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For those who want to know everything.

The gift certificate that went viral

best.restaurantThere is a big problem in our culture.

You see it in line at the bank, at the fast food restaurant, at the post office, at the dog park, at the sports stadium, at your restaurant:  really bad behavoir.

Good news though!  You can help change it.

For real!?!

For real!  Read on, reader.

Part One:  The Guest


It is people that believe tantrums, belligerence, selfish attitudes and utterly rude behaviour are correct ways of showing how they feel.

It is people that believe that their feelings are above anyone else’s.  That if they are upset it is a HUGE PROBLEM, but if they make other people upset…it’s no big deal.

But the thing is, it IS a big deal.

People should not be allowed to belittle, demean, swear at or otherwise deeply offend another person.  And even above that, they should never be rewarded for this behavior.

First, to be clear, I would like to say that I become deeply troubled when a guest, my personal guest or any guest in the restaurant, is unhappy.  There are so many people who just want to have a nice experience.  Who can blame them? After all, what are they paying for? Answer:  A nice experience.  Lucky for us, most people showcase grown up behavior.

For the most part, there are a lot of adult like conversations happening:

Guest:  “I’m sorry Jennifer, but this beef is too rare for me.  Can you have it cooked a little longer?”

Jennifer:  “Absolutely.  I am so sorry about the inconvenience!  I will give this to Chef and have it prepared exactly how you want it.  Can I bring anything while you wait?”

Guest:  “Um, yes.  I suppose since my husband will keep his food, I’d like a glass of wine…just to have something in front of me.”

Jennifer:  “Excellent idea!  I’ll have the wine out right away and the steak out as soon as it is prepared.”


But sometimes, the conversation goes something like this:

Guest:  Finger snapping at me  “This steak is way to rare!  Look at it!! How am I supposed to eat this shit!?!”

Jennifer:  “Wow Sir.  How about I have them cook it up for you to your liking?”

Guest:  “Why wasn’t it cooked the way I asked for it to be cooked?! What kind of restaurant is this?  How hard is it to cook a steak right?!?”

Jennifer:  “I can’t give any acceptable (to you) reason why it wasn’t cooked correctly the first time.  May I remove it from your sight and have it cooked to the correct temperature?”

Guest:  “This is BULLSHIT!!!  I just wanted to have a nice steak!  I want to see a MANAGER!  This restaurant is horrible!”


Is the above type of conversation typical?  Thank God, no.

But if you are reading this as someone who has never worked in a restaurant, you might be thinking that this type of thing would NEVER happen.

And if you thought that, you’d be wrong.

There are many naughty, mean, rude and off hook psycho people out there and the moment something gets them upset, they freak out!

Part Two: The Manager


It is one thing to act rude, but is a whole other thing when the restaurant manager rewards the behavior.

It seems to be that belligerence, anger and tantrums hits some sort of default button for some managers that automatically generates an apology and a gift certificate.


Is the guests happiness so important that it cancels out how they have treated an employee?  Or caused a scene?  Or made another table uncomfortable? Or thrown the server off their game?  Or made someone cry?

Human beings everywhere:  Please take a long moment and consider how your actions effect someone else.  When you leave your house, how many people in a day do you impact and HOW?  Positively or negatively?

Restaurant managers everywhere:  Please take a long moment to consider the importance of your self esteem, your staff’s dependence on you to have their back and the type of customers you actually want in your restaurant.

A person should never feel that in order to right a wrong they have to succumb to verbal abuse or mistreatment.

On the other hand a person should never feel that the correct way to handle a mistake is to berade another person.


The Restaurant Has The Power To Impact Our Culture.

Let’s use that power!

  • Let’s work as a team to create excellent service.
  • Let’s be kind, always, to our guests and fellow humans.
  • Let’s make every guest comfortable in our restaurant.
  • Let’s treat everyone important.
  • Let’s make everyone feel special.
  • Let’s make everyone smile or laugh.
  • Let’s not put up with tantrums, belligerence or bullshit.


Do you think the wrong customers get rewarded?

View Results

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Part 3: The Good Ones

How does your restaurant reward the great guests?

You know the ones.

Great personality.


Fun to wait on.

Every server in the server station is talking about how awesome table ___ is.

