From releasing rats to hitting employees with bats, fast food workers have seen it all. We explore the customers who behaved badly in fast food franchises such as McDonald’s and Domino’s
There can be lots of pressure when working for a fast food franchise. Wage woes, long hours and being rushed off your feet aren’t helped by rude customers. However, some customers go beyond rude – they turn abusive or even violent.
Indeed, the likes of Burger King and Taco Bell have experienced racist rants and gunfire from out of control customers. Some, however, such as Waffle House, have had more comical customers walk through their doors.
Check out these incidents where customers took things to a whole new level of madness within fast food franchises.
(1) Couple has sex in Domino’s
Daniella Hirst certainly got her crust stuffed when she and partner Craig Smith went to Domino’s in Scarborough during a visit in 2017. They must have been tired of waiting because they decided to get their fill another way. As The Daily Mail reported, the pair were drunk when entering the takeaway joint at 10:45pm and proceeded to make an order. While waiting for their pizza, Smith pumped a yellow cone up his other half’s backside. Apparently excited by the thrusting, Hirst then performed fellatio which was unseen by the staff as she knelt down behind the counter, a barrier that also hid the sexual intercourse that followed the foreplay.
Unfortunately for the pair, the whole incident was caught on CCTV and uploaded by a member of staff, where North Yorkshire Police was subsequently contacted by the press. As The Independent reported, the couple were taken to Scarborough Magistrates Court and pled guilty to outraging public decency. Even though the offence was worthy of prison time, they both escaped with a year of community orders. Smith was also required to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Scott McLoughlin, who was mitigating in the court room said: “This footage is on the internet and will be forever more for their children to see and one can only imagine what they feel about that.”
Hopefully, Smith will give Hirst a slice at home next time because we certainly don’t want them sharing with us again and Domino’s probably agrees.
(2) Man releases a rat in McDonald’s
Rats aren’t on the menu at McDonald’s but it’s what customers were given in February 2019 at a New Jersey site after a man walked into the restaurant with one of the rodents in a pet carrier and a child. Another adult who accompanied them filmed the incident, during which the child was shouting “Let me hold it.” The man then released the rat onto the floor and all hell broke loose.
Customers began screaming, running and jumping over tables and chairs towards the exit, while the whole thing was filmed by the man’s companion. According to NJ.com, the rat fled through the exit too.
CBS Philly reported that police were working with staff members to identify the perpetrator. Celest Quintana,owner of the McDonald’s, said: “The safety of our customers and the cleanliness of our restaurants are our top priorities. Following this incident, our restaurant staff thoroughly cleaned and sanitised the dining area and contacted the police.”
The customers certainly weren’t lovin’ it but the perpetrator hasn’t been ratted out by anyone just yet.
(3) Man gets thrown through a window in Subway fight
Things got bloody after a brawl in a Maryland Subway in 2015. At around 2am, two men began fighting near the counter while other customers cheered them on and, rather than seek to keep the peace, the fight was filmed by another customer. Amidst the scuffle, headbutts were among the attacks launched while one of the brawlers, Jonathon Tyler Pugh, pushed the other across the restaurant and through the window.
The fight continues with the unnamed man hanging out of the window, blood streaming down his face. It’s unclear whether the blood is from the shattered glass or when he headbutted Pugh. A police officer intervenes, pulling the man to safety onto the pavement as another escorts Pugh outside, where he’s subsequently arrested.
As Eater reported, Pugh was charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and destruction of property. Maybe the slogan for that particular Subway branch should be “Beat fresh” or “Eat fist” rather than “Eat fresh”.
(4) Customer calls police because of onions in Big Mac
It’s understandable to dislike certain foods. Look how divisive Marmite is. But in December 2018, a man in a Manchester McDonald’s called the police because he was upset he received a Big Mac with onions. No, really.
As Metro reported, Leslie McDonagh threatened to fight the manager for the meal mix-up and proceeded to call the police, claiming his “wrong meal” would expose him to his onion allergy. But that’s not all – he offered the manager a knuckle sandwich over the mix-up and spat in a police officer’s face as he was being carted out.
McDonagh pled guilty to assault by beating of an emergency worker and being drunk and disorderly in a public place. He admitted to having had six lagers before he visited McDonald’s. He was sentenced to a six-month community order and 120 hours of unpaid work. He also fined £190.
Mitigation defence lawyer Claire Parrot, said: “His memory of the incident isn’t complete but he was quite clearly utterly embarrassed and ashamed. This was not a planned attack on the officer; he says that he’s not a violent person.”
It can safely be said that overreacting is an understatement in McDonagh’s case.
(5) Man shoots a Taco Bell over sauce
While dry food isn’t fun, lack of sauce isn’t something to get violent over but it was enough to push a customer over the edge at an Oklahoma Taco Bell in January 2019. At 1am at the drive-thru, a man was so dissatisfied with the small amount of taco sauce he was given that he begun to yell at employees. He then pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and shot at least one round through the window.
Nobody was harmed as staff took cover in the toilets as the man entered the restaurant. According to Newsok, he could be heard “banging around" but he left before police arrived. The suspect was simply described as black and wearing a green hoodie.
In reported by Business Insider, Gary Knight, sergeant of the Oklahoma City Police Department, said: “It's unclear exactly what he did while he was in there as they were hiding. Any time you've got people inside of a business and some person decides, for whatever reason, to fire bullets into that business, [it] makes for a very dangerous situation and we're extremely fortunate that nobody was hurt.”
The ludicrousness of the situation is difficult to fathom but it highlights how risky working in fast food can be.
