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.

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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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 card. To make it easier and quicker, I just give him my cash (including a tip – $25 for a $20 meal).

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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 wanted, so we sat in full view of the staff.

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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 serving lunch in the private club. Occasionally the club had evening “stag” parties and my boss would ask for volunteers to work the parties. I always volunteered because it was easy money and the tips were always good. Plus they always had extra food and the staff got to eat for free.

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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 was hard work.

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Lousy Server Tacks on Automatic Gratuity

October 13, 2015 Server Stories

A little DINER BEWARE! story when eating at a place known for being fun, rodent-oriented… and expensive.

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Chaos Reigns in Restaurant On College Grad Day

October 2, 2015 Diner Stories

I’m a hospitality worker in a college town. This was “One of those Red Letter Days” – university graduation. If you work in said environment, you know the deal. It is a super busy, super popular “All Weekend” brunch joint. It’s a local standard for tourists and students alike. Every year those days come around. Big money. Big headaches. Overbooked reservations, people adding […]

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Manager Runs Restaurant Into the Ground

September 26, 2015 Odds & Ends Stories

I used to work in an Italian restaurant in a small midwestern town. It was run by an Italian family. The father was the sweetest man you could ever meet. He was our dishwasher. His oldest son mainly cooked, while the youngest son, Tim, was the general manager.

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Trashy People Tip Poorly

September 5, 2015 Tipping & Etiquette Stories

I work for a corporate chain so customers are not always of the best quality, but I try not to prejudge my tables because they seem to surprise me now and then.

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