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12 Lies Restaurant Servers Admit to Telling Customers

They may not be having a great day, thanks for asking!
FACT CHECKED BY Meaghan Cameron

Servers are the de facto face of a restaurant. Sure, the cooks make the food, managers decide on menu options and décor, and owners are in control of everything behind the scenes, but as far as the customer is concerned, the primary point of contact with a restaurant is the server. It's their job to inform the customers of special options, to take meal orders, and to ensure accuracy of the food delivered. It's also on the server to set the tone of the visit—being upbeat, kind, and respectful. And that's true even when, on the inside, a server may be feeling downtrodden, angry, and resentful, among other emotions.

For servers, the need to keep a smile on their faces and always stay positive often equates to a need for little white lies. Or, as we found out, whoppers. We polled our fans on Facebook, peeked in on social media threads, and asked former servers to tell us the secret lies they tell to customers.  Here are 11 popular lies servers frequently tell their customers. Plus, don't miss 6 Secrets Bartenders Don't Want You To Find Out.

I'm doing great!

server is doing great

From Reddit threads to Facebook posts to other sources aplenty, we found the #1 lie servers tell their customers is that they are doing "just great!" Or "doing good." Or even just fine. Being human beings, servers are often going to be anything but fine, but it's such an important part of the job to be cheery that most have lied about it many times.

The desserts are homemade


Desserts drive up the check average, so some servers were not sorry that they told guests that the desserts were made in-house. Still others would say some items were made fresh when they were frozen.

The kitchen got your order wrong!

server in the kitchen

Many current and former servers admitted on Reddit to blaming their mistakes on the cooks. For example, if a server had forgotten to submit an order, he or she would instead say they noticed it was made wrong as they went to pick it up. And ditto if they had forgotten to note a customization—in that case, the order really would be wrong, but with the waiter to blame.

Sorry, the milkshake machine is broken

old school milkshake maker

In an Eat This Not That! (ETNT) Facebook poll, one server admitted that she and the other employees at the restaurant where she worked agreed to begin lying about the milkshake machine being broken as soon as shifts got busy, as the hand-dipped milkshakes they served just took too long to make. Others backed up this popular lie. This happens with cappuccino machines as well since those take time to make.

I have a great table for you!

restaurant hostess

Servers and hosts will almost always tout the table to which they're taking their guests as being one of the best seats in the house whereas, according to BuzzFeed, often it's the only seat in the house, or at least the only seat in their section.

We just need to switch the keg

server bringing beer

According to people chiming in on the ETNT Facebook poll as well as on many Reddit threads, if any ordered drink was late and a beer, many would drop the excuse of that keg being changed. Which would be a total, but believable, lie.

I'm in training

server in training

Many Redditors reported telling their customers they were new to the job and still in training long after their training period was up, and even after they were quite experienced. In one case one person relayed saying she was a trainee even two years into the job. Why? Because, apparently, trainees get bigger tips and more patience from customers.

It was a pleasure serving you!

server grabbing tips from customer

According to many current and former servers who shared via Facebook and Reddit, servers would almost universally lavish thanks on customers even when they had been rude, picky, or otherwise difficult. Why? Well, for the tips, of course.

I'll take your suggestion to the chef

restaurant server

According to many servers who shared thoughts on Reddit, many diners will make suggestions on how a dish could be improved and just about zero percent of servers will ever actually take these ideas to the kitchen. But they'll happily tell the customer that their input is valid and sure to be passed along.

Well, my favorite thing on the menu…

server making a suggestion to couple about menu

Usually, servers haven't actually tried everything on the menu and, regardless, many will tell you their favorite meal is one of the pricier ones, because then the bill goes up. One server said via Reddit: "To be honest, if it can't be eaten in 15 seconds and/or while hunched over a garbage can, I have no idea. But it's $36 so I'm gonna tell you it's the best thing on the planet."

 8 Chefs' Tips for Ordering the Best Meal at a Steakhouse

Sorry, we're short-staffed tonight


If a server ever tells you that the restaurant is short-staffed that day, or that the kitchen is just so backed up, the reality is likely that they screwed up and forgot to enter your order, we learned from our Facebook poll. But it's easier to blame the rest of the crew than admit, per one respondent: "I totally spaced off putting the order in."

Oh, this wine will be perfect with that!

server with wine

With the anonymity of the internet to shield them, many servers admitted on Reddit that they regularly make wine recommendations (and cocktail and beer suggestions, too) despite having no idea what they're talking about. One Redditor said: "I completely BS my way through knowing about the wine list, like 'can you recommend a sweet Riesling?' 'So this one here is one of our most popular Rieslings, yes.' I have no clue."

A previous version of this article was originally published in October 2022. It has been updated with new information.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven