Friday, January 10, 2014

My Top 8 most annoying type of diners!

Sometimes I get stressed with the food business and feel like venting a little. Half of my stress is usually caused by the irritating diners that I encounter.


People that keep ordering food even after the kitchen has closed

OMG these are the diners that piss me off the most. After the servers have been told that the kitchen is closed, they sometimes continue taking orders (more tips for them…more work for us). After I have put everything away, turned off everything, and cleaned my station, I hear that nerve wrecking sound of the ticket coming out. And I want to go home! But no…I need to take everything back out, turn on the ovens, bring back the plates, bring back a cutting board….and prepare their damn food because some people don’t know when to leave.

Sometimes I just want to tell them to go home, so we can all go home too. There are diners that hang around with no intention to leave even after all the other tables have left and even most of the staff has gone home. I think the person that suffers the most with such diners is the dishwasher. They gotta wait until the table has finished chillaxin’, eating, talking, and chillaxin’ and hanging out some more…sometimes until they need to be thrown out.
I once had a guy call the restaurant saying that he will be coming in for desserts. He was told that the restaurant will be closing, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer and insisted on coming in. I think he even yelled at the person taking the phone call. I was already done putting everything away and starting to clean at the time.  The item(s) that he came in and ordered takes some time to make, so I had to stay an extra 20+ minutes for a customer that doesn’t understand the concept of restaurant closing hours. I almost wanted to spit in his food lol (just kidding…even with people that annoy me, I don’t think I could ever spit in food). I looked out the window to see who this mofo was that I had to stay late for. It was some old guy (70’s or so) with his wife or whoever she was. So yeah…they stuck around way after closing hours.

People that stick their noses in the kitchen
They call it BOH (back of the house) for a reason. Unless it’s an open kitchen, there are things going on in a lot of kitchens that the public shouldn’t see or would want to see (if you know what I mean, chefs). What goes on in the back should stay in the back, not for public display. People sticking their noses in the kitchen to make a complaint about their food should address it with the FOH and deal with it in the front. I feel like the BOH should almost be like a restricted area, off limits to the public. And heck, we work with dangerous equipment everyday. The slightest unnecessary distraction can even be dangerous at times.

People that want to substitute everything
If I don’t already have certain items at my station because I don’t normally use them, the diner requesting substitution is making me go out of my way and grab additional items to please him/her. On a slow night, I don’t really mind. But when it’s super busy and I need to run upstairs or something (while falling behind on an order or two because of their pickiness), it kind of ticks me off. Why can’t people just eat the food with what it originally comes with?

People that want to talk to me when all I want to do is use the restroom real quick and get back to service
When it’s busy, I don’t have much time to even pee. I’ll usually get someone to cover for me (for no more than a minute or so), do my business, and then hurry back. In establishments without separate restrooms (one for staff one for customers), it’s likely to be bumping into customers that want to chit chat. They will be like “Hi! Everything was so delicious tonight. You guys did a great job. And blah blah.” Sometimes they will keep wanting to chat when I need to rush back into the kitchen. And I almost feel obligated to be polite to them when they’re around, like opening doors for their asses or letting them use the restroom first when there is a line. When there is a rush in the kitchen and I am out to pee and pee only, I could care less about all that politeness crap towards the customers (I don’t act rude to them, but just saying that I could care less about it when I am in a hurry and need to pee asap). My only job is to prepare their food. I am not there to be all polite and kiss their asses. That is what the servers are there for.  

People that make up all sorts of allergies
I don’t understand why some people make up fake allergies. It seems like become the new thing to do in the past decade or so. I mean, of course there are people with real allergies, but I think there are people that just want to go along with the hype. They can just say they don’t want a dish containing a certain ingredient. There is some lady that always comes in that claims to have so and so allergies. We think it’s a lie because we saw her eating a dish that contained that ingredient that she claimed to be allergic to. She didn’t die, didn’t complain…so something is weird. I think the weirdest allergy I’ve heard about was of black pepper. Never heard that one before. And I think we put black pepper in almost every savory dish.

