Hospo Voice

11 types of customers that are guaranteed to annoy your waiter

May 17, 2021

There’s one in every lunch or dinner service. Those restaurant patrons that don’t follow the normal rules of etiquette. You know the ones, the diners who make you wonder why you work in hospo. They’re so obnoxious that you almost want to spit in their meals. Except you don’t of course, that would be gross.

We’ve spoken to some of our members and here are 11 types of customers that are guaranteed to epically piss them off.

1. The customer that sits at the dirty table

What’s with that? You’re frantically cleaning tables after a busy lunch service and there are like 5 tables already cleaned and sanitised. But these people don’t look around for clean tables. Oh no, they want that one table in the corner that we haven’t got to yet.

So they sit down then they look at us pointedly and say: “Um, can you give this a wipe?” Yep, except you could have saved us the rush by sitting at a table already cleaned and set.

2. The phone obsessed

It’s ok to be on your phone as you wait for a table. And take a photo of the meal for Instagram if you must. But then put your phones away, ok?

There’s only limited space on your table and your hot meals should probably take pride of place over your mobile. Plus, no one likes to hang with someone who is constantly distracted by notifications and comments. It’s just rude.

3. The ‘gluten-free’ bread roll eater

Don’t insist on us preparing a special gluten-free meal for you and then eat the free bread roll. Or worse still, complain that you didn’t get one.

By all means if you have a dietary requirement, let us know. Even better, tell us when you book so we can prepare something.

But don’t kick up a fuss about being coeliac/ lactose intolerant/ vegan and then munch away on something we’ve excluded from your meal.

4. The customer that designs their own meal

Unless you’re in Sizzler, you can’t completely create your own unique dish from the ingredients on the menu. Asking for dressing on the side, or for no tomato in your salad is one thing. And we totally get the need to adjust for allergies and intolerances.

But changing the dish until it’s unrecognisable? Not cool. Chefs put a lot of time and thought into designing well-balanced dishes. Give us a chance to show you we know what we’re doing. Sometimes when you order outside your comfort zone, you can be pleasantly surprised. 

5. The no show

When people make reservations, it gives us a good idea of how many staff to roster on. We can better prepare – we make food ahead of time, set tables and arrange our bookings based on those reservations.

So when you don’t turn up, or only 4 of you arrive when you’ve booked for 12, it really messes us up.

Just give us a ring and let us know if there’s a change. It’s just… polite.

6. The owner’s third best friend

Don’t tell us you know the owner. It won’t impress us, in fact we know the owner too.

You won’t get special treatment. We treat everyone well – it’s our job.

7. The customer who can’t decide

You say you’re ready to order so we come over. Then you um and aah while you continue to pore over the menu.

“Do I feel like eggs or pancakes, it’s just SO HARD.”

It’s just super annoying, and it means other (more decisive) customers have to wait longer for their meals.

If you say you need a couple more minutes, we will come back, promise!

8. The impatient customer

We get it, you’re hangry. But don’t tell us you’ve been waiting for your meal for half an hour when it’s been ten minutes.

You may have noticed that there are lots of other people seated. We have to prepare their meals before we get to yours.

If you’re in a rush, let us know when you arrive so we can do our best to get your order out quickly. Or we can let you know if we’re really busy and there might be a bit of a wait. 

And please don’t say things like “what are you doing back there, slaughtering the cow?” It’s just not helpful.

9. The free range kids

We understand that it’s hard to keep small, active children at a table. But for the love of god, don’t let them run uncontrolled around the dining room.

Not only is it disruptive for other customers, but it can also be dangerous. We’re carrying plates of hot food and can’t always see smaller humans.

And while we’re on the topic of kids – you wouldn’t let your kids squirt sauce on the table at home or make sugar mountains. Please, don’t let them do it when they’re out. 

10. The finger clickers

It doesn’t matter whether it’s clicking your fingers, whistling or doing some other gesture with your hands. If it’s something you’d also do to get the attention of your dog, then you shouldn’t use it for your waiter.

Believe it or not, we’re people too, and we’re not your servant. A simple wave or ‘excuse me’ as we walk past will get our attention. We may not drop everything to immediately get your ramekin of aioli, but if we know you need something, we’ll be back shortly. 

11. The sleaze

We’ve smiled while we’ve seated you. We’re attentive and kind. We don’t want your phone number, we just want to be a good waiter. It’s our job to help you enjoy the experience.

We hospo workers are harassed every day. We face suggestive remarks, unsolicited invitations and even being groped. Gross. Respect in the hospitality industry is still an enormous problem and we’ve all got to learn that respect is the rule.

Ok, we’ve had our whinge! Let’s face it, these customers are the minority and the rest are just lovely. We’re proud of what we do and as long as our customers are respectful and friendly, we love helping them have a wonderful night out.  

Want to read more about working in hospo?

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