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Karen’s Diner – bad service is in demand!

By: Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Unfriendly and visibly annoyed waiters are usually a no-go and why you wouldn’t want to go to a place again. Not so at Karen’s – here guests even pay for it. Can poor service be well received? Apparently so, because guests are already greeted at the entrance with the sign “Sit down and shut up”. And people are really digging it.

Great food, hilariously rude waiters, a genial atmosphere, and maybe a song or two warbled by the staff. With Karen’s Diner, an Australian entrepreneur has created a new gastronomy experience: Be treated badly and also like paying for it.

Poor service is part of the good atmosphere here

Whether it’s age, eating habits, haircuts or clothes – everything that falls a little out of the norm is used as an opportunity to publicly ridicule the guests. Getting yelled at by a waiter in a restaurant is the name of the game at Karen’s Diner. They bully guests, roll their eyes and are not helpful at all. The service staff in red and white aprons have to be extremely quick-witted and perform almost like actors. Karen’s Diner’s creator, James Farrell, says, “In some cases, the service staff are even actors or at least have acting backgrounds.” Anyone who is quickly insulted or easily takes things personally is not in good hands here. And those who like to complain, even less so – because nobody is interested.


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Want to be a Karen?

If you’ve ever wanted to behave outrageously, you could live out your fantasies without restraint at one of Karen’s Diners. James Farrell, director and owner, stresses, “At Karen’s, you are welcomed and served by impolite waiters who expect you to give your very best Karen. A place where you can complain until the cows come home because we literally don’t care.”

How did such an extraordinary idea come about? How did a concept come about in which the idea of service is completely turned on its head? The idea was conceived during Covid, Farell explains. “It was the time when frustration was high. Although we didn’t think it would be such a big hit around the world, it turned out that people couldn’t get enough of Karen.” The name of the diner can be traced back to Karen memes, the entrepreneur confirms.

What is a “Karen”?
The term or name “Karen” is a meme that first developed in the USA in the late 2010s and then became a common name worldwide for women who act in a certain way. The mocking name is used to describe middle-aged white women who complain loudly about what they claim to be poor service and demand to speak to someone in charge. It became known by the slogan, “Can I speak to your manager?”

Poor service, but incredibly good food

As bad as the service is, the seriously badass burgers and spicy wings are said to be just as good. Handmade burgers, chicken wings, hot dogs, waffles and even a vegetarian option can be found on the menu. There is something for everyone. However, founder Farrell does not relate the restaurant’s great success to the culinary arts. “I think social media has really helped us achieve global recognition and success as many videos have gone viral. We’ve had over a billion […] views. Plus, our restaurants are very cute and Instagram-worthy, so we get a lot of attention on social media.” Social media really acts as a driver of a unique concept!

Karen's Diner convinces with delicious homemade burgers

Image: KarensDinerGlobal

Want to give Karen’s Dinner a try?

You can find the restaurant in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA, restaurants. However, if you think you can go to one without a reservation, then think again. Karen’s Diner’s original opened in Sydney in 2021 – but the curious concept is so well received that the chain is now conquering Australia and even the world. Farrell gushes plenty about his further expansion plans. “There’s an UK tour coming up. We have big plans. And in 2023, guests can look forward to some new US locations. A store opening is even planned in Jakarta.”

Want even more Karen?

Good marketing needs to be well thought-out. Karen’s Diner also focuses on merchandising, thereby gaining prestige and increasing recognition. Merchandising positions a company in its target group and helps it to present itself properly. The owners of the successful concept have therefore opted for a wide range of merchandising products. Those who want to take home unfriendliness and poor service can visit, where you can buy t-shirts, mugs and tote bags for that “bad service” feeling.


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