From burnt spaghetti, to no sauce and no cheese pizza, food service workers share the strangest orders they’ve received from a customer.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
I had a lady tell me it was impossible to make the dish too spicy. When I told the cooks they took it as a personal challenge.
I don’t remember what they put in it, but I do know that someone ran to a grocery store for another ingredient. It was literally the spiciest thing I have ever smelled. Just being an arms length away from it for 30 seconds while I delivered it had me coughing and treats steaming down my face. Guests at nearby tables complained about the smell; just so much capsaicin in the air that people 15 feet away were uncomfortable.
She ate everything. She ate every single bite and then scraped up the remaining sauce and ate that too.
I worked in fine dining for a while.
I had one lady order creme brulee french toast with a fruit loops crust and a bottle of champagne with 2 carafes of orange juice.
We made it. We made a whole batch and the workers ate it. It was actually really good.
It was a hotel restaurant
I had a 4 top once that one of the gentlemen was ordering and asked for extra onion, and he made extreme emphasis on EXTRA ONION. So I go to put the order in and I have to talk to the chef to make sure he understands EXTRA ONION. So when the order comes out, I get a side plate of a cut WHOLE ONION. I giggle and take the order to the table. I put the orders of food in front of all the other guests and leave onion man for last. I set his plate of food and extra onion down, he looks up at me and starts laughing. The whole table is now laughing. Im like what…? Apparently wherever they go, no matter what he always has to ask for MORE onion, and this time my snarky chef nailed it.
It wasn’t so much the order that was disturbing, but the post order request. He asked me to chew up the food and put it back onto his plate. No medical reason. No missing teeth. Not old. Just creepy. He got very upset when I declined.
I worked at a restaurant/fish-market type of establishment, where we sold raw product but would also prepare the food on the spot. One day I was helping an old asian lady out and she told me had never had a whole lobster and would love to try one. As she was shopping in the fishMARKET portion, I assumed she wanted it live. So we went over to the lobster tank and she picked the happiest little lobster out there. I asked her if she wanted to pay $16.99 for it alive or $22.99 for us to cook and serve it to her. She decided to take it alive, so I took some time to weigh it out, and wrap it up in a takeout box for her to take home. I put it down on the table and walk away. A minute or two later I hear a commotion and come out to see this little asian lady with a knife trying to cut off the claw of the lobster… Apparently she thought that she was supposed to eat this thing live. I cooked it for her.
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Over the summer, I had a customer who came in for Sunday brunch and ordered a spinach and feta cheese omelette. She then adds that she would like it made without eggs. I clarified that she wanted an omelette WITHOUT eggs, not made with egg whites which is quite normal.
We made her a spinach feta salad and the customer was happy.
Customer asked for a spaghetti with a side of more noodles and extra sauce because they were going to share. So, I said “you’d like one spaghetti and then an additional order of spaghetti?” They told me I wasn’t getting it and they just wanted extra noodles and some sauce on the side. I told them we would have to charge for extra noodles, and they ended up not wanting it. They somehow thought free spaghetti was a reasonable request.
One couple in particular made the chef rage so hard she just walked out. Wife orders some meal and makes a ton of changes to it. She gets the plate takes one bite and sends it back because she doesn’t like it. Husband orders $60 lobster plate. The lobster tail comes with pepper sprinkled on top. The husband sends it back and wants a whole new one with no pepper on top. Apparently his wife wanted to try one piece but doesn’t like pepper.
I worked at a national pizza chain for a while as a manager. We used to get this guy who would order all the time. He was lactose intolerant so couldn’t have cheese, and had severe heart burn when he ate red sauce. He would order an XL Supreme with no sauce and no cheese. I told the guy if i did that, the toppings would just fly all over the box but he didnt care. We ended up just baking the dough separate from the toppings and put the toppings in a small wing box on the side for him. Guy said no other pizza place would do that for him and he turned out to be a great repeat customer who always tipped well.
