New study reveals that 79 percent of restaurant employees make fun of annoying customers

Didn't get what you wanted? Try being polite to your server.

Didn't get what you wanted? Try being polite to your server.  (iStock)

We’ve all had less than stellar experiences at restaurants, but according to a new study, being nasty to the wait staff could cost you. 

New research published in Human Performance Journal found that food servers, hosts, bartenders and cashiers who experience extra stress from negative customers are more likely to lash out.  According to the study, 79 percent of restaurant employees make fun of annoying customers; 65 percent will make you wait longer than necessary; 25 percent will refuse a perfectly reasonable customer request.

Psychology professors, Lisa Penney from Baylor University and Emily Hunter from University of Houston, documented the responses of over 430 food service employees when questioned about retaliation tactics used when a customer upsets them.

"Food service employees generally do their best to provide a positive experience for customers," said Penney, who once worked in food service herself. "However, they are human too, and the strain of dealing with extremely rude, demanding or difficult customers can manifest in ways that do not benefit customers."

Their paper, titled “The Waiter Spit in My Soup! Antecedents of Customer-Directed Counterproductive Work Behavior,” identifies several counterproductive work behavior (CWB) that servers exhibit under stressful situations that harm both the organization they work and the customer. 

According to a press release, some of they found the food service employees show these most common behaviors:

Making fun of the customers behind their backs – 79%
Lying – 78%
Purposefully making them wait longer for their order – 65%
Ignoring them – 61%
Being rude right back to the customer - 52 %
Arguing - 43%
Flatly refusing a perfectly reasonable customer request - 25%

“Doing something gross to the food” only came in at 6 percent of wait staff responses so its unlikely you’ll be reliving that infamous scene from the movie "Waiting." But still, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your food.