THOSE are the people that we need to reward.

Think about it.





  1. I think the answer to your question is social media. I completely agree with rewarding your great customers and not succumbing to rewarding negative behavior in your restaurant however i think social media has played a major role in the restaurant industry. Unhappy patrons are more likely to get on and post negative comments to facebook, yelp, trip advisor etc then the positive happy customers. I am constantly looking for a positive dialogue about how their behavior is unacceptable without sounding like a bitch? If you could help with that I think it would be a great starting spot to get the ball rolling.

    Thanks 🙂

  2. I totally love this idea of rewarding the best customers. Too many of the worst customers have been rewarded for appalling behavior that at this point many have caught on and realize how advantageous it is for them to create a scene, abuse staff, and abuse the system. It’s about time restaurants and businesses alike start to ask for and reward better behavior from patrons, and to put it out there. It should not be shameful for any business to broadcast that it will not tolerate abuse.

    • Agreed! They’re just grown up bullies…I mean, really. It’s that simple.
      We don’t give Little Johnny a gold star for screaming at and scaring Little Allen, but if Johnny waits it out until he’s a grown man, restaurants will regularly buy him dinner for that behavior.
      Thanks for the comment Wanda!

  3. I think SO many people prey on the manager’s good intentions this way.
    I once had a table that didn’t seem particularly happy, but they didn’t raise a single complaint to me. I thought perhaps the husband and wife were having a fight. I ended up recieving a four dollar tip on their seventy-one dollar check. I was disappointed, but it happens, so I moved on.
    Imagine my surprise when I come to work the next day and learn that they had called and complained about everything! The steak was overcooked, the rice was dry, the chowder was bad, the service was terrible, etc! Like, why didn’t you tell me any of this yesterday when I could have made an attempt to fix it! Because it’s exactly what they wanted! They got a seventy-five dollar gift certificate out of it.
    The worst part is, my restaurant has this awful practice where we give the remainder of a certificate back in cash. They came in again a few days later (looking just as dicontent as the first time), spent twenty dollars on a pair of burgers, and walked out with the leftover fifty-five in their pockets. No tip for me, of course, either.
    So I LOVE this idea of rewarding the worthy; although they didn’t abuse me directly, they surely did not deserve to walk out with pockets full of cash.

    • Kaylyn, that is the WORST! The story you just told makes me mad in my heart! I sometimes consider picketing outside of restaurants, just to remind people not to be douchey.

  4. I think it’s a great idea.

  5. This is so true! It makes me reward nicer guests at all times than the you know who. Just today, a guests that recently stayed in our hotel came back in a few days after checking out realizing that she never received the “discount that she was offered by the hotel agent” due to a noise concern at 10:30pm. We had a very nice conversation and after explaining that our quiet time is not until 11pm, she understood at this point why she did not get her discount. She was about to leave happy without getting anything from me but I turned around and said “however for all your time and effort” to come and visit us again, I will give you a $20.00 gift certificate that you can use in our restaurant. She was so ecstatic and judging from her response, I think I just gained a very loyal guest and more who will talking about the whole experience in a very positive way. For all $20.00.

    • Carlo, that is AWESOME!!! I love it. Doing the kind thing for kind people just perpetuates good things. It makes you have a better reputation and make more money and it shows gratitude to the people who deserve it. Thanks for the comment!

  6. You have just described the experience we had in our restaurant on Saturday. The guest had reservations for 15 and came with 30. My husband and I were not on property so he dropped our name with every insulting & belittling remark he made to our staff. Your scenario is right on, as managers/owners, we have made every effort to take care of this frequent guest who makes it know to all that he is a “VIP”. We should have put a stop to it a long time ago for the sake of our staff and guests that have seen and heard his unacceptable behavior. Thank you for presenting this important perspective on rude behavior in the restaurant and providing a great way to reward the good behavior!!!

    • Kathryn, thank you so much for the comment. It is funny, EVERYONE seems to be in agreement over the matter. I wonder why more managers and owners (or anyone with the power to do so) don’t nip it in the bud. I think everyone just needs to know that it is actually okay to nip it in the bud rather than capitulate to the insults. Thanks again Kathryn!

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Email: jennifer@iamWaitress.com