Dinners From Hell offers true stories about restaurant dining disasters written by diners, servers and chefs.

We've all had those dining experiences when things went dreadfully wrong. Perhaps it was a social blunder, an obnoxious diner, a waiter or waitress with an attitude, a temperamental chef, an embarrassing faux pas, or a food or beverage incident. Find out what others have had to endure by reading stories about dinners gone bad.

A Novel Complaint

April 22, 2016

in Diner Stories

“Table one wants to see a manager.”

As a restaurant manager, my lap is a proverbial dumping ground where servers regularly invite grumpy and entitled customers to sit. In the prevailing I don’t get paid enough to deal with this shit culture which permeates the service staffs in most eateries, the feces usually rises to the top – and most days I just happen to find myself occupying the highest rung on the crapometer ladder.

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This is Australia. The Land of Milk and Honey. And angry Greek restaurant owners.

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Intentionally screwing with the people who have access to your food makes about as much sense as lighting a cigarette while filling up your gas tank. However, there never seems to be a shortage of culinary warriors who insist on running face-first into a wall of pretense every chance they get. Whether motivated by ignorance or mere entitled douchebaggery, some diners just seem to possess an inherent knack for being huge twatsicles whenever they set foot in a restaurant – for no apparent reason other than they can.

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Corporate restaurant marketing departments understand that the quickest route to their customer’s wallets is through their stomachs while simultaneously appealing to their vanity. The primary job of a restaurant marketer is to sit in an office cubicle six states removed from where you work while devising ways to extract as much money from your customers as possible without pissing them off in the process. The programs they consequently concoct are essentially pigs glossed over with lipstick whose sole intent is to coerce repeat business by offering meager enticements in exchange for return visits and the revenues they subsequently bring.

Enter the Customer Loyalty Program, the Frequent Flier version of the restaurant industry.

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Ah, the holidays… Simultaneously the bane and windfall of every restaurant calendar year. Primarily populated by enthusiastic amateurs whose dining habits make pigs in a trough appear cultured, as well as employees who would rather be anywhere other than serving them, holidays are viewed by most restaurant workers as a time to hunker down for a marathon roller coaster endurance challenge while counting both the hours until closing time and the profits the day will hopefully bestow.

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One day last summer I was working as usual at a seafood themed restaurant/pub. Being responsible for the place when the owner isn’t there, I carry the restaurant’s phone with me while I work.

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When desperation is all that’s left, gambling usually kicks in.

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This particular story occurred a few years ago when dining at a now-defunct Asian restaurant in College Station, Texas. My roommate and I were grabbing some dinner one Friday night before meeting friends to have drinks out. The particular restaurant we were at wasn’t anything fancy or special, but had been around a while and had good prices on sushi and drinks.

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Waiter Chides Cheapskate Customer

January 3, 2016 Server Stories

When I was in grad school, another student and I from the same lab group went out to a local Chinese restaurant for lunch. It was a nice place – a bit higher end than your typical takeout joint. At the end of the meal, I was paying cash and he was using a credit […]

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Customers Completely Ignored by Server

December 26, 2015 Server Stories

My boyfriend and I attempted to eat at a restaurant we used to frequent when we first started dating. We went for lunch. They were pretty slow; just an elderly couple, a family with a baby, and another couple who came in with us. When we went in we were told to sit wherever we […]

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Deceptive Actions Spoil Party

November 7, 2015 Odds & Ends Stories

Back in the 80’s I worked at a hotel and casino in Reno that also was home to a male only club made up of a who’s who of business leaders and politicians. One of the members was the District Attorney. My work shift was split between serving breakfast as a room service waiter, and […]

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Cruel Parents, Horrible Customers

November 1, 2015 Diner Stories

I work as a waitress in a family run café/restaurant in a relatively small country town. The place I work at is really busy normally; today was a bank holiday so it was even busier. I don’t usually complain about busy days, but with the combination of us being understaffed and a waiter being “ill,” it […]

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