Worked at a coffee shop and a girl ordered a hot cocoa. We have milk, dark or white chocolate, so I asked her which she would like- it was a very standard questions that we asked everyone. Then this happened…
“None of those, I just want oreos on top.” -girl
“Oh… um… do you just want warm milk with whipped cream and oreos?” -me
(Disgusted look and tons of sass) “No. I want hot chocolate with whipped cream and oreos on top.” -girl
“Okay great, so for us to make hot chocolate, we melt these little chocolate chips into milk. We have milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate chips, which would you like us to use?” -me
“No. You don’t get it. I want hot chocolate with whipped cream and oreos on top. I don’t want those chocolate chips” -girl
I just gave up trying and used milk chocolate. She was at least 15 too- seriously kid? Ugh.
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Well, I don’t even remember all the specifics, but I once had this old lady come into Olive Garden and order something and literally customize every ingredient. We had one promo entree that contained risotto. She asked me what risotto was, and then asked me to switch it out for plain brown rice and squash. Neither of which we had. We made all our sauces in house, but they weren’t made on the spot for each order. She even tried to customize the ingredients in the sauce. And the end of everything after I ran around trying to make her happy, she complained to management that I was incompetent for not being a magician and changing how a restaurant works.
I once had a guy place his order, and then say “And give me one of those spaghetti appetizers.”
I had been working there for a couple months, and we had no pasta dishes whatsoever on the menu. I politely tried to clarify this, but he wasn’t having it. He just kept getting more irate. He insisted that he eats here all the time, and he always gets the spaghetti appetizer.
Eventually, he gets up from his table, storms over to another one, and points at what he wants on another diner’s table. He was pointing at their cole slaw. And yes, as far as he was concerned, I was still the jerk for not knowing what he was talking about.
I worked at a pizza parlor, and the most ridiculous request was one that could have been so simple.
A lady calls and orders a “small pepperoni pizza with no pepperoni” I clarify and ask her “So just a small cheese?” To which the woman, clearly annoyed by my lack of understanding, says, “NO. A small pepperoni with no pepperoni.” I again clarify and ask “You want a pizza with sauce and cheese only?” “Yes.” “Ok so a cheese pizza.” “NO I WANT A SMALL PEPPERONI WITH NO PEPPERONI.”
We made her a cheese pizza. She didn’t call and complain. Still not sure what she thought she was ordering.
When I worked at McDonald’s some one asked for a Quarter Pounder medium rare, light ketchup with and extra toasted bun. It was a very slow time and we were all amused by it so I made one for him. He came back to compliment my cooking.
This happened in 1980. We used real grills and spatulas to cook the burgers then. We didn’t know about ecoli in ground beef. I made it by cooking it a little less than normal so it was still safe in any case.
I used to work at Whole Foods as a juicer and this one guy would come in everyday and order 12 ounces of garlic juice to go (which is like 20 dollars). After a couple weeks of seeing him order the same thing I asked him to drink it in front of me because I didn’t believe it was humanly possible to ingest that much garlic. He downed it all in front of me and said this “along with much garlic comes much loneliness,” I laughed and he said “no seriously I work from home.
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I work at a sandwich shop, but we’ve had people order really disgusting things. One guy ordered an Elvis sandwich (which is peanut butter, honey, banana, and bacon) and asked for coleslaw, pineapple, sauerkraut, and a whole bunch of other veggies, mustards/mayos. It was the grossest thing I’ve ever made. Found out after his friends paid him 20 bucks to eat the whole thing. He came back the next day and ordered it again because he liked it.
I also had a guy order an strawberry shake, and demanded that I thoroughly clean all the shake supplies and utensils before making it because he was lactose intolerant, and he didn’t want the Oreo shake stuff getting in his. I tried to explain to him that Oreo is vegan and that ice cream has lactose in it, but he wouldn’t hear anything of it.
I worked at a coffee shop that serves French crepes. One day a sour old man ordered. I make him a crepe with black bean burger, shredded coconut, pecans, whipped cream and powdered sugar. The dude ate every last bite of it. To be fair I don’t think that man had it together in his head.
