From online trolling to personal insults, restaurant workers face hostility in the wake of COVID – 614NOW

While many restaurants simply never recovered from the outbreak and aftermath of COVID-19, most of the survivors are still feeling the effects of the pandemic. Today, according to several Columbus restaurant owners, employees in the local service industry are often forced to deal not only with the stress of their job duties, but also with the simmering frustration of customers across the city.

For many restaurants, the source of frustration is more directly related to COVID-19 than others. Buckeye Pho, a restaurant that is still understaffed, may only be open for dining on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. According to a recent Instagram statement from the restaurant, several customers have been beating the workers over this.

“We understand your frustration because we only ate dinner on FRIDAYS, SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS. We need more help and more staff to cover our missing areas.

However upset you may be, PLEASE DO NOT YELL OR BLAME OUR STAFF. If you want to help us, we’ll hire you!” is the statement.


According to Joey Sexton, one of the owners of Sexton’s Pizza, he and his employees face a similar problem. Sexton said the restaurant makes its dough several days in advance, a process entirely dependent on labor availability. When the pizzeria sells out because there wasn’t enough help available beforehand, the day’s staff has to deal with the consequences.

At other restaurants, however, owners and employees are dealing with a barrage of digital insults.

Hoggy’s BBQ and Catering recently took to social media to target many of its own “trolls.” In a social media video where individuals offer unsolicited criticism of photos and videos of the restaurant’s food, recognized customers can and should offer their opinions, but ask that people keep their feedback productive.

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Hoggy’s owner, Kyle Turner, believes these outbursts are a symptom of internet culture.

“Personally, I find it very difficult to convey emotions in texts when you don’t know someone. There’s one thing about cracking a sarcastic joke in a group of friends. But you might not tell that joke to people you don’t know,” he said.

Janvier Ward, owner of Creole 2 Geaux, agreed with Turner’s view. Her restaurant recently received a one-star rating on any platform for the first time in eight years. While she noted that she understands bad experiences happen, what Ward found frustrating was that certain customers seemed to have created accounts just to disparage local restaurants.

“Usually when we get a bad review, I reach out to the person, we have a dialogue and we take care of things. That’s important to me. But when I looked back at this person’s reviews, they were all one star. That’s nobody to talk to.” She said. “All we ask is for grace to be bestowed on us. Even if the food wasn’t great, let us know. This is our livelihood.”

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