When we go out for a meal with our friends or family, we expect to relax and have a good time. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Here, horrified customers share their absolute worst dining experience.
1. I didn’t order this.
I was eating with a female friend at a reasonably nice restaurant. Before we were seated we grabbed a drink at the bar, and while there, she signed up to some sort of newsletter at the bar.
Once we sit down, she gets a text from a number she doesn’t recognize telling her how beautiful she looks. She ignores it, but another one comes through asking her what she’s doing later. She hasn’t got a clue who it is and continues to ignore it.
We’re finishing up our meal and a 3rd text comes through saying she shouldn’t be with a guy like me and asking if she wanted dessert with a “real man.”
Now it’s clear someone in the restaurant has her number, and we remembered that she had put it down on the application form for the newsletter. Considering the newsletters went into a box behind the bar it had to be a member of staff. We got the manager down and he was able to identify which member of staff it was.
It turned out one of the waiters had taken her number and address off this form, written it in his phone, and then spent the evening taking pictures of her from behind the bar. The police ended up involved.
2. I just want to eat my nuggets in peace.
I was spit on by a drunk lady because McDonalds didn’t have lasagna.
I didn’t even work there. I was just eating my McNuggets.
3. Ex-squeeze me?
Working in restaurants, you get used to having customers who literally have no clue what they’re talking about. My favorite recurring idiocy? It’s gotta be:
“I’d like my steak rare, but make sure there’s no pink in it.
4. And a side of racism, please.
Once time at a restaurant, the waiter served my food to me at the table, then turned to my Indian friend and told her to pick hers up from the counter.
5. Whoops…at least he got his beer.
We were in a restaurant/beer pub and ordered 3 beers. Well, if you want a particular brand, you needed to say it, otherwise you get the cheapest one. Of course we forgot and just sadly watched her pour the beers across the restaurant. It was too late to fix our mistake.
But just as our server took the beers on a tray and started walking toward us, she slipped on the 3rd or 4th step of the stairs, face-planted on the stairs, and the beer and glasses exploded everywhere.
This was not the worst thing, however.
The worst thing was when my friend shouted a loud and joyful, “YES.”
He was just happy that he could now order the beer he wanted. Of course, nobody knew that and everyone just heard him celebrating the downfall of our poor, lovely server, so the rest of our stay was very, VERY awkward.
6. Captain D for Disgusting, amirite?
I was at Captain D’s with my folks and my sister when I was 4 years old. I loved this place for one huge reason: when kids under 9 finished everything on their plate, they would get a free lollipop.
My father had ordered the 3-piece fish dinner. He was almost done with his meal and got to about the last bit of fish and noticed something ‘charred’ in his fish. He picked at it and picked at it, then eventually just tore it open and right there…as plain as day was a cockroach INSIDE this fish fillet…He got up, threw it away, told the manager and just walked out.
On the car ride home, I held up my lollipop and said, “If you had just finished, you’d have a lollipop too!”
7. It’s all potato anyway…
Ordering sides at a steakhouse..
Waitress: “Baked potato or fries?”
Me: “Fries please.”
Waitress: “Ok, I’ll repeat your order.. ” — reads correct order from notepad
steak arrives with a baked potato
Me: “Excuse me, I ordered fries.”
Waitress: look of disgust/astonishment “No you did not!”
Me: “Yes I did.”
Waitress: “Fine!!” proceeds to grab the baked potato with her bare hands off my plate and take it back to the kitchen
8. Yup, he was definitely stoned.
I was at a bar that served food. This waiter was so bad that at some point, it was just funny. Some of the highlights:
– He would just wander around aimlessly as we tried to get his attention. Then he’d start walking over to us, look over our heads as we tried to wave at him, and slowly turn and walk away.
– When we ordered food, he brought the right dishes, but gave them to the wrong person, no big deal. As we are saying, “Oh, that one goes to him,” etc., he quickly says, “Oh sorry,” gathers the dishes, and starts walking away! We are almost screaming at him trying to get him to come back, but he keeps walking.
Thankfully he came back 5 minutes later, with the same food. NO idea what happened. So hungry after being teased with the food, we didn’t even care if he spit in it.
– When he came around for my next beer, I said “surprise me.” This is a bar famous for having hundreds of beers. After 20 minutes, he brought me the same exact beer I just had. To be fair, I was surprised!
– Routinely brought us the wrong beers, not even close. Probably what another table ordered. But he took so long and it was so hard to get his attention, we started just drinking whatever we got.