(6) Man goes on a racial tirade in Burger King
A damaged leg didn’t stop one customer from causing a ruckus in a Burger King in Texas in 2017. A video recorded shows a man with a leg cast swearing and banging on the counter, then proceeding to knock things off it while shouting at staff members, using phrases like “You ain’t got shit, bitch, suck my dick!” and “N*****” at a female staff member.
A male staff member approaches him in an attempt to calm him down but the man shoves him, saying: “You ain’t got shit on me, motherfucker.” The employee retaliates by punching him and the man falls to the ground, where another customer stands on him to keep him down. Then, on the house, another employee serves him a free tasing at which point the troublemaker scrambles for the exit.
As ABC 13 reports, the man previously caused trouble in the same Burger King and was pepper sprayed by staff. It’s also reported the man wasn’t arrested for his actions but the pepper spray and taser were confiscated from staff. When referring to the use of weapons, Jonah Nathan, owner of Ranger Guard and Investigations, said: Unless you’re trained in it, it’s something that can hurt you. Once someone goes into the full fight mode, you don’t know what can happen.”
In any case, maybe the customer will behave next time he visits a Burger King, unless he wants a side order of smacking down.
(7) Drunkard chokes KFC manager
After being told to drink his alcohol outside, drunken punter Jamie Kendrick choked KFC manager Nicolae Postolache. As The Argus reported in February, Kendrick had guzzled two bottles of Jack Daniels before making his way to a Brighton branch of the fried chicken chain. After the manager informed him that he couldn’t drink alcohol on the premises, Kendrick started yelling and challenged him to a fight outside.
Postolache then attempted to call the police from the staff office but Kendrick tailed him and began to choke the manager out. Another customer leapt to the rescue and pulled Kendrick away and he was subsequently arrested.
At Brighton Magistrates Court, Kendrick admitted to the assault. He was sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work and had to pay £100 in compensation to Postolache. However, it’s not the first time the has appeared in court – he’s been charged with nine previous offences, including robbery and assaulting a police officer. Kendrick said in court: “I was pretty drunk when it happened. I don’t have much memory. I know what I did was wrong.”
Postolache has since stated that he no longer feels safe at work, which shouldn’t be the case for anyone.
(8) Four smash employee’s car at Wendy’s
In January 2019, four women went ballistic at a Wendy’s in New York. At around 1.15am, footage shows them exiting their car at the drive-thru and arguing with an employee at the window. As they proceed to bang on the window and shout, the man and woman who were filming the incident from the car behind can be heard exclaiming “Oh my God” and “Are you serious right now?”
Three of the women get back in the car while one of them throws a drink at the window. She then joins the others in the car and the employee then throws one at the vehicle, which sparks a beverage-tossing battle between them. Consumed by the red mist, one of the passengers jumps out and grabs a baseball bat from the boot and makes a beeline for the employee’s car. As the worker tries to save his ride from being battered, he and the car are dealt with blows.
Amidst the carnage, with more workers trying to break up the brawl, the couple called the police and encouraged them to hurry. But the driver of the women-filled car proceeds to tear straight into the employee’s jalopy to add further insult to injury.
As 13 Wham reports, no Wendy’s employees were charged but the women were identified and arrested with charges including DWI, criminal mischief, menacing and harassment.
While the employees escaped relatively unharmed, the same can’t be said for the window worker’s car.
(9) High school food fight leaves a Whataburger trashed
Kids caused chaos after getting rowdy in a Texas Whataburger as students from two rival high schools,O’Conner and Brandeis, trashed the restaurant by having a food fight. The footage from September 2012 shows them throwing food at one another after Brandeis beat O’Conner 12-10 in their annual football game.
According to The Daily Mail, the mobile footage was posted onto Facebook where it became “a nationwide hit”. The fight only lasted around 30 seconds but pictures taken of the aftermath show the huge amount of mess the students left for the Whataburger employees to clean up.
Bobby Blount, of the Northside School Board, said: “It shouldn't matter whether we have social media or not to capture this, because students should remember who or what they represent when they act in public or even private – or what's left of that nowadays.”
The district said in a statement that the pupils would face “appropriate consequences”, including exclusion.
While it’s all fun and games for the kids, it’s the employees that are left, quite literally, to clean up the mess. On the plus side, at least there was no act of physical violence that took place.
(10) Man cooks own food in Waffle House
As Waffle House is open for 24 hours, Alex Bowen expected to be in and out when he turned up at a South Carolina branch at 3am. But fast food doesn’t always mean fast service. As the restaurant appeared empty, he waited around for ten minutes before looking around and found an employee – sleeping.
Doing the thoughtful thing and leaving the drowsy staff member to snooze, he took matters into his own hands and went into the kitchen where he made his own “Texas bacon cheesesteak melt” and snapped a few drunken selfies while doing so which he uploaded to Facebook.
According to Bowen, the food was "pretty much how I get it every time, so it tasted just like the sandwich they would have made.” Bowen even cleaned up after himself and made sure to pay for his food a few hours later.
Pat Warner, director of PR and external affairs for Waffle House, stated that because Waffle House is open 24 hours a day, Bowen didn’t break in. Warner said: "We feel our customers receive a better experience when we actually cook and serve their meals. We’ve apologised to Alex and have invited him back to eat with us. We also promised him we’d do the cooking the next time.”
While the incidents featured are shocking, it would also seem they’re all too common. Hopefully this will shed light on the experiences that fast food workers can face and remind franchisors and franchisees alike to take care of their staff.