Food Service Horror Stories

Four horror stories to scare you into Halloween.

by Cecilia Callozzo / Garnet & Black

As the fall season kicks in, that means Halloween is just around the corner. People are starting to set up their haunted houses, curate their spookiest costumes and come up with the best tricks to keep everyone on their toes. However, those aren’t the scariest things this season. For some, the most heart-pounding moment is when they’re serving a customer at their respective restaurants. Instances of horror in the food industry could be the looks they get from a judgmental “Karen” whenever they get their order wrong, seeing that a family of five didn’t leave a tip on a table and the worst of them all: having to tell someone that no, they don’t serve Sprite but they do in fact have Sierra Mist. For Halloween, instead of the usual stories about werewolves and vampires, four students at the University of South Carolina tell their most horrifying food industry stories. 

Morgan and the Rehearsal Dinner Gone Wrong 

Wedding rehearsal dinners. Every bride wants absolute perfection on their wedding day, and they will stop at nothing to get it. What’s scarier than the bridezilla though? The mother. Morgan Morrison was a server in charge of the rehearsal dinner, and she explains how as soon as the mother walked into the room, she started to complain about how everything was set up. She says, “I had zero time to ask how her day was, you know, like a normal server would.” Morrison decided to let the mother do whatever she wanted to the room and didn’t want to interfere even further as she was afraid that the mother would cause even more of a scene. However, As the night went on (and two glasses of wine later) the mother had begun to calm down. The party began to do speeches and as their server, it was Morrison’s job to clear their dirty plates and cups but when she came back to check on them, someone had locked her out of the party space. “I couldn’t even do my job,” she says, a bit exasperated. She eventually had to knock on the door to be let in, and every eye was on her. “I walked in there like I had interrupted a funeral,” she says, “the mother of the bride looked at me like she was going to murder me. No joke.” 

Camille and the Rude Police Officer 

To some, 50% off a police officer’s meal is understandable. To Camille Szottfried, there's a specific police officer that comes in that makes her blood boil. She would rather make him pay full price just to spite him. “Him and his buddies always come in super late, and they never tip. Never!” Szottfried says, explaining even further that it’s an almost every night thing. Her coworkers always dreaded the moment he stepped foot into the restaurant. The restaurant where Szottfried works closes late at night, too. In order for them to close on time, they close off the back so no one would be able to come inside. They even put up the “close” sign as a finishing touch. However, the sign does not stop him and the other police officers from coming inside and instead, they do the complete opposite. “They’d come in, turn on the lights, move the closed sign, and take the chairs down,” she says. Whenever they tried to close just a few minutes early, the police officer would call and complain. “I don’t like police officers, especially him,” she says. 

Andrew Doe* and the Rowdy Friday Night

*For anonymity reasons, the person has given a fake name*

“It was a busy Friday night, as all good horror stories start out,” Andrew Doe says. He talks about how two other servers had called out, and he was left with a rowdy table of four. “It was common, though, for a Friday night,” he says. “I wasn’t going to let it get to me.” That was until the party of four turned into a whopping party of 13. Doe had to move them around the restaurant, trying to keep everything together and not lose his mind in the moment. Someone then came up to Doe and told him they had a reservation at 8 PM. At that point, 8 PM was long gone. Doe was already stressed about serving the party of 13, but now had to deal with a completely different group of people. By the time closing came around, the whole restaurant was in complete shambles. Doe had to deal with not only cleaning up the table but as well as cleaning up the whole restaurant. He says, “And the worst part? The entire party of 13 didn’t even tip on an over $300 bill.” 

Brianna and the Fundraiser from Hell

For Brianna Griffith, at her place of work, there was a percent night happening for one of the sororities on campus. Her worst nightmare was coming true as she saw a line start to form out the door. Online orders began to pile on top of each other, and no one was doing them. “Typically, there should be three people working up front and two people working on the online orders,” she explains. “This night, though, we only had two people working up front and one person working on online orders.” Griffith talks about how she was bouncing back and forth from one place to another, trying to get online orders out as well as the in-person orders. While she was doing this, a couple (who were not there for the percent night, she wanted to add) came in and were “incredibly annoyed and unpleasant after waiting in line for so long.” They wanted a side of their house dressing, but not just one side, they wanted five. “We had a very limited supply,” Griffith says, “I explained the situation to them, and they got mad at me, telling me that it was ridiculous.” They wanted a discount since they had to wait for so long and finally popped the “Where’s your manager?” question. Her manager explained word for word what Griffith had just told them and in response, the couple said very colorful words and stormed away. “That sucked because we were all trying our best,” she says, “but they didn’t care and obviously thought the world revolved around them.”

This fall season, it’s best to treat servers and food service workers with the respect they deserve. Not just this fall season, but all year. They all go through a lot for a minimum wage paycheck, and some of them barely even get tips. Next time you go out to eat, make sure you keep in mind that your server cashier is human, too. Don’t be a monster just because it's almost Halloween.