Life is full of ups and downs, especially when you are a food service worker dealing with all sorts of customers. We all have those days when we just don't want to "do life" and some days when I have work I feel that way. I have been working with food for several years, which also means I have been working with people for the same amount of time. Prior, I worked at Ralph’s Italian Ices and currently I work at Gonzo's Mexican Grill, as well as Magic Burger, a burger place. Working with food, I feel I can almost sum up my jobs in four emotions: confusion, frustration, happiness, and satisfaction.


Where I truly got my inspiration for this article was from a regular that comes into my job. The woman called up to ask if we deliver and gave me all her information, plus her order. A minute later she calls back and claimed I spoke to her in a funny tone and says, "I wanted to be sure that you do, in fact, deliver." Why would I take this woman's name, number, order, and most importantly her address to not deliver food to her house ?! After I got off the second phone call with this woman, my face was just like Ryan's from the GIF approve... People truly never seize to amaze me.

At both my jobs, we have a various selection of different types of food you can choose from. At the burger place, many customers are very closed minded to the fact that there can be many different toppings on a burger, not just the standard cheese, lettuce, and tomato. We have a burger with mozzarella sticks, mozzarella cheese, bacon, and bleu cheese. At least once a week, I get asked, “These are not all burgers? Like the one with mozzarella sticks…” It is clearly indicated on the menu, that this burger is in fact a burger. For some reason, people cannot wrap that around their heads. Some questions just become so repetitive that my responses have become a scripted second nature. 

Ralph’s Italian Ices, my previous job, easily has over 100 flavors, but nonetheless customers would have the tendency to make up their own. Sometimes it would be something random that we didn't have or they would combine two flavors; and no they didn't want Caribbean Splash and Malibu Bay Breeze together in one cup, they wanted a morph between the two: Caribbean Bay Breeze… And to no surprise it would be my fault when I didn't understand what they wanted.


People are very particular when it comes to their food and to a point you cannot blame them. Being in food service, there are some people that if you make one little mistake, such as forgetting to put sauce in their bag, they lose their mind. I do completely empathize with customers when something is forgotten because I am obviously a customer at any other store/restaurant. I understand that mistakes do happen though so if it is something small, I just brush it off. I have had a customer blow up on me and I mean fuming, telling me that we should deliver a 2 ounce cup of sauce to their house because we had not put it in the bag. That is just asking for too much.

Even better, when I first started working at Ralph’s, I witnessed hell from a customer. The routine at Ralph’s is to wait in line and when an employee calls you over or says “next”, the next person in line steps up to the counter. Well I finished helping my customer and naturally called for the next person in line to come up. I cannot even describe the nasty tone coming from this woman’s mouth as she said, “UH, excuse you?” I was lost.

This woman caused a scene standing there with her daughter, yelling at me how they were next and how I just looked right past them. I had no idea that they were not being helped and I did not think to ask because people usually do not just walk up to the counter. Obviously there are people that do not realize how the system works, but it is not my fault that I was not watching out for her.

All I was focused on was getting my previous customer’s order together. So no, I did not have any knowledge that this woman had walked up to the counter and was not being assisted. I didn’t even feel bad because I was too worried about this woman screaming in my face and having my manager get alarmed. Thankfully he understood, didn’t get PO’d or take it out on me after she had left because he knew I didn’t cause any problems.


I’m sure that everyone feels good about themselves when their boss says, “You’re doing a great job,” “Keep up the good work," and so on. Of course I do too, but the best is when a customer praises me for either doing a good job or calls up the store just to express how much they enjoyed their food. I feel that this is a gesture that they went out of their way for and it wasn’t necessary, but the customer must’ve felt it was. I appreciate something as small as this because sadly I feel that people think the only reason to call the store back after picking up food, is something negative. A small, kind gesture goes a long way and I really feel grateful when others realize the same thing.

Almost every job has their “regulars” and most of the ones at my job I really enjoy. When these customers come in I feel like I can actually have a true conversation even if I don’t personally know them. Even just to have that small, simple interaction can make that much of a difference to my day.


Satisfaction can be used in a few different ways for customers in food service. I won't lie; when it comes to customers I get a lot more bad interactions than good. People can be rude and crude and I don't know if it's just because I'm handling their food or in general. I know everyone knows the saying, “The customer is always right,” especially in food service, but I know deep down we know that is not always true. I will get customers that have the need to prove themselves right even when I have already backed down and tried to resolve the issue. However there is a strange satisfaction I get from knowing I did not mess up the customers order and having a coworker or witness back me up.

Customers have driven me to the point that I have to sometimes force myself to smile and put on an act because of how outrageous they can be. But hey, I suppose that's food service for you. Even though it can be hard at times, I still try to make the best out of my days. No matter what I keep a smile on my face as I walk in and out of my shift.