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‘I lasted like one shift’: Former corporate worker returns to server job. She says restaurant industry has ‘completely changed in last 7 years’

‘People are the worst when they go out to eat now.’


Eric Webb


One former corporate worker, who used to work in the restaurant industry as a server, recently explained how working as a server isn’t what it used to be, and it has a lot to do with customers’ temperament.

Creator Chelsea (@chelseatimboybell) on Monday posted a video to TikTok about returning to restaurant service and barely lasting one shift. The video has almost 9,000 views.

@chelseatimboybell I worked in restaurants from when i was 14-25 & ppl were annoyiny but ppl are on another level now… i couslnt do it dudes haha. I worked 1 serving shift & was like nope this isnt worth it haha. Back 2 the drawing board🤠chelsea’s joint ep.18 will be out this week🎧 #serverstories #unemployment #unemploymentupdate #findingajob ♬ original sound – Chelsea’s Joint💗

As Chelsea explained, she’s been unemployed for four months after leaving a corporate job. She worked in restaurants in high school and college—about a decade in the industry—and remembered making good money on tips. She even saved money from working during college to finance a stint living in Australia.

Chelsea didn’t want to go back to corporate, so she decided to return to the restaurant world.

However, “I lasted one shift as a server,” she said.

She said that even accounting for the pandemic, customers’ behavior was so much more worse than it was seven or eight years ago.

“People were so rude,” Chelsea said. “Kids, the children at the tables I was serving, were feral. Literally, I was getting stuff thrown at my face.”

Even though she basically grew up in restaurants, she said, she just couldn’t continue to work as a server and had to preserve her mental health. The Daily Dot emailed Chelsea for comment and did not receive an immediate response.

“If you’re a server in 2023, I salute you, dude,” the creator said. “People are the worst when they go out to eat now.”

The comment section signaled they had similar feelings toward the service industry.

“I was a server for 6 years and I will not be going back no matter how desperate I am for a job,” one person commented.

Chelsea replied, “Girl I thought I could just jump back in like it was nothing nope couldn’t even last a damn shift.”

A viewer chimed in, “As a server veteran, it’s gotten way worse love. Not just going to blame the Panini, but things are bad. I [quit] my job serving 2 weeks ago.”

Some commenters suggested other hustles, like pizza delivery, Amazon Flex and dog grooming. 

If you’ve been paying attention since the pandemic, these horror stories sound familiar. Reports of poor customer behavior in restaurants have circulated widely. 

From Insider in 2021: “According to restaurant workers surveyed by Lightspeed, 62% said that customers are more demanding than ever before. This fits with other data coming out of the industry, including a majority of restaurant workers reporting emotional abuse and disrespect from customers. Of restaurant operators, 72% agree that customer behavior has gotten worse over the past year.”

Time reported in 2021 that psychologists say the long separation of the pandemic “has made social interactions more fraught.”

And one former restaurant owner, in an essay for Eater, described the struggle to meet “normal” customer expectations in a tight time. “Diners need to understand that things will never be as they were before the pandemic,” a sub-headline on the article reads.

The moral of the story: Be chill and tip your servers.

Update 12pm CT, June 14: Chelsea said that, through her video, she wanted to highlight two things: “the reality of returning to the service industry after years of being out of it” and “the abuse service industry workers endure every day.”

She said the last time she worked in the service industry was in 2016 and that she doesn’t remember the customers being as rude to her as they are present day. “I had rude customers, rude coworkers, and children throwing their food at me. In my 10 years of serving tables, I’d never been mistreated like that,” she said. “I knew if I continued working there I wouldn’t be happy, so I quit.”

She encouraged customers to “think twice about how they are treating people in the service industry,” adding that “it’s free to be nice.”

 The Daily Dot regretfully covered this TikTok twice. Find out other coverage here.

The Daily Dot