I’d give it a 5 star rating. Most hilarious service ever. I’m definitely going back.
9. Some people are totally clueless.
Last week I went to a cheap little sushi place and ordered two rolls to go (I do this weekly). The waitress was pleasant but after about 30 minutes of waiting (it usually only takes 15) I asked her if my sushi was almost ready. She became huffy and told me I’ll get it when I get it. Then I started noticing people who came in after me were receiving their sushi so I asked her again.
After about 50 minutes I told her my meter was running out and I’d like a refund and she told me she had no clue how to do that but gave me 4 quarters to pay the meter. I told her I wanted to speak to a manager and she told me that he wouldn’t be in for over a week. After sitting and waiting for an hour and a half she told me she completely forgot to put my order in.
10. No, sir, you *really* don’t have to do that.
I had a reversed Fawlty Towers in Naples a few years ago. I was there with my girlfriend and our hotel was situated above the restaurant. The first day of my stay there, we decided to have our meal here. I made the mistake of telling the head-waiter that we would stay in the hotel the rest of the week. So every evening that we walked out of our hotel he asked us if we would dine there again, while we were really more interested in trying out other places. So eventually I promised him that we would dine there again for the last day of our stay. The waiter then made us a reservation for the best table at the terrace.
That evening, as we went down to the restaurant, we had noticed this table was already occupied (continued).
No big deal to us, as there were plenty of other tables available. The head-waiter however, who tried to lure us in all week, immediately panicked when he noticed us. He went berserk at another waiter, who apparently gave the table away, and proceeded to remove the couple who sat at ‘our’ table. We tried to explain this really wasn’t necessary, but he was insistent. So we stood there, really awkwardly, while this other poor couple saw their plates and glasses removed to a table in the back, while gently being pushed to the back of the restaurant as well.
The most ridiculous thing was that the head-waiter dramatically apologized to us, for giving ‘our’ table away. He did this three times, as if he insulted the Roman Emperor himself. At the end of the evening we received a discount.
The other couple had been long gone by that time.
11. Maybe she was using it to write down the orders?
I was once served by a woman who texted while asking for our order. A fairly good restaurant as well. What’s worse is when I asked her to look at us not the phone she told us she didn’t have any obligation to serve us, and could get the manager to force us to leave. So I told her I would love to speak to her manager personally about the situation. Never seen a phone turn off so quickly.
12. There is no possible explanation for this.
My brother was once in a restaurant and the waiter kept shining a laser pointer at him. The waiter didn’t give one care either. When my brother saw who it was and pointed at him he just laughed and gave him the finger. Needless to say he didn’t get a tip.
13. Someone needs to look up “vegetarian” in the dictionary.
Went to restaurant, a bit more than an hour before closing for a quick bite to eat..
Us: “Are you still taking orders for dinner?”
Almost instantly they packed up ALL the other tables.. Put the chairs on top of the tables, and started vacuuming.
It was surreal! We were sitting in a maze of tables and chairs.
We persist, and ordered quick and easy meals (continued).
Food took nearly an hour to come out. The meals were all wrong, cold and horrible.
Worse still, our vegetarian friends ordered vegetarian panini. They came out loaded with a pink stuff. We finally manage to call the waiter over.
Us: “Um are you sure this is vegetarian?”
Waiter: [sigh] “I’ll check..” …
Waiter: “Yes, it’s vegetarian.”
Friend shrugs, takes one bite.. Sandwich is filled with some prosciutto/ham type meat!
The kicker happens when we complain.
Us: “Excuse me, we ordered vegetarian panini.. This is full of meat!”
Waiter: “Oh. The kitchen must have mucked it up because I definitely wrote down vegetarian..” [Shrugs, walks away and doesn’t come back]
We wait because WTF? After walking off like that, surely our waiter is going to check on something or fix the problem!
Nope. Left for the night.
14. One man left behind.
Went to a restaurant with the family. Order a burger, waiter asks me what I want, I repeat my order he asks me again, I repeat again. Waiter goes around the table and gets everyone’s order. Repeats the order, forgets my burger. So I remind him, he writes it down.
Food arrives, no burger. He looks confused that he missed my order and says he’ll go get it. About ten or so minutes pass, manager comes and asks if our meals are ok. I say Im still missing my burger. He goes and checks, still no burger ordered by the waiter.
I wait another 10 minutes, family nearly done with their food and Im starving. The manager comes around and says they burned my burger, they’ll need to make it again.
Finally get my burger after my whole family was done eating.
