IHOP Server Goes Off On Customer For Making Him Work Over His Break — 'It's A Privilege That I'm Even Here, Bro'

He may have gone about it wrong, but it's understandable where he's coming from.

screenshots from video in which server goes off on a customer @nothingdaily0 / TikTok

An altercation between an IHOP server and a customer has gone wildly viral and sparked a conversation about working conditions in American restaurants.

Anyone who's ever worked in a restaurant has been there: you finally get a chance to take a load off for just a few minutes, and like clockwork here comes a new customer through the door, or one of your patrons is asking for a refill. It can seem impossible to get a moment's peace.


But staffing shortages, cost-cutting measures, and the restaurant industry's often exploitative practices have only exacerbated these problems in recent years, and some think this video simply shows a man unwilling to take it anymore.

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The video shows a confrontation in which a server goes off on a customer for interrupting his break. 

The incident happened at an IHOP location in the wee hours of the morning between a customer and a server working the graveyard shift. And though it's hard to defend the server's delivery, his frustration and exhaustion are palpable from the video's very first moment.




"I'm on break, you f---ing dumba$$!" the server is heard yelling at the patron. "You don't even know who I am," the patron responds, to which the server says he simply doesn't care. "I'm giving up sleep! I literally work from 10:00 p.m. to f---ing six in the morning!"

That, of course, is not the customer's fault, but the server's desperation to have a moment to himself is obvious, as is his frustration with what seems to have occurred between them before the camera began rolling. "Tell me what I did wrong," he implores, before asking "Why are you on my a-s if I get a f---ing three-minute break just so your fat a-s get some pancakes?"

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server goes off on a customer because he's on his breakPhoto: TikTok / @nothingdaily0

The server then makes a 180 to plead with the customer to just "be a human" and understand. Unsurprisingly, the customer isn't particularly understanding. He begins threatening the server, telling him he's going to send the video to his boss the following day.

If you've ever worked in customer service, you've heard that line a million times from customers who don't seem to realize that not only are service jobs a dime a dozen, but nearly all service employers are treated like they're expendable. Hence, why you've probably also spoken the server's reply in your head a million times too. "I don't care, bro, I don't think that's going through your head," he yells. "You think I want to work this job?"


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The restaurant industry is rife with issues like wage theft, inadequate break time, and rampant staffing shortages that have servers and other workers totally burned out.

Let's get one thing straight out of the gate: yelling profanity at a customer who just wants to sit down and eat at an open restaurant is not the ideal way to handle a situation like this, and a video in which a server goes off on a customer is probably not going to do the server in question any favors.

That said, this server having reached his breaking point is completely understandable, because the working conditions in many American restaurants, an industry that has always been troublesome, have become in many cases downright abysmal since the COVID-19 pandemic.

We all know about the low and unreliable pay for servers — they're only required to be paid $2.13 an hour under federal law, leaving their incomes entirely susceptible to the ebbs and flows of how busy a restaurant is. But in recent years, that's almost become the least of the restaurant staff's worries.


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server goes off on a customer because he's on his breakPhoto: TikTok / @nothingdaily0

While the darkest days of the pandemic may be over, the staffing shortages it created are not — more than 60% of restaurants are still woefully understaffed, mainly because so many workers who lost their restaurant jobs due to COVID-19 have since bailed on the food service industry in order to find better jobs.


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That has created a widespread problem underlined in this video. Toward the end, you hear the customer say, "So where's somebody else [to serve me] if you're on break?"

The answer is likely that there wasn't anybody else working, an occurrence so common nowadays in understaffed restaurants that several large food service companies like Dave & Buster's have recently been sued for denying breaks. Many others have been sued for wage theft, too.


And 80% of restaurant workers reported being burned out by the industry all the way back in the halcyon days of 2019 before the pandemic even made everything go sideways.

Well, exploding on a customer may not be how many of us would handle things, but it certainly isn't surprising that this one did. A person can only put up with so much before they snap.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.