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Interview with a ‘Karen’s Diner’ Customer: Where Bad Customer Service is Good Customer Service

Despite its media controversy, or perhaps because of its media controversy, this diner is well worth a visit.

karen's diner restaurant and waitress holding burgers and fries
Image: Karen's Diner

Karen’s Diner is a chain of American diner-style restaurants across the UK and Australia. Originally founded in Australia in 2021, the chain has skyrocketed in popularity, which is largely due to its controversial media attention. We interviewed a customer of the Manchester branch to see what the Karen’s Diner experience is really like.

What Is The Concept Of Karen’s Diner?

The tagline of the diner is ‘Great Burgers & Rude Service’ which sums up what the chain is all about. Known as ‘Karens’, the staff are purposely rude to customers, playing on the modern stereotype of rude, middle-aged women.

In order to keep the dining experience fun and enjoyable, the diner has a policy of no racist/homophobic/ableist slurs, and body shaming comments are not allowed.

Controversy Surrounding The Chain

Naturally, this unusual, interactive dining experience has stirred up some controversy. There have been some instances of customers getting offended by comments made by the staff, despite the chain’s house rules.

One woman in Brisbane was accused of being bulimic by staff for her dessert order, and a man was accused of being a pedo for bringing his young daughter with him to the restaurant.

Another man was outraged by insults about his baldness, claiming it was a body shaming comment that crossed the line.

But it isn’t just the customers that receive abuse. One Karen’s Diner waitress was called a ‘fat bitch’ by a customer in Birmingham, as seen below.

These instances show the difficulty of offering a uniquely rude service without crossing the line, thereby stirring up much controversy.

Interview With A Karen’s Diner Customer

We interviewed Andy, a customer of the Manchester branch, to see what his experience of the diner was really like.
1. How did the staff greet you when you first arrived at the diner?

They started staring at us and said WOT! Asked us if we had any dietary requirements and if we understood the concept of the diner.

2. Did you have any problems with your food/special requests (even just asking for sauce etc) and if so how did they deal with it? Did they solve the problem or just tell you to f* off?

We asked for sauces and were told aggressively we’ll come to that in a moment. We only received a very small amount of ketchup to share between us but we didn’t complain, we just laughed it off.

3. What was the food like?

The food was ok – but we didn’t really come for the food, more the USP of the diner.

4. Did you feel offended at any of their comments?

I didn’t feel offended but some might do. My girlfriend was called a slag and she found it funny at first, probably due to the shock. However, a few minutes later said she found it uncomfortable.

5. Overall, was it a fun experience?

Yes, it was a fun experience. The rude comments and Spin The Wheel involving the whole restaurant were very funny. And singing happy birthday fuck you was funny too. However, I don’t think I’d return as the novelty has kind of worn off, and I think a second time would be a bit repetitive.

The restaurant offers American-style burgers, fries and chicken wings. Image: Karen’s Diner

Only Works As A One-Off Experience?

It seems like the diner works well as a novelty experience, a place to try maybe once or twice. The restaurant certainly focuses more on its bad customer service, rather than the quality of its food and drinks.

The chain continues to receive much media attention, meaning customers are curious to try it themselves. The diner is expanding across the UK and overseas, with a branch in London reportedly opening soon.

Perhaps give Karen’s Diner a try if you’re looking for a fun, unique dining experience – but only if you have thick skin. You’ve been warned!

Written By

Hey! I'm Chloe, an aspiring culture and lifestyle writer. Interested in all things internet culture, food, and TV & film. Currently an intern for Trill Magazine and undergrad at Durham University studying History and English. Follow me over on Twitter @chloetypeswords to see what I'm doing elsewhere.

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