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.

Waiter Walks Away

April 12, 2015

in Diner Stories

I am a server in a Mexican restaurant. We have a night where our enchilada plates are half price, so we do not allow coupons on the enchilada dinners. I misunderstood my manager and thought that we didn’t accept them at all on that night.

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While working at a Greek restaurant we always gave a complimentary cup of Avgolemono soup, a classic lemony chicken orzo soup, free before the meal comes. Our restaurant is on the east coast, and one night we got an especially uppity group who came in and ordered gyro platters, insisting that the correct pronunciation was “Jai-Row” instead of “Yee-rho” as we have heard from countless thousands of real Greeks who eat there. When their complimentary soup came out, one of them took a taste and motioned me over with the utmost of urgency.

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I went to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant as I typically do when I’m in Maryland. It was off to a bad start as soon as I walked in the door. It’s freezing this time of year so I didn’t want to sit near the door. I asked to sit in a booth and was told that somebody was already sitting there. No biggie. I sat elsewhere and waited for a waiter to take my order.

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I work at a new restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). It’s awesome. The manager and two owners are amazing, fun guys who love people. They just do. They are genuinely interested in every person – customer or employee – who walks in that door. In fact, we became friends within 10 minutes of meeting each other, and I work for them (or, as they say, I “work with” them). The mood at the bar/restaurant is generally light, fun, and happy. The bartenders do some flair. The owners have a laugh (and a drink) with guests. Employees are all best friends. You get the idea.

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I work at a restaurant. It’s a small one. It’s American and Chinese. We serve breakfast also. There are so many things wrong with this place.

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My boyfriend and I recently went to a little diner that was near our house. The place isn’t too busy, and we’re seated as soon as we walk in, which is nice.

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I’m one of those English people who doesn’t particularly understand “tipping” just because we don’t do it here (or very seldom!).

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My family had an experience at an Atlanta pizzeria the other night that you’re going to find unbelievable. The food was good, and the service was great, but the four people sitting in the booth across from us were another story! This happened on 11/23/14 from approximately 6:25-7:30. Their server was a blond woman and ours was an older man. Not ONE employee did anything about their obnoxious behavior!

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Separate Checks for Shared Items

November 27, 2014 Dining Hell Commentary

“Separate checks, but we are sharing a pizza.” Okay, folks… don’t ask for separate checks but then want to share items across the split. I was not a math major and the computer system in use is archaic and unable to do that. With 5-6 other tables on a very busy night, it is not […]

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Birthday Boy Receives a Plastic “Present”

November 21, 2014 Food & Drink Stories

A while back, two buddies and I went to a well-known chain restaurant to celebrate a birthday. The place was packed; however, we were seated in no time.

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Server Ignored by Customer “In a Hurry”

October 17, 2014 Diner Stories

I had a day off and went to breakfast at one of my favorite local places, a restaurant attached to a B&B that only served breakfast and dinner. I came in around 8:45 and ordered. They closed for breakfast at 9:30, but always seated customers up until the last minute.

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Diners Encounter Gift Card Difficulty

October 9, 2014 Odds & Ends Stories

My wife and I decided to go out for lunch last weekend. We ended up going to a popular chain restaurant in the city. As soon as we walked in we noticed the place was slow and quiet; only two or three other parties were dining – not bad.

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