Restaurant managers deal with a lot on the daily basis. Along with keeping the restaurant running and the employees in check, these managers have to deal with rude customers as well. The best stories come from complaining customers not knowing who they are speaking with. The "I am the manager" moments are priceless. In this piece, managers share a time they got to tell a rude customer off. Keep in mind, content is edited for clarity.
"When I was 19, I was promoted to manager of the front of the house in this little seafood place I'd been working at since I was about 15. On the back of house manager's days off, I'd be the only manager there.
This woman used to come in and order the clam chowder about once a week, eat it all, and then claim it was made differently than the last time and demand that it be comped. For some reason, the previous manager always just did it. But it annoyed me that she was being rewarded for being dishonest since we had the same recipe and followed it exactly since the place had opened. I was just WAITING for her to try it on me and finally, she did. I was the only manager there that day and sure enough one of the waitresses said she needed a comp for a table and there was the cheapskate.
I went over there, and she told me 'Last time you had all kinds of vegetables in this chowder! I'm not paying for it!' I was like, 'Ma'am, we've been making that chowder the same way since the place opened and you know it as well as I do. So you can either pay for it like a decent person, or I can comp it and you are not welcome here ever again.' Cue her demanding to see the manager. I nearly burst out in an evil villain style cackle when I informed her that she was looking at the manager. She tried to argue for a couple minutes and then finally gave up, paid, and never came back."
"I was being trained as a manager a few months ago. On my first day managing the floor by myself, a customer from earlier in the day came by demanding to speak to the manager on duty because (to make a long story short) we royally messed up her '$45 order' and that we had to replace everything.
Now, I'm a rather petite lady, and I have a baby face. I also didn't have a manager shirt yet (my size had to be custom ordered), but I was a full-fledged manager.
I said I was the manager and asked what her name was, so I could check my 'problem customer' book in the office and see if her name was there. It wasn't. No problem, I just asked to see her receipt. Surprise surprise, she doesn't have a receipt from about two hours ago. Sorry, lady. You aren't in the problem book and you don't have a receipt. Best I can do is some free food coupons, like ice cream or a free sandwich. She asked to speak to the manager. Honey, I AM the manager tonight. She said I was, 'inadequate as a manager' and that I deserve to be fired. I told her I was sorry, but I couldn't replace her order and at most I could give her one free meal. She screeched and stormed out."
"I ran an ice cream shop. I must have had to say, 'Actually, I am the manager,' at least once a week.
My favorite was this woman I eventually banned from the shop. She would come in with her husband and bratty kids. Then she would try to order a large (three scoops) and ask me to put it in three single scoop cups, but only charge for the large.
I said no. You either order three single scoops or you order a large. The difference in cost is quite a bit, but it's fairly standard for companies to do it this way. I wasn't having it. She got mad that I wouldn't do it. First she said, 'Well the manager let me do it last week.'
'No I didn't,' I told her flatly.
'Well then, whoever was working let me do it and they said they were the manager.'
'No, they didn't. I believe my workers over you.'
'Well, I want to talk to the manager.'
'I am the manager. You are talking to me. I said no.'
'Fine!' And she and her little family stormed out without any ice cream. No skin off my back. She was rude to me and my workers, I wasn't going to let her treat us that way.
Then she called the shop the next day, when I was working again. She said, 'Hello, I need to speak to the manager.'
'Speaking. How can I help you?'
'I was in there yesterday and some little hussy lied and said she was the manager, but she wouldn't let me get what I wanted...'
'That hussy was me. You're banned from our location. Don't come back.'
She tried to call corporate to report me. Corporate outsources complaints to the manager with the highest rating in the area. Which was me. So when she called corporate to complain about me, she also got me. I wrote up the details of the conversation and forwarded all of her messages to the district manager, and he agreed with my decision and allowed me to send her an email officially banning her from the store."
"A salesman walks into the reception area where I happened to be. I ask him if I can help him, and he barely acknowledges my existence. A few more attempts, and he says wants to talk to someone more senior. At that moment one of the staff enters, who is older than me. The salesman immediately tries to flag him down and asks to speak to someone in charge. He points at me and says, 'Well the owner is standing right there.'"
