All Of The Times People Tried (And Failed) To Scam Restaurants

failed restaurant scams

Whenever there’s a system in place, at least one person out there will try to cheat it. This holds especially true for the restaurant industry. So many businesses uphold the motto “the customer is always right.” Unfortunately, though, scammers are more than willing to go to all sorts of lengths for a free meal or the chance to win a million dollar lawsuit. So how do employees watch out for these failed restaurant scams?

It’s all about timing.

Many scammers strike during the busiest hours of the day when it’s more likely a slip up will occur. Consequently, the waitstaff has to keep an eye out during morning rushes or happy hours. Restaurants tend to have a lot of foot traffic then. Also, they have to watch out for threats from overly troublesome customers.

Some of the really angry diners initiate lawsuits for millions of dollars against restaurants.

But no matter how hard a restaurant trains its employees to catch scammers in the act, sometimes it’s not enough. However, in these cases, the scammers totally failed.

1. A woman wanted $20 million over a bucket of KFC chicken.

You read that number right.

In 2016, one woman filed a civil suit against KFC. Apparently, her bucket of chicken didn’t look like the ones shown on advertisements. The woman claimed that KFC frequently showed “a bucket of overflowing chicken” on TV. And in attempts to make a solid case, the woman ordered buckets of chicken multiple times. Unsurprisingly, the judicial system dismissed her case.

2. Two teens wanted to sue McDonald’s for making them gain weight.

Didn’t they watch Super Size Me?

In 2003, two teenagers attempted to sue the fast-food chain after they allegedly gained weight from eating there. The teens claimed they weren’t provided with “sufficient information about the health risks” from a Mcdonald’s heavy diet. The lawsuit didn’t work out in their favor, as the judge claimed they were responsible for their own diets.

3. A man tried to sue McDonald’s for giving him one napkin.


He wanted $1.5 million dollars.

According to the man, he returned to the counter to ask for more napkins but was allegedly told he received enough. After complaining to the manager, the man was offered free McDonald’s. However, he wrote in an email that he was “unable to work because of the undue mental anguish and the intentional infliction of emotional distress” from the employee who refused him napkins. Again, a judge dismissed the case.

4. McDonald’s faced a $5 million fee over unwanted cheese.

Yes, cheese.

In 2018, two people sued McDonald’s because they paid full price for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese even though they asked for no cheese. The lawsuit claimed that at one point, there were different prices for cheeseless Quarter Pounders, but the menu changed. Although the customers felt paying for cheese was unjust, the judge didn’t agree and dismissed the case.

5. A woman said she found a finger in her Wendy’s chili.


Who doesn’t remember this?

A woman in California claimed to find a finger in her Wendy’s chili. And her accusation actually cost the fast food chain millions of dollars in business, according to NBC. However, after going viral, the woman revealed that everything she said and did was a scam. Her husband got a finger from a co-worker, and they planted the severed digit in their food.

6. A woman wanted $5 million because Starbucks put too much ice in her coffee.

She couldn’t have just asked for light ice.

A woman from Illinois filed a lawsuit against Starbucks because she thought the amount of ice the company used drastically reduced the amount of her drink. In the lawsuit, the woman claimed that Starbucks tried to scam customers into paying for more product than they actually received. But a judge ruled the case “absurd.” We guess some people don’t like the glass half-full (of ice).

7. A man tried to sue Krispy Kreme for not using fresh raspberries.

Don’t get us wrong, we love Krispy Kreme and their classic doughnuts.

But we would never truly expect them to use farm-fresh fruit in the menu items. However, one man chose to buy a raspberry Krispy Kreme doughnut because he believed the fruit had nutritional value. In a rage over his donut’s health content (or lack thereof), the dissatisfied customer sued the entire establishment for at least $5 million in damages. As you can imagine, he didn’t receive any monetary benefits from the case.

8. A man wanted to sue over a Taco Bell text message.


And we doubt he even had to pay for the messages.

It gets annoying when you constantly receive a bunch of text messages at once. We understand that. But one man wanted to sue Taco Bell because he thought the chain was truly sending him spam. The case, unsurprisingly, got dismissed. And the judge hardly seemed interested in the plaintiff’s overflowing inbox.

9. A police officer almost got away with millions from the McDonald’s Monopoly game.


We didn’t know there was real money in those games.

But this guy did. For an entire decade, a former police officer from Georgia rigged McDonald’s Monopoly game to cash in on more than $24 million. How did he get away with it for so long? He got a job as a security officer to oversee the production of the game. But the scheme caught up to him after the FBI received an anonymous tip about his illegal activities.

10. A couple filed a lawsuit against Burger King for $17.

They didn’t even round up to $20.

We’re not sure $17 is worth going to court, but one couple from Pennsylvania certainly thought it was. After being charged twice for a meal (which rang out to be $17.35), the couple went to small claims court to seek justice. A refund was issued, but not before the couple spent more than $100 in court.

11. A man sued Popeyes after receiving a spork instead of a knife.

A man in Mississipi went after Popeyes with a vengeance.

Apparently, he choked on his food and blamed the incident on the restaurant worker who gave him a spork instead of a knife, Eater reported. According to AP News, the diner felt very indignant. He noted that “his only option was to hold the piece of chicken with his hands and tear off pieces with his teeth.” The man supposedly needed to go to the emergency room, so a professional could remove the piece of chicken. Ultimately, the attorney ended up dropping the lawsuit.

12. A doctor tried to get a restaurant in trouble for not showing him how to eat an artichoke.


And he was an actual doctor.

A doctor in Miami, Florida sued the Hillstone Restaurant Group after he ate an entire grilled artichoke. The doctor claimed to experience intense stomach pains and discomfort after his meal. We know what you’re thinking; that doesn’t sound like the restaurant’s problem. However, the doctor believed that the server should’ve told him how to eat the artichoke properly.

13. A woman thought she could frame a restaurant by putting a razor blade in her burger.


She really wanted that money.

A woman in Louisianna claimed she purchased a sandwich from a fast food chain and took it home to enjoy. Once she got home, though, the woman reportedly had a horrid surprise that landed her in the hospital. She said she found a razor blade in her food. After investigating the allegations, the police claimed that the woman’s wounds looked self-inflicted. They couldn’t find evidence that the sandwich was tampered with at the restaurant.

14. A fake socialite racked up thousands at NYC restaurants.

And no one caught on for ages.

We live in an era when social media influencers are the new celebrities. And Anna Delvey totally tried to take advantage of that. According to Eater, Delvey scammed her way to socialite status by claiming to be a German heiress. Her fake identity got her into famous NYC restaurants such as Le Coucou and Sadelle’s. And once there, she racked up hefty bills. Delvey was eventually found guilty of a few charges, though, including ones of second-degree grand larceny and first-degree attempted grand larceny.

15. An inmate tried to sue Taco Bell for stealing his idea

If you’ve been locked up serving a 25-year prison sentence, you have time to think. Some spend this time imagining days outside or wishing they could go back in time, others, like Gary Cole use it to dream up something special.

In a civil lawsuit, which was promptly dismissed, Cole claimed Taco Bell had stolen his idea for the Doritos Locos Tacos.

Cole said he mailed his attorney a notarized document about the product in 2006 and wanted an FBI investigation. He then contacted the IRS about the matter.

Ultimately it was revealed he was just trying to pass his time filing frivolous pesky.

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