Had my own restaurant … a client asked for a bottle of wine … I served it …2 minutes later client called me at his table and with a schmuck face telling me that the wine had a cork taint (trying to impress the people at his table that he knows wine) and that he wasn’t going to pay for that bottle demanding another bottle. I had to explain to him that that was impossible because that south african red wine had no cork but a screw cap…
Another time I had a table of 8 clients, they called in a week before they came over to eat, talking about the dishes they wanted. The woman on the phone said she was lactose intollerant and it was verry important there was no cream or dairy products in her meal … so I made my chef prepare her a nice 3 course meal withouth any of those products (that took much more time because it wasnt on the menu and everybody else took the same food)… she was very gratefull … then I noticed that after her dessert she ordered her second Irish coffee.
When I worked at a hibachi/sushi/Japanese place this family came in with an adult son who had some kind of mental disability and only wanted to eat breakfast food. The mom asked if we had bread, we didn’t, she went to the gas station next door and bought bread, and came back and asked me to toast it. Now, there is no toaster in the restaurant, and I had to explain to the barely English-speaking kitchen to cook three eggs rare on one side (sunny side up) and bread medium rare (toast)… It worked out and everybody was happy, chefs were super confused as to why anyone would want that.
Had a guy send one of our servers to the kitchen about 7 times, which is down the stairs far away from her section, to inquire about the weight of different hamburgers…all of them were the same yet he insisted she go down and check and would watch to make sure she did.
He sends her away to mull it over for a while and you can see him snickering with his equally douchey looking two sons. Finally the guy decides he wants a 24oz grilled “burger” with nothing else but the patty, no seasoning or anything. Not like some hulking bro trying to get extra protein, just an old jerk who wanted to mess with the poor server. Ate a bite, said he didn’t like it and ordered another burger. Tipped a very solid 0% after telling her “It’d all be worth it!”
This is why we’re all mildly functioning alcoholics.
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Not a waiter but a cook. Had a lady order her tofu scramble burnt. So I cooked it hard. She sent it back because it wasn’t burnt enough. So I cooked it harder. She sent it back again and the waiter said she really wants it burnt. So I got a wok super hot, put too much oil in and proceeded to burn the crap out of it. My chef came by and lost his temper. I explained it to him and he watched me burn just ruin the thing. It was black and smelled like a tire fire. She ate all of it and said we were the only place to get it right. She came back every weekend for it and we had to train new cooks how to burn the living fuck out of her food for her. I still can’t comprehend why she would eat that.
Barista here. We had a Narcotics Anonymous convention in town once. I had someone order a 16oz cup with as much espresso as would fit. It was something like 18 shots, cost about 25 bucks, and he downed it at the counter and went “woo!” Another NA guy wanted a 16oz cup with half vanilla syrup and half espresso. A lady regularly asks for a cup of regular coffee with a large spoonful of butter stirred in. We do breakfast sandwiches on bagels and croissants, and a businessman with a group of his colleagues had ham/egg/cheese, but he wanted it on a chocolate croissant. I think my favorite incident, though, was a lady that wanted a latte with half nonfat and half soy, a triple shot with one regular shot, one decaf shot, and one half-caff shot, heated to a specific temperature, double-cupped, one Splenda an one Equal stirred into the shots. The works, basically. The guy behind her thought it was as ridiculous as I did, and he loudly asked for a mocha drink, with one third goat’s milk, one third cashew milk, and one third giraffe milk, cooled with a chip of ice from a Norwegian glacier and topped with nutmeg and gold flake. Then he said, “Wait, is your giraffe milk fair trade? Ok never mind then, I’ll just have a cup of coffee.” He still comes in; I love that guy.
Not a waiter but manager. I worked for a really, really famous chef in a very meat focused restaurant in London.
I had a lady call in booking a huge table for her birthday. She was vegetarian and allergic to everything. Milk, wheat, nuts, onion, tomatoes, even chocolate. And a list of other things printed on a card. This was legit by the way, she sent me a medical report, with severity levels and reactions. something like this is not that uncommon but usually it gets dismissed as attention seeking or un needed drama. This lady also said she’s fine with anything, it’s her birthday, she’s not bothered what she eats, just wants all her guests to be happy without her dying.