"Helped to open a new restaurant and started out as a grill cook, fast-forward three months later, the assistant general manager resigns, and they offer me the position. Since I came up through the ranks with everyone I worked with I was a pretty laid back manager and the employees and I had a mutual respect. Anytime something needed to be done I would hop onto the grill, grab a drink order, help hostesses or clean up here and there.
One night near closing time the old manager comes in. No problem, chat for a bit, some of the staff chats for a bit and everyone generally goes on their way and gets their closing routine finished up. I go to office to start working on my paperwork and cashing out the waitstaff, come back out an hour after closing expecting to be ready for a final walk-through and I find out that the grill is still on.
This wouldn't be too big of a deal at a lot of places, but we're a Mongolian BBQ, our grill is a six-foot diameter steel circle that takes 30 minutes to cool down before you can clean it. I start looking around for my grill cook (the only one left) and find him on the patio smoking and pounding drinks.
Me: Joe, why haven't you started cleaning the grill? We closed an hour ago?
Joe: I'll do it when I finish my drink.
Me: No, go do it now. Everyone else is done and now we're stuck here until you get it cleaned up.
Joe. Eff you witch, I'll do it when I finish my drink.
Me: Not gonna work, either put the drink down and clean the grill or put the drink down and go home. I'll have BigBoss call you tomorrow to see if you still have a job.
Joe: Whatever, you can't fire me.
Me: ~walks over, takes drink, dumps it out~ I'm your manager and I promise that I can in fact fire you. Have a good night Joe, go home. ~walk inside, lock door to patio and proceed to clean grill~
Called the GM the next day to let him know what happened, and he backed me entirely. I think he even tried to come into work that night and BigBoss had him taken off the property."
"This happened to me a few years ago in a small town, locally owned restaurant.
I was working the night shift with a cook and another waitress. We don't have a supervisor or manager on duty at night because it's such a small place and there are usually no complaints or issues. The restaurant is dead, and we are closing up for the night when a woman strolls in and orders a hamburger. Easy, the other waitress working that night serves her and goes back to dish duty.
Halfway through the burger, the customer stops the waitress and complains that she ordered a cheeseburger not a regular and there is a hair in her food. The waitress apologized, sincerely thinking she got the order wrong. The customer then pulls the bun off and sitting neatly on top of her half burger patty is one long, blonde hair. The waitress is black and has short hair, our cook is bald, and I am a red head.
The customer demands that she get a free cheeseburger and demand that she doesn't have to pay for this one either. I quickly call the owner and fill him in on the situation, and he agrees to let her have the free meal. I worked with the same two people the next night, when the same blonde woman comes in and again, orders a hamburger and tries her little scam out on us thinking we've got amnesia. As soon as she insists that she ordered one with cheese and that there's a hair in it, I quickly rush over and act, knowing that if she gets away with it tonight as well, my coworkers and I will be docked another collective $10 for two burgers we had to give away from our already tiny paychecks.
I walk up to the counter and ask the woman what the issue is, and she immediately starts screaming that we're poisoning her by putting our 'bodily parts' in her food. She shows me the long blonde hair and claims she also asked for cheese. I informed her that no one who is working has hair like that in her burger. She insists and throws a fit, expecting us to give in just as easily as last night. I call the cook out, and she sees that no one working that night has long, blonde hair.
She comes back with, 'You must not clean well, this hair is from people on the morning shift and is in my food!'
I lose it, slam my fists on the counter top, get real close to her and whisper, 'Listen to me, you cheap witch, you came in here last night and pulled the same stuff. It costs me money to give you free food. I'm not stupid.'
She gasps and tells me that she knows the owner and won't stand to be cursed at by the likes of me.
Not wanting to call the owner and confirm, I was pretty confident that she didn't in fact know the owner and was playing me for a chump.
I shot back with a hasty, 'Oh really, we've met? Because I don't seem to recall you!'
She shut her mouth and searched for something to say while I got closer to her and told her 'Get out of my restaurant. If you ever come back, I'll have you arrested for theft.'
She grabbed her purse, dug for her wallet and slammed a fist full of cash on the counter. As she walked out the door, she turned around and gave me a look.
While I screamed, 'OUT' at the top of my lungs.