15. Ah, the old tourist trap.
We got scammed at a fake restaurant in Bologna. I can’t believe we fell for it. The place got me by looking all bohemian and rustic, so of course you think it’s a local place right? Plus it was off the beaten track. Usually these traps are right in a major tourist area.
Since it’s right outside our bed and breakfast, I make a reservation. I should have known something was up when he wanted a deposit. If this happens to you in Italy, run, don’t walk, towards the door. He’s afraid that you will hear the truth about the restaurant when you tell someone you are going there and that you won’t come for dinner.
Second warning sign – no prices anywhere. You are going to get hit with the idiot tax. And we did (continued).
Frozen entrees and old shell fish. I had the scariest spaghetti vongole ever – I swear the garlic was piled on to hide the stench of rotting seafood. My husband had an obviously frozen vegetable lasagna. The veggies for everything, including the antipasta, must have been weeks old. The portions were huge, and very, very bad. The waiters are sweet as pie, because they know it’s harder for you to complain when you are given a free drink here, a little extra dessert there. They know that you are on vacation and don’t want to cause a scene in a country where you don’t know the rules, and plus, you don’t want to ruin such a nice evening. Oh yeah, they “don’t speak English.”
Then you get the bill. It’s going to be double or triple any other place. Maybe quadruple. And there is nothing you can do. They may be getting their food from an illegal source, and you know that they are cheating on their taxes and relying on bribes to keep operating. So the police might even be on their side. You just pay that idiot tax and write a scathing review on Trip Advisor hoping that helps someone else.
16. Who do I have to pay to get a fork around here?
We were in a restaurant we’ve gone to sporadically over the years. It’s usually reasonably good.
We’re seated and give our drink order. I mention to the waitress that there’s no silverware on the table, and she says, “Oh, no problem, I’ll be right back.” She shows back up 10 minutes later to take our dinner order. We order, and I again mention the lack of silverware. “Oh, right, hang on.”
We don’t see her again for 30 minutes. Drinks are empty, no silverware, nothing. Can’t even find her in the restaurant.
After 30 minutes, she shows up again with our meals, both pasta dishes. She sets them down, and I again mention that we have no silverware, and can’t eat our dinner.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, hang on.”
(It gets worse! Continued on next page)
She disappears again. There’s something horrible about being very hungry and staring at your meal while being unable to eat it. Stomach’s rumbling, you’re salivating, you’re so damn ready to dig in… but you can’t.
After staring at our dinner for at least five minutes, I get up, go to the setup table and grab two full sets of silverware and napkins, and return to the table. We eat, waitress is MIA.
Twenty minutes after we’ve finished our meals, still no waitress. I get up and ask to see the manager. I tell her what happened and she accuses me of trying to steal the silverware. Blew my mind.
Suffice it to say, we’ve never gone back and have dissuaded lots of people from eating there.
17. It’s okay, everyone makes mistakes.
“I was out with a partner of several years, in Provincetown for his birthday. We got a relatively inexperienced waitress for lunch, but told her it was his birthday and we wanted to do it up right, so we got a bottle of bubbly, a dozen oysters for an appetizer, and some nice entrees. Not only could the waitress not open the champagne correctly, she forgot to put the appetizer orders in until we’d been waiting for 20 minutes, so our appetizers came out mere minutes before our entrees. We stiffed her on a tip for an $80 lunch and complained to the manager until she cried.”
OR such is what I imagine those two guys would have said, since I was actually the waitress. I totally admit to screwing up their lunch completely, but remember that your waitstaff might really feel remorse at their incompetency, even years later.
18. “Health concerns” was a bit of an understatement…
Not an experience really, more of a behind-the-scenes story.
A friend of mine does investigations for gas companies, dive shops and restaurants. We have this place called The China Buffet. He went to the buffet on a call about “health concerns.”
He gets in there and looks at everything…not bad. So he decided to check behind the stove….a pile of dead rats. He said there were 20 of them. He turns to his co-worker and says, “You know why they died? Because they ate here.”
19. No matter what, the customer is always right.
Myself and two friends were eating pizza. It took ages until we got it. When we got it, it was cold and it didn’t taste good at all. Each of us only managed to eat half (being very hungry because we had to wait so long – otherwise we would have given it back).
When the waiter asked us how it was when we paid, we explained what we didn’t like about it. It came cold, some ingredients were overcooked, some were nearly raw, the crust was slack. He insisted that we were wrong. That it must have been our bad taste, the food would be fine.
