I work at America's rudest restaurant – we abuse customers & make them wear dunce hats, but they love it | The Sun
11th October 2022

IT'S a universal rule when working in the service industry that "the customer is always right."

An Australian restaurant chain set out to change this norm by creating Karen's Diner, where the staff are paid to be rude.

Melbourne-based waitress Brianna has worked at her local Karen's, which was founded last year.

The chain has grown rapidly since, and while the diners are mainly located in Australia, there is also one in St Louis, Missouri, if you're a glutton for punishment.

"I’ve done acting and worked in hospitality for as long as I can remember so finding a job that combined the two seemed like a perfect fit," Brianna told The U.S. Sun.

She explained that the interview process required potential staff to not only have a background in the industry, but also show some sass.

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The idea for the restaurant derived from the popular internet meme, being a Karen, which referred to people who love to take their anger out on staff of retail, restaurants, and other customer-service establishments.

Shelley Allen, who works in PR & Communications for the company, explained: "We decided to turn this concept on it's head and create a team of 'Karens' who work in Karen's Diner and give it back to the customers instead."

During her time with Karen's Diner, Shelley has seen everything from staff spilling drinks to slamming down food and menus.

"Sometimes the Karens even make people get their own food," she said.

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Brianna explained that customers are encouraged to give as good as they get.

A common interaction she has with diners is their response to her question: "Would you like to tip?"

A favorite answer is: " Here's a tip, be nice to your mother!"

Other popular gimmicks include staff writing personalized insults on paper hats and making their tables wear them during their dining experience.

While the diner clarifies on it's website that it is not Disneyland, the staff enjoy having banter with the children that come in.

Brianna added: "It's always funny when people bring their children. They are welcome in the diner but not encouraged, however when they do come it's always a hoot."

"Staff do aim to just poke fun with kids rather than insult them," Shelley added.

Brianna's favorite part of working as a Karen is not what you might expect from the world's rudest restaurant.

The server said she always finds herself "leaving work with a smile on my face."

Brianna explained: "Whilst people have the idea that Karen’s is an angry, rude, hostile feeling diner, it is a far more fun and uplifting vibe."

"Every shift I work we are laughing with customers and getting everyone up to be included in fun games such as karaoke or a catwalk competition," she said.

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Some house rules are in place for staff and customers alike, including no homophobic or ableist comments, no body shaming, no sexual comments, and no throwing food or drinks.

The Karen's Diner website instructs customers: "Just sit down, shut up, eat your food, and bring on the banter."

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