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How To Deal With The General Public In Hospitality

A 101 on not losing your mind.

Sure, weekend jobs can suck, you have to deal with shitty customers who demand more than reasonable, long hours, and not to mention no weekends (*sigh*). But with that comes some sweet pocket money – essential for buying a few cheeky drinks for when you do get a day off.

You’ve probably been told from day dot, the customer is always right, and while you might disagree with them at some point, it’s important to disagree in a manner that won’t get you fired (and leave you broke = no cheeky drinks).

I don’t want to sound like your nagging mother here, but working those weekend jobs and dealing with the shit-show can also give you great skills for future career plans. If you’re a manager it can also help your management skills (get this hospitality scheduling software app if you’re new to the whole thing of managing hospo workers – thank us later). So, we’ve come up with some hot tips for dealing with the (*ahem*) general public, and how not to lose your shit at them.

If You’ve Really Pissed Someone Off…

Customer; Can I speak to your manager?

Probably the most demeaning question you can receive, paired with that haircut (you know the one I’m talking about.)

How NOT to answer: “Look, the manager is just going to tell you the same thing I’m telling you, so shove your expired coupon, and move along, Carol.”

How to answer: “Yes ma’am, of course, let me just grab them for you.”

And watch from afar as your manager tells them the exact same thing as you did (heh.)

Of Course, The Dad Jokes And Those Who Think They’re Original

Customer; If it’s not scanning it must be free!

How NOT to react: As tempting as it may be to roll your eyes and a shake your head, it probably won’t leave you with a happy customer.

How to react: Pull out that well-rehearsed fake laugh you’ve done over and over for when this classic joke comes out, extra points for a knee slap.


THOSE People Who Walk In Five Minutes Before Close/Last Drinks

Customer; Hey mate, are you guys closed?

What NOT to say: “Yeah, nah fuck, I think we might be? I just put all the chairs up and turned the lights off for a cheeky rave y’know?”

Appropriate: “Yes sir/ma’am, sorry. Back open tomorrow at 9.”

How could you POSSIBLY think we’re open when I literally just locked all the doors? How’d you even get in?

The Matt Preston Of Pub Feeds…

Customer; I’ve finished my entire meal, but it wasn’t quite right, can I get a refund?

NO: “Abso-fucking-lutetly not.”

Maybe: “Okay, but you’ve just eaten the whole thing, it can’t have been that bad?”

YES: “Let me grab my manager for you.”


The Pestering Customers

Those ones when you’re CLEARLY on break, and they pester you asking where the bathrooms are or if they could please have an extra knife. While I appreciate your manners, I am on break, please leave me alone.

This one goes without saying, you kind of just have to point them in the right direction or grab that extra knife. Although frustrating, you can’t really do much.

Can’t you see that I have a jacket on and my apron is off? Please don’t bother me anymore than you already have. 

So there you have it, from someone who’s been in hospo for the past six years (and counting…), these are some hot tips for dealing with your everyday shit show customers and to keep those pennies pouring into your account.

Image Source: CBS

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