The Ingenious Ways Servers Get Customers To Leave Restaurants

Closing time for restaurants means leaving time for customers. But for staff, it means another job has just begun — with another remaining hour or so of cleaning and getting the restaurant ready for the opening crew. When customers stay past a restaurant's closing time, then, it delays when the staff can start this process and get home to enjoy their free time.

Recently, a TikToker filmed a video while eating a salad in a relatively empty, quiet restaurant — except for the piercing screams coming from the eatery's speakers. (Per the Daily Dot, the video could have been staged since the same user posted a previous video at what appears to be the same restaurant. In that clip, though, she was an employee playing a trick on annoying customers.)

However, that hasn't stopped plenty of viewers from commenting on the more recent TikTok, remarking on the ingeniousness of restaurant workers apparently blasting screaming noises to make customers want to pay their bill and get out. A fellow restaurant employee responded, "need to start doing this thanks for the tip," while others left comments about the other creative ways they've gotten stubborn customers to leave.

Other restaurant workers have used the same trick

Whether or not @mera_carlsjrangelgirl's TikTok was genuine, it's apparently not so uncommon for restaurant workers to play off-putting sounds to encourage lingering diners to go home. One commenter on the video said, "At my job we played Halloween horror and screaming sounds once because these teenage boys were taking forever to leave after close." Others said they've gone the passive-aggressive route to inform customers they're closing. "At my restaurant, we just shut the music and TVs off and start turning off major lighting to let people know they need to leave but I'm def gonna do this," one user said.

With waiters typically making their money off of tips, it's understandable that staying for extra time because of a couple of straggling customers can be frustrating. It's not hard to see, then, why some servers would resort to creative ways to get the last restaurant-goers out of the door. However, as one commenter joked about the camaraderie of restaurant staff, it's always possible that the strange noises you hear coming from the kitchen "aren't sound effects."