This TikTok Star Has Thoughts About Your Restaurant Behavior

Meet u/lttlebean, a food service worker whose TikTok videos recount bizarre customer interactions.

TikTok is full of rabbit holes to fall down into—that's kind of its thing—but one of the most engrossing series of videos has to be those made by u/lttlebean. Watching these videos of a service industry vet reenacting ridiculous customer behavior, you'll feel like you've been immediately transported to the dark side of food service work. And if you already work in this sector, you might just find the posts too relatable to handle.

Many of the videos made by u/lttlebean, whose name is Gillian, feature what she calls skits—little one-woman plays in which Gillian acts out real interactions she has had while working behind the counter at a cafe. (For privacy reasons, she doesn't specify where she works, but says "cafe" fits the bill.) The old idiom "the customer is always right" dictates the entire food service model, yet Gillian's videos highlight the fact that the customer is almost always woefully wrong, and no amount of good customer service can fix it.

The lttlebean TikTok account has proven to be a winning formula: Gillian has amassed more than 650,000 followers, and her videos have more than 36 million likes. One secret to that success is the format of the videos themselves.

"I do it as a skit for two different reasons," Gillian told The Takeout. "The first reason is because I think it explains the story better and I don't forget as many details as if I was just telling the story outright. The second reason is because people can pick a side and comment why they think whoever they sided with is right." 

"On top of that, I personally find it more entertaining than just watching someone telling a story," she added.

The interactions recounted in Gillian's videos range from relatable and frustrating to truly bizarre. There's a man who orders items that aren't on the menu, complains when told they aren't available, then has his wife call the restaurant to complain on his behalf. There's a woman who orders a vegetarian Caesar salad for herself and one with chicken for her boyfriend, proceeds to eat the one with chicken on it, then demands a refund for being served non-vegetarian food.

And then, of course, there's the one about the kids menu. In a video that's now been viewed almost 3 million times, Gillian recounts an interaction with a customer who wants to order a kids meal to save money, but wants a full-size portion instead of the kids menu's standard half-size portion, refusing to order from the regular menu to receive a meal of the the desired size. Gillian explains that in order to receive a full-size portion, the customer will be charged for two half-sized kids meals—which is more expensive than just ordering from the regular menu. The customer agrees, only to get mad about it once she sees the bill.

That video got a lot of attention, in part because The Daily Dot published an article about it once it went viral. Gillian didn't love that article, explaining that it gives the impression Gillian was saying adults shouldn't order from the kids menu at all. In a follow-up video, she emphasizes that the real issue is when customers ignore a server's efforts to communicate, then make it the server's problem.

"I personally think anyone should be able to order anything off the kids menu, no matter what age," Gillian told The Takeout. "There's a lot of people who don't eat that much or [have] health issues or medical issues where having smaller meals is very helpful, so I think everyone should be able to order off the kids menu with no problem."

Gillian said she hopes her videos entertain viewers, but also hopes they assure those working in food service that they're not alone in these odd, often frustrating interactions with customers.

"I want people to realize that they aren't the only ones dealing with crazy customers that make absurd requests and maybe make their job terrible," she said. "We are all in this together. I also make sure people know that they can rant in my comments! I love when people do that because I can hear what they are going through, which can make people feel better all around."

Even for those who have never worked as servers, Gillian hopes the videos can help people become better customers, too.

"I would tell them that I can't read their mind," she said. "I feel a lot of customers will come in having bad days and take it out on cashiers. We are just trying to do our jobs, and we don't deserve being treated badly if the customer had a bad day. We are just trying to take your order and help you."