The wad of cash contained $56. We rung up the amount of her bill and split the change, counting it as a well-deserved tip."
"About 15 years ago, I worked as a waiter at a neighborhood pub/restaurant in a relatively small town. Lots of regulars came here, mostly to drink, but families did also come in for dinner. Generally speaking, it was the same faces coming in and out the door daily. On Sunday evenings, the owners wouldn't come in, and myself and three or four long-time buddies would be the waiters on duty. Sundays were usually fairly slow, so we did a lot of prep work and a LOT of slacking off.
Now that the stage is set, I can tell you about our Manager, who we'll call Gil because that is his name. Gil was a very sociable, funny, and incredibly sarcastic person who rarely served tables and outwardly made it clear he didn't particularly enjoy working at a restaurant. Well, one Sunday night Gil decided he would take one of the waiters' sections to try it out (we didn't mind, Sundays were a joke). Gil had three tables and was so deep in the weeds it was hysterical. He was sweating and running around like a chicken with his head cut off. One of his tables ordered a soup, and Gil placed a soup spoon beside the bowl, which the customer looked at and noticed it was dirty then - rightly - asked for another spoon. Gil rushed to the kitchen, got another spoon, shined it with a napkin to ensure it was clean then put it down on the table. Again the customer said the spoon was dirty so Gil retorted 'well it's the cleanest one we've got' and stormed off to another table. When he walked by the table again, the customer was livid and asked to speak with the manager. Gil, without skipping a beat, said 'sure, one minute please', then did an on-the-spot circle like he was an Olympic figure skater and said 'yes, how can I help you?'
Needless to say, we didn't see that customer again."
"I used to manage a vape shop. We would get unruly customers all the time. Lots of cheap people.
This one guy comes in looking for a new tank. I show him our three most popular tanks. 'Too expensive.' He then points at a tank on my discount wall. The tank was a first generation and it’s about 4 years old. So I was very up front with him. 'Yes sir, it is a cheap tank. But I will let you know it’s not a very good tank. It’s one of the first tanks in the industry and is not great.'
He insisted on buying it, so I sold it to him. And I let him know 'alrighty sir, just be aware that we do not allow returns on tanks. So if you don’t like it, we can’t take it back.'
Cue 3 days down the road, he comes back complaining and moaning that I sold him a bunk tank. I said 'yes sir, I did. But I told you it was a bad tank and you still opted to buy it, against my warnings. I told you we won’t take it back.'
He threw a massive fit and insisted on speaking to the manager. And this was after insulting me and cussing at me multiple times. I smiled and said 'okay' and walked back to the office. Then I came back out and said 'I heard you needed a manager?' Oooooh he was angry. 'GIVE ME A DIFFERENT MANAGER.'
Me: 'Sir, I'm the only manager. Please leave my store. You are no longer welcome here.'
There were other managers. A district manager and a regional manager. But I had full autonomy in these matters, and they’d be angry if I had bothered them with this stuff.
His final words were 'you haven’t seen the last of me!'
I responded 'that’s okay, the police station is about 400 yards down the street. If I see you here again, they will be called.' And he just angrily stormed out never to be seen again.
Sorry bro. I straight up told you not to buy that tank. You insisted because you’re a cheapskate."
"I worked at a restaurant where you filled in a ticket with all the ingredients you wanted on your pasta/pizza/salad. There were large boards above a counter explaining how to order correctly. Once customers filled out their ticket they could bring it to the register. During a weekend lunch rush with a line of at least 25 people, a woman comes up to the counter and tells our cashier what she wants. When the cashier told her that he needed a ticket she got annoyed about the 'inconvenience,' all while the line builds up behind her. She demands to be given a ticket and begins filling it out right there.
Seeing this, I come up to the cashier and tell him to ring up the people behind her while she takes her sweet time making the important decision of which pasta sauce she wants. She finally finishes, pays, and sits with her gaggle of companions.
Later she comes up to me and tells me that my behavior of having the waiting customers pay before her was extremely rude. I respond by telling her we try to make sure every customer gets speedy service and her holding up the line because she didn't read our large signs was also rude to all of the other customers. She tells me that she'd like to speak to the manager to complain about me. With a gleeful (and maybe slightly evil) grin I reply, 'You already did. I'm the manager.' The look on her face when she realized she wasn't going to get to complain and feel vindicated about my 'mistreatment' of her was lovely and even though this was years ago, it still brings me joy."
