The original Karen’s Diner opened in Sydney only last year – but the outlandish concept has been so well received that the chain is now looking to conquer Australia and even the world. There are already branches in Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and a second location recently opened in Sydney. In the UK, branches were opened in Sheffield and Manchester. Other locations are planned in the USA, Canada and New Zealand, as can be read on the website. Germany is not among them – yet.
Whether it’s age, eating habits, haircuts or clothes – everything out of the ordinary is used as an opportunity to publicly embarrass guests. Service personnel in red and white aprons must be very quick-witted and act almost like actors.
When an Asian woman orders a vegetarian dish instead of a meat or chicken burger, the waiter grabs the microphone and points a finger at the woman and taunts, “We’ve got a vegan in the room! Buuuuh!” A chorus of “boos” resounded in place, followed by much laughter. This interactive ’50s-style burger shop is designed to be fun. The series itself speaks of “an absurdly funny experience”. The restaurant is popular for birthday parties or stag parties.
However, the taunts are down to business, gossip and slander, and the (advanced) age of some guests is brazenly pointed out – and blunt expletives are used more than once. Therefore, young people under the age of 16 are only allowed to enter accompanied by adults. Even those who are easily offended or take things personally are not in good hands here.
There’s good news for everyone with a real name Karen: You’ll get a free drink. On the other hand, it’s bad when a guest orders something else or asks for ketchup or salt: “Now you’re coming with that? Haven’t you thought about it before?” The waitress hissed and rolled her eyes.
“It was a fun evening,” said a Sydney man as he walked out. “The restaurant keeps everything it promises: bold service, funny presentation, and a delicious burger.”
But there is also a misunderstanding. Karen’s Diner was heavily discussed on social media after its opening. One Australian wrote: “Why would anyone want to eat in a restaurant with such a negative vibe, that is not mine at all.” Another user said: “What a complete waste of money. There must be something wrong with people if they pay good money to be intentionally insulted.”
Meanwhile, the evening ends as brazenly as it began. Late at night, one of the waiters grabs the microphone again. “Go pay your bills!” “Then get out of here!”
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