Anyway, celeb chef owner was in that day for a shoot and new menu testing when I told him about this. He made it his personal project that day to make her a full course meal and even a flourless, egg free, dairy free, nut free carob (chocolate alternative) cake. With orange zest and some sort of sour cream she could have. They even used the test kitchen to prevent any cross contamination.
When the dinner was over, the chef had to be gone already, the lady came over to the kitchen in tears saying its the first time in 20 years she could have a birthday without a “fruit salad”.
We just gave her a note from the chef, saying: “Hope you had a great birthday and that you enjoyed the cake. Love, J “
It was awesome seeing how much effort went into this dish, and how happy it made her.
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I went out to eat with a coworker at a bar/restaurant and she ordered a “blackened Cajun chicken sandwich, no blackened, no Cajun”. The waiter says “so you just want a chicken sandwich?” And she was annoyed and says “NOOOO! I want a blackened Cajun chicken sandwich, just no blackened or Cajun”. She got a chicken sandwich and I got the right to make fun of her for the past 7 years.
We are not a fine dining establishment, it’s a small family style Italian restaurant.
This lovely gray haired gentleman would call ahead so that we could put a salad bowl in the freezer for him. After that I would go to his spot at the bar (or the closest one open to it) and set a large dinner napkin down (that he placed his salad/meal on). I would then place an empty wine glass with a napkin over it (per his request), just in case the dinner napkin didn’t specify that the seat was taken.
Once he got there I would go to the back and make his specific salad: Very little lettuce, extra mushroom, extra tomato, extra onion, no shredded cabbage, and no cucumber.
That would be after I get him two ice cold beer glasses for his 70/30 sweet/unsweet tea mixture with an extra glass of ice.
He would then attempt to engage in a 5-10 minute conversation about our specials for the evening, and how he could alter them.
The guy came in between 3-6 nights a week and always tipped fairly. He was the kind of nice old guy that would get you and your wife birthday cards because that stuff was important to him.
He then moved 45 minutes away and we never saw him anymore. I kind of miss him now.
Worked at Red Lobster, we had three frequent customers with specific needs that we always catered to.
The Lemon Man: Always wanted a bowl full of lemons. Normally we don’t give people multiple lemons because they just use it to make lemonade. This guy used lemons on everything from his biscuits to desert.
No-Garlic Lady: Always wanted the cheese biscuits without the garlic/butter coating on top. We would make a whole batch just for her.
Crispy Biscuits: This lady wanted her biscuits extra crispy, or she’d turn them away. Only a few people were ever able to make them to her satisfaction on the first try, and you prayed to God they were working that day if she walked in.
All three of these customers were of the elderly kind and tipped extremely well. Can’t say there was any “how did you deal with this” other than just doing it. Never understood why the managers let this be a thing.
I used to work at this corporate restaurant chain years ago. I had two women come in one time with six kids and not even let me get through my greeting before they put their hands up and demanded water all around. So, I walked away, poured the water, and dropped it off and took the order. A few minutes later I walked by the table and saw the drinks were colored bright red. Vexed, I didn’t want to stare, but I couldn’t help myself. Long story short I spotted a container of Kool Aid under the table.
Also, one time I served a local/semi-national sports celebrity. Aside from being a jerk, he requested a mustard and lettuce sandwich. “With what?” I asked. “White bread,” he replied. That’s it. Bread, mustard, and lettuce.
When I worked at Olive Garden, I once had a lady order a pasta dish that is generally made with rigatoni. However, she requested the rigatoni be substituted with angel hair pasta instead because she was allergic to it…
And let me clarify, it was not a gluten free/wheat substitution, it was regular pasta.
Naturally I gave her a very confused look as I waited for something else to follow, but nope, she stuck with that story. I’m now concerned that there is some monster of a doctor out there pronouncing people allergic to cylinders… Who knows what other shapes people are now living in fear of.