We demanded the manager. He came and repeated the waiter’s opinion – with the addition of being very angry and personally insulted.
Never going there again.
20. That went from 0-100 really quickly.
Once at a bar/restaurant the bartender mixed me a drink but didn’t push it toward me before leaving into the back room. It’s been seriously about 2 minutes, my drink is getting warm, my friends are waiting, so I reach over the bar and grab my drink. Out of nowhere this bar back jumps all over me
“HEY ARE YOU JUST GONNA TAKE THAT?”
“I paid for this drink, she just didn’t hand it to me before she le-…”
“YOU WAIT THERE! TRACY!”
By this point, everyone in the bar is staring at me. Bartender Tracy re-emerges from the back, says plainly that it was my drink and walks away. I make a face, shake my head at the barback silently saying “you’re an idiot” and walk away.
Barback follows me to my table telling me off the whole way. “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN DOING THAT OKAY SIR, YOU WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING IF YOU WERE ME.”
Man, it’s over, I’m already back at the table with my friends.
21. She tried to pull the wool over their eyes.
At a restaurant with a friend. He orders a club sandwich (they cut them in four corners). On the way to our table food in hand, one of the corners falls on the floor right in front of us. The lady stops, takes the plates back, cleans the food off the floor, and then comes back with his food presented as if there should only be three pieces to it
22. How is this allowed?
Ordered garlic naan at an Indian restaurant in the UK once, the waiter took the full order, then disappeared into the back, came out 30 seconds later with his jacket on, and left to go the Tesco opposite, came back in with a nasty processed packet of pitta bread, and served us that after he obviously microwaved it….me and my friends were beyond flabbergasted, we mentioned it at the end of the meal, he flat out denied it!!
23. Well, at least there was a good explanation.
I went to a Mexican restaurant that was completely empty on a Saturday night.
-A clump of hair/dust in the salsa
-Music cranked up so loud that the water on the table rippled
-Empty dance floor, a DJ that came out, stared at us and counted to three in Spanish over and over again in a Satanic voice
-A pretty ok enchilada…
-When attempting to pay with a credit card, making sure to get a signature because “the cops have been around”
-A toothless man wandering around near the cash register with a guitar just laughing and spouting nonsense
-A friend’s report that there was a man most likely getting head in the bathroom.
We later found out that it was raided by SWAT two days later becuase it was a front for some sort of illegal cartel.
24. That was…a bumpy ride.
We decided to go to a very nice steak house on a whim. Valet park the car and go in. Place our order, apps come out and are great. We see the manager and the seating host going to every table, but they look very concerned; not the typical “How’s your meal?” The manager gets out our table and he asks if we valet parked the car and we said yes. He then asks if it was a red Nissan. We said it was and I got a bad feeling when he said “was”. He then asks us to follow him out front.
We get outside and there’s a cop car. I’m thinking someone hit my car or something. NOPE! Two kids hopped in my car and took off! Right from the valet. I was in total shock as this had never happened to me before and it was a crappy 2004 Nissan!
The manager and head valet were falling over themselves apologizing. We got a free meal and they offered to pay for a cab.
My husband goes inside to fill out some paperwork and I’m sitting outside in shock. The cop pulls back up and said,”We got ’em!”
We got to ride in the back of a cop car to pick up mine in the middle of the hood. Felt like the movie ‘Date Night’ for a while. At least we got a free meal and a good story out of it.
Still haven’t been back to the restaurant though.
25. What is this, a restaurant for ants?
I was a small child, in a small town where the fanciest restaurant was a Ponderosa Steakhouse. One night, my parents decided that a fine meal was in order, so we made our way there.
If you’ve never been to a Ponderosa: imagine a middle-school cafeteria buffet dropped into a steakhouse that needed to be remodeled in the 70’s. The tables were plastic, the chairs were folding metal contraptions, the indoor-outdoor carpet had a disquieting green shimmer to it, and the blinds stayed shut so that you couldn’t quite see what you were eating.
My father was a quiet, unassuming man. I can count on one hand the times I saw him get angry. Dinner at the Ponderosa was one of those times, and it was the only time I ever heard him swear in public.
When we arrived, it was clear that everyone working there wished they were working somewhere else. The hostess was surly, and the waiter acted like he was doing us a favor by taking drink orders. But, hey, it’s a buffet/steakhouse, we weren’t there to make friends. We were there to eat until we regretted it.
Well, we didn’t even get to eat a bite before we regretted it.