People that send dishes back to the kitchen AFTER they receive it just to have it SPLIT
Really? Cant they do that for themselves if given extra plates and knives? But noooo…they want it sent back to be professionally split, like it’s really going to make any difference whether the kitchen staff splits it and plates it again into smaller sharing plates or if they do it themselves. If they wanted it split in the first place, they should have asked for it ahead of time. It’s kind of ridiculous to send it back when the kitchen is going to do the exact same thing that they would be doing by themselves at the table anyways. When I am slammed with orders during a rush, something petty as this really annoys the hell out of me.

People that ask for nonstop extra items
“I want more bread”

“I want more sauce”
“I want more sides”

Once is understandable, but I’ve had customers asking nonstop for extra crap…like as much as 5-6 times. And then we have to start charging them for the extra extras. Once, a lady asked for extra caviar. Caviar is not cheap and is usually portioned to an exact gram. She wanted a freebie extra caviar. I asked the server if they were charging for the extra caviar. The answer was no, so I generously (NOT) dabbed a booger amount.
People that want to recreate a dish just because of their personal preference

When it comes to certain dishes, you don’t mess with the original. Making alterations for a diner’s personal preferences will completely turn it into something other than what it was meant to be. Sometimes it will break a chef’s heart to send out a dish that is anything but their vision.
So yeah..this is my top 8. It’s the stuff that turns my hair gray and gives me wrinkles. I may sound a little whiny today, but it’s one of those days I feel like the customers made me have had it with the food industry. But then again, I also realize that no matter which industry you’re in, there are always going to be folks that are annoying and difficult to please. There’s always going to be people I want to slap no matter which industry I go into lol.  


  1. Oh man, I totally cringed when I read your list b/c I'm guilty of a few of those things (to a degree). Can you imagine if someone did all 8 of things in ONE night. I'm sure you'd go crazy.

    Your " so I generously (NOT) dabbed a booger amount" had me laughing so hard.

    The splitting the dish AFTER it's given to customer is ridiculous. That's down right rude IMO of them to send it back to the kitchen for someone to do it.

    Sigh - you make the kitchen sound so glamorous - j/k. I wonder what you would post if you were in a different profession - like a dr or lawyer. I bet you'd have your top 8 in those professions too :)

    Have a good weekend -

    1. I think we are all guilty of doing such thing at one time or another. I know that you are probably guilty of the substituting, right? lol That one is not as bad as some of the others, but it's a bit of an inconvenience when we have a testing menu or something because they are asking the item to be recreated (while interrupting the flow to go grab the items to be substituted with). On less busy nights, this doesn't bother me at all though.

      Yeah, tell me about it! There are times the waiters will forget to type in "split" on the ticket. Then I can't blame the customers, but there are some weird customers time to time that don't ask for split from the start and want the kitchen to split it after it's already been taken out. And I just think to myself...."I cant believe those bitches. Do they want me to cut it up into little pieces and spoon feed them too?"

      Yeah, I'm sure almost every profession has those difficult people to deal with. I am sure you have your share too. Back when I used to work for a magazine, I've had my share even in that profession. And that was a far less stressful profession. I think the worst client I had to deal with is my friend's mom whom I have known my entire life lol. She was cool as a friend's mom, but freakin a pain in the ass as a client...probably the biggest headache ever. She would call us 20x a day, bothered me, bothered the designer, the boss..etc.

  2. Haha..then I am pretty good diner! All I ask for more bread if the bread is really really good, other than that I never complain. Good insides :D Now I want to go at your restaurant and order 4 desserts just to see your face lol! Just post!

  3. lol thanks. I think I am a good diner too, for the most part. I think the most controversial thing I have ever done at a restaurant was refusing to pay for disgusting food that the kitchen made totally gross that I couldn't even eat. I'm not paying for disgusting food that I cant even eat because the kitchen doesn't know how to cook.

