Hospitality work is, put politely, character building. Between the fast-paced environment, endless piles of dirty dishes, and ‘the customer is always right’ mentality (newsflash: they’re not) it’s a wonder how waiters don’t snap after three shifts. If you’ve worked in a cafe or restaurant before, you’ve probably already met these eight tricky customers.
1. The customers who ask stupid questions
It’s impossible to go a day at work without a customer asking a stupid question. I have honestly been asked “Is there chicken in the chicken special burger?” and “What’s the difference between the small and large salads?”
I of course replied “Well one is big and one is small”.
2. The customers who are there to complain
Some customers have this almost superhuman ability to come up with the most colourful complaints. The two major kinds of complaints are:
- My food is taking too long
- Why can’t I get (item on breakfast menu) after breakfast? (or a lunch item before lunch etc etc.)
Yes, we get blamed because apparently the serving staff are also the chef and boss all in one. Unfortunately we don’t get paid nearly that well.
3. The disturbingly inappropriate customers
There’s always a select few that make you cringe. Once, when an old dude inserted his credit card in to an Eftpos machine at a cafe I worked at, he said to my colleague “It’s been a while since I’ve inserted it”. And then winked.
4. The customers who ignore you (or order whilst on the phone)
Me: “Hello, how are you today?”
Me:“Can I help you?”
Customer: even silent-er silence
Me: “What can I get for you today?”
Customer:“I want …”
“Okay, lovely manners have a great day!!!”
5. The customers who want it all
It usually begins after they’ve received their meal. Often with something small – can I have tomato sauce? Then it gets stranger – do you have vinegar? And then it won’t stop.
Can I add chips to my order?
I need more water.
Two more soy decaf caramel lattes with cream on the side.
6. The customers who forget what they ordered
The blank faces are priceless when you go over to a table holding three heavy plates announcing what people ordered over again… because the whole table suddenly forgets what the ordered and how to speak. I mean honestly – who forgets about food?
7. The parents who leave their kids mess
Us waiters totally understand that it’s part of our job to clean – but why the hell is it so hard for some parents to at least help a little with the mush their children make. It’s not fun cleaning up scrambled eggs that’s smeared all over the table, high chair and ground.
8. The customers who come in literally five minutes before you close
You’ve worked the whole day or night and you’re going home in five minutes. Then customers waltz in just before you’re able to put the ‘Closed’ sign up. It’s a real struggle.
The worst thing is when the customer has a little giggle because it’s apparently SOOOOOOO funny.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of us waiters and waitresses love hospitality life. But we all have those days where we want to bang our head against a brick wall. Got a worse customer story? Share it in the comments!