My dad and I went to the buffet, filled our plates (and one for mom), and returned to the table. I slid my fork into the mashed potatoes. I brought the fork to my mouth. I realized the pepper flakes were moving (continued).
“What the F***?!”
I dropped my fork. My dad’s idea of harsh language was “gosh-durn.” I’d never heard him lay down an f-bomb before, much less one fueled by that much rage, and it legit scared me. I was a small child. I began to cry. My father’s gaze was fixed on his green beans, which were also moving.
A waiter came over, with a manager in tow. They began very sternly reprimanding my father for using such language in a family restaurant, and informed him that his behavior would have to improve if we wanted to stay.
My father, who stood just shy of 6’9″, silently got to his feet and glared down at the suddenly quiet Ponderosa employees.
“Sir,” the manager started, much more respectfully this time.
“There are ants in this food,” my father interrupted him. “About a thousand ants.”
“Sir,” the manager started again.
“We’re going to leave. We’re not going to pay. But first, you’re going to apologize to my family for trying to feed them this crap, and you’re going to apologize to me for speaking to me like that in front of my wife and son.”
By this point, everyone else in the restaurant (maybe four or five other families) had stopped eating and were either inspecting their food or watching this scene unfold. One guy got up and went to the buffet with a little pocket flashlight. He clicked it on, took a look at the food, clicked it back off, and began dry heaving.
The manager and waiter were frozen. Neither one was apologizing, and that was pissing my dad off worse.
“Come on,” my father said gesturing to my mother and I. The three of us walked out of the restaurant, with all of the other patrons following behind. The manager snapped out of his trance long enough to flip out and start shouting at everyone that they couldn’t leave without paying. Turns out they could.
The Ponderosa closed its doors forever later that week. It belongs to the ants now.
26. Definitely not worth the novelty.
I ordered a cheddar-stuffed cheeseburger for lunch at a sports bar/restaurant in Indianapolis. I was intrigued because I’ve tried fixing this type of burger before, but the cheese always runs out and the whole burger gets ruined.
Burger comes out and the first thing I notice is that it’s shaped more like a meatball than a burger patty. The entire burger was at least 4 or 5″ tall. I take a bite and… no cheese. There’s just this big, hollow, golf-ball size spot in the middle where I assume cheese once resided. Oh well, I figure I still have a burger I can eat, even though it’s not the cheesy meat pinata I’d been hoping for.
I take 2 more bites and I notice that there are bits of pink meat spread out in weird spots in the meat. Usually, the center or one side will be a little pink, but there were 4 or 5 1-cm bits of pink spread out through the whole thing. I have no idea how they accomplished that, unless some of it was frozen (continued).
I ask the waiter what’s going on with this burger and he basically explains that it’s not uncommon for the cheese to run out during cooking. Why would you put an item on the menu that turns out crappy at least some of the time? Why would you serve it?
I didn’t even eat half of it. The waiter noticed my full plate and comped me for the cost of the burger (but still charged me for my drink and fries).
Completely lost my appetite for the rest of the day. I forced myself to eat a small bag of Doritos for dinner. 12 hours to the minute after setting that raw hamburger down, I jump out of my hotel bed, run to the bathroom. Let’s just say that burger and I met again, out of both ends of my body.
Yup, food poisoning. Nothing quite compares to being stuck in another city in a dodgy hotel puking up blood and bile thinking you’re going to die. The conference I had to attend at 8:00 AM was a blast, lemme tell ya. I’m glad no one knew me, because I looked like a hot-mess. I even popped a blood vessel in one of my eyes. That’s the only meal I’ve ever had that ruined 24 hours of my life.
27. You never know what you’ll find in a stack of pancakes.
I had a big piece of plastic, like the ring around the top of a water bottle in my hash browns at IHOP once that I almost choked on. I thought it was a fake finger nail. Totally lost my appetite.
28. Just stay home.
I had a sick waitress sneeze on my burger at Applebee’s. After ordering a new one, she did it again and responded “You’re gonna have to eat this one, cause I’m not getting you another.” When I left I saw her do this to another group at a booth.
29. Some people just don’t get it.
The server being arrogant and acting like we were wasting his time, messing up our orders and other stuff.
But that wasn’t the problem. I had decided already that I wasn’t going to tip the guy. It was very clear in my mind: this guy really ruined the supper, and all we talked about during this meal is how big of a jerk that guy was.
Well figure this out: I gave that guy $20 for a $14 meal, expecting change. Nope, the guy said thanks without smiling and started walking away.
It goes without saying that I called him back half a second later and told him that I was expecting $6 back.