A Recent History of Restaurant Employees Writing Nasty Things About Customers

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"I'll give YOU a special order!" Photo: iStockphoto

Successful restaurant empires often thrive on uniformity and strict control (not to mention good food and relatively warm service). But employees can always play the wild card, going rogue to insult customers or slip something nasty into someone's Sprite. Yesterday, Chick-fil-A had to defend its own honor after an Orange County employee inserted racist stereotypes on two customer receipts. But the recently beleaguered chicken chain can probably take some comfort in knowing that this sort of thing happens to plenty of chains. In fact, many employees go much, much further. Here, we present a short history of some distasteful things done by restaurant employees to their own customers. Take a look.

2006: Purportedly launched by Red Lobster employees, the Red Lobster blog sounds off on everything from customer haberdashery and intelligence to a mutual hate of coupons. But really, this says it all. [RLB]

2009: A waiter at Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills slammed Hung actress Jane Adams on his Twitter feed for dining and dashing. He must have had a lot of fun doing it, as he continued bashing other celebs like Ali Larter and B.J. Novak, who innocently showed up for a bite. Once the tweets started gaining traction, the waiter found himself canned. [Grub Street]

April 29, 2010: A Brooklyn deliveryman tells Gothamist he "got tired of all these big companies, these TV shows and movie sets giving us two or three dollar tips on a $90 order," and starts <15%, calling out bad tippers everywhere and encouraging all servers to get into the game with their own photos of particularly weak gratuities. [Gothamist]

May 2010: A manager at San Francisco's Eureka Lounge detailed his frustrations at customer demands for a table with this observation in the restaurant's newsletter: "Some of our patrons behave like a 7 year old that has been put in a 'time out' when they are not able to be seated upstairs." The chef chimed in right after with his substitutions policy, "YOU CAN DO THAT WHEN YOU BUY YOUR OWN RESTAURANT!” [Eater SF]

May 2010: Apparently, <15% didn't hit Charlotte, North Carolina, in time, as a waitress at Brixx Pizza chased down a couple she grew to hate for keeping her late and tipping her poorly with a rant on Facebook that mentioned the restaurant's name and ended, "Thanks for eating at Brixx ... you cheap piece of ---- camper." She promptly lost her job. [Charlotte Observer via HuffPo]

August 2010: Giving North Carolina a second dose of employee misbehavior, a Domino's delivery driver was fired after writing a racial slur about tipping so offensive we won't even print it. After being fired, he then started calling the customer to leave her more nasty messages. [KABC via Gawker]

November 16, 2010: It's not hard to comprehend the temptation a group of clever Burger King employees must have felt in Sacramento. The crew simply changed the "Thank You" featured on receipts with a giant "Fuck You." Believe it or not, people noticed, leading to the firing of both a manager and a staffer. [Eater SF]

November 27, 2010: After receiving the wrong order from a Pizza Hut branch in Hastings, Nebraska, a customer called to complain about the bungled delivery. Two days later, she ordered again, receiving two pies, along with a receipt that gave the warning: "[T]his gal is a bitch." The woman admits she wouldn't have even looked at the receipt if the delivery driver hadn't pointed to an ad for an in-store contest. [KHASTV via Eater]

April 2011: Landmark Steakhouse was hit with a major lawsuit after a customer received receipts printed with truly horrifying personal and racial slurs. [OC Weekly]

May 3, 2011: Not to be outdone by any anonymous blog about bad tippers, Memphis waitress Megan Humphrey took it a step further by posting photos of bad tippers on her Facebook page. No word on whether or not it cost her a job. [WMCTV]

September 21, 2011: Although he picked up some attention for his music career, one Starbucks employee was fired for posting a YouTube music video that complains about the brand's customers. Sample lyric: "Hey, rich white lady, I know what you want / You want a skinny vanilla latte, young debutante." [Merced Sun Star]

September 27, 2011: In a bad week for Starbucks, a barista in New York skipped secret messages in receipts to simply scrawl "Bitch" on a customer's drink. [HuffPo]

October, 2011: A waitress at a Hooters in Johannesburg, South Africa, was not only fired, but sued for $65,000 after writing "darkies" on a group's receipt. The store had to face its own fine of $13,000 for the slur. [Racism Daily]

October 2011: Not that customers are totally off the hook themselves. In Seattle this year, one guest left his waiter with the tip, "you could stand to lose a few pounds." She did the natural thing and attacked him on Facebook. [Jezebel]

Related: Chick-fil-A Responds to Racist Receipts in Orange County