”
Time To Leave
“My husband and I went to an Italian restaurant that was near my apartment. My whole family and a lot of friends had been there and said it was great. Not so much for me and my husband.
We entered and stood waiting to be seated for a good 10 minutes, I checked my watch, while there were two servers on the floor who made eye contact with us and yet made no move to seat us. Finally, the bartender came over to us and asked if we wanted to be seated. In my head, I said ‘well, duh.’
But out loud I said, ‘Yes, thank you.’
It was a full 15 minutes before anyone came to take our beverage order. I had already gotten up and grabbed some menus on my own. Now, this was a Thursday night (early evening), the place was about a third full and it seemed like all the other tables had a personal relationship with the servers that we appeared to lack. One by one the place was nearly cleared out when a server came to our table and asked if we were ready to order. I tried to maintain a cheerful demeanor and said yes. I placed our beverage order and before I had a chance to tell her the rest of our order she turned and walked away and I am pretty sure ignored me trying to call her back.
Again I looked at my watch, 12 minutes later she returned with our iced teas and told us that she’d be right back to take our order. Well, we finished our teas and she still hadn’t returned and we noticed that none of the staff was on the floor. I got up to look for somebody, anybody. I had a chance to talk with two other tables that were also waiting for a long time.
Thirty or more minutes later we were able to flag her down. My husband hates confrontations; I dislike them also, but I was not about to accept this treatment. I told her how long we had been waiting and told her that her service was poor and neglectful. She looked affronted and said, ‘Well, what do you want from me?’ with a sigh, an eye roll, and a snort.
I took a deep breath and we just got up and left. On the way out, I spotted the owner and took some time to tell her what happened. She was aghast and promised to make things right. But I told her that I could not trust the food or the server at that point. Why take the chance with an angry server and whatever she might tell the kitchen staff? No, we went to a fast food place instead.”