  4. Actually the BOH IS a restricted area. And we're both in LA county and
    if the health dept shows up with a customer having even the tips of his wing-tipped loafers in the kitchen the business can very well be penalized. Youre therefore within your rights to get really stinky with customers who take that liberty. Do you have authorized personnel signs up? Usually required. In which case I just POINT to the sign.
    Whether or not a restrnt serves until closing or "grill closes at 9:45pm" signs are
    posted is up to the owner, and owners easily fall into the attitude that every customer counts. (That is, until they have to start paying overtime.) Hey the way I try to look at it is work is work. Im only "ready" to go home because I KNOW its time to go home. If they suddenly extended open hrs an hour later, then I would work that xtra hour and not be "tired and ready to leave" until 11 instead of 10 etc.
    I think.
    What I really love is when they pop in at 10:57, theyre TOLD you're closing, they insist on ordering anyway (and of course its not a cold sandwich its a medium well
    steak) you fire up the now 100° grill and everything else, then they have the nerve
    to complain that the food took so long. "Psst, Miss server, this took a LOT longer than usual--I think your cook needs a lil more training." Ugh.
    People love to talk to the chef--partly cuz its rare to see them outside the kitchen, and if the place has a cook's door to the restroom, sometimes they NEVER see them.
    Chatting a little is expected, you can cut em off by saying "well I gotta go check on these guys before they start fossilizing the steaks. " or some such light thing. They usually laugh and say "ok go go! "
    The split thing I agree with if they didn't order it that way. But if I order a sandwich split and it comes on one plate whole, I send it back if the server brought me an extra plate. If the server didn't then most likely the server forgot to tell the cook.
    If they bring a 2nd plate, they remember its a split and theyre covering for the cook.
    Well, usually. That's why I order it thusly: "And we'd like that cook-split please"

    It's not uncommon for people to think of things one at a time-- "oh and extra napkins." (Honey you forgot to ask for my sour cream. Oops Ill ask when she brings the napkins etc) But when I do that I apologize to the server--and the server saying "hey no problem, that's my job" gets them an xtra buck or two.
    As to people recreating dishes, I don't see it as a big problem--if theyre getting CHARGED substantially for the privilege of f-ing up the cook's rhythm.

    1. Lol...yeah I just ordered a split soup the other day too. But it came out in one plate, so I sent it to be split. I had told the waiter to split it, but either he forgot or the cook forgot. But yeah, if they decide after the food has already come out, to have it split, it totally irritates me (when it's busy). They should have said so from the start.

      Lol don't you just want to throw plates at customers like that, who come in late and then complain that the food took so long? On my last post, I mentioned one of the guys undercooking a order he got after the kitchen was already closed, so he half-ass cooked it. It was his own fault for not cooking it properly, but the customer was nice about it...didn't really bitch about it, just wanted it cooked a bit more.

      Dang the freaking waiters! We should be the one getting the tips. All they gotta do is smile and look pretty.

    2. Uh oh, now youre getting into a whole new area of gripe with me.
      Servers who seem to think they are: A) your superior and outrank you
      B) just plain ol superior, a better class of employee, and that you as cook are beneath them. In fact youre there to be sure they get the highest tips possible. Its an age old war, servers standing at the pass yapping away, ruining the cooks rhythm, the griping or even yelling
      that they need THIS and they need THAT like right now, regardless of the que.
      I know you knooooow what I'm talkin' 'bout!

  5. The service industry is death by a thousand cuts, and I can relate to a lot of these annoyances.

    Just in case it helps, I had a vegan friend who was vegan for ethical reasons and had been vegan for years, and while eating at a restaurant, she asked a server if there was meat/broth in a particular dish because she was “allergic to meat”. After being assured that there was no meat, she placed her order, and after the server had left, I asked her why she said she was allergic rather than vegan. She told me that many people didn't understand what vegan meant, and even if they did, they didn't always take it seriously as opposed to saying you have an allergy. I thought it was quite sad, and I guess (at least some) people make up allergies because they want their wishes/preferences/ethics/autonomy to be respected. From a service industry position, I'd find it really annoying because I can handle the truth and don't to be fed a line like I'm some kind of jerk, but there are a lot of jerks in the world who ruin it for everyone else and make life just a little more tedious.

    1. Wow, your vegan friend must have had some horrible experiences to resort to making up fake allergies. Dang jerk cooks that ruin it for the rest of us!

    2. She was very careful and rightfully so after being vegan for so long - her body would have likely reacted as if she were allergic.

      And then there are people who think they're allergic but aren't. My mother used to think she was allergic to corn tortilla chips even though she's not allergic to corn, oil, or salt. I'm guessing she got food poisoning once, and it left her terrified of the stuff which is one of those primal conditioning associations that are difficult to overcome because we basically evolved to avoid things that make us puke. :P


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