"My parents owned a franchise deli some 12 years ago. My mom was there full-time making things run smoothly and my dad would be there sometimes to help out when he wasn't working his tech job. Well, this lady came in one time and ordered her food. When it arrived, she claimed that the kitchen made it incorrectly. My mom apologized for the inconvenience and comped her meal as well as gave her a certificate for a free sandwich next time the lady came in. So the lady came in again, ordered her food, and again claimed it was made incorrectly. My mom again apologized and gave her another coupon for a free sandwich. This happened probably one or two more times. My dad had heard about it and was convinced they were just being scammed by this lady.
Well, the next time the lady came in, my dad happened to be working the kitchen. Sandwich lady came through the drive-thru and ordered. My mom recognized her and, to make sure everything was perfect, my dad made her food himself and gave it to her. A couple minutes later, the lady called the store to say her food had been made wrong again! My mom set the phone down, went to my dad and said, 'That lady is on the phone and says you made her food wrong again...'
My dad said, 'You tell that hag I didn't make her food wrong and that she is never welcome in this restaurant again!'
My mom picked up the phone and said, 'Uh,' but the lady cut her off.
'I heard that! You tell that boy that he is fired!'
My mom responded with, 'Ma'am, that 'boy' is the owner of the restaurant.' The lady hung up and never returned! My parents both had a long laugh about that whenever they are thinking of all the stupid stuff that went on with that restaurant."
"I used to run a bar. I'd usually be in the office or supervising, but I got bored one night and covered the bar whilst the bartenders went out for a smoke break. This woman comes up with her friends and quickly becomes an 'annoying customer.' Takes forever to decide on drinks, keeps trying to get free shots, trying to haggle on drinks prices, all while being rather rude. I start to get irate as the bar starts to get busy, more and more customers are trying to get drinks, but this woman will not decide what she wants. Eventually, I tell her that there are other people waiting to be served, and I'll come back to her once she's ready to order.
That did not go down well. The woman starts shouting at me, saying how she could take as long as she wanted, she was there first, blah blah blah. She ended her ranting saying that she didn't want to speak to a horrible bartender anymore and demanded to see my manager. I oblige, go into the office (a door right next to the bar) wait for 30 seconds before coming out, come back to the woman, and say, 'I hear you've been having an issue with a member of my staff?'
Her: 'Is this an effing joke? I said to go and get your manager!'
Me: 'You're looking at him, love! And seeing as you've wasted my time and all the good folk's time, you can wait 'til everyone is served before you.'
The look on her face was priceless. She began swearing at me profusely, even tried to throw someone else's drink over me, by that point I had more than enough reason to throw her out of the bar, which I did, to the delight of the other patrons. I was tipped well after that, but I put that in the tip jar because managers don't get tips, at least the bar staff got some money and a laugh out of it!"
"Not the manager, but was in charge.
Working in a kitchen and whoever was on the close ran the shift. I closed the restaurant two or three times a week depending. I rocked into work one day, started doing my stuff and doling out tasks as and when they needed doing. One of the newer staff members decided they weren't following my orders because I wasn't any higher up the food chain than they were (in their eyes).
'Dude, Why should I do that? You're not a manager. I'm gonna carry on doing my job.'
At the time, this consisted of standing around waiting, because it was about 10pm on a Monday evening, and nobody was ordering food.
'Nah man, I'm on the close so it's my kitchen. We need to get this place cleaned, and I'm allowed to delegate roles. You're lucky I've given you an easy job really. You could be doing what Gary's gotta do, where you're guaranteed to get first degree burns if you're not careful.'
'Eff you. I've told you, I'm not listening to you. I'm done in two hours and you've got no power over me.'
Actual manager walks by at this point.
'Hey, kid. This is Dave's kitchen for the night. If he tells you to do something, you do it. He can run a kitchen better than I can, and if I have to come in here to make you do some actual work, I'll make sure he gets you cleaning behind the grills.'
It's always fun to see a lazy worker get reamed for being a prick."