A fun, interactive cafe turning customer service on its head

A fun, interactive cafe turning customer service on its head
Kaylah Joelle Baker

A new dining experience is moving to Lygon St and gearing up to shock, surprise and entertain diners with their “great food” and “hilariously rude waiters”.

A pop-up diner that first opened in Sydney, Karen’s Diner is coming to Carlton from March 24.

Intentional about getting justice for all hospitality workers impacted by rude customers, Karen’s Diner waitstaff turn the experience back on to diners instead of remaining composed.

“It is a fun experience for the staff, most of whom are professional actors, and it is also fun for the customers to be on the receiving end,” a spokesperson for Karen’s Diner said. 


Our staff are rude, fed up and will give it back as good as they get.


The coining of the name and term “Karen” is one many people have spent the past few years trying to avoid being labelled as, which is typically used to describe entitled, disagreeable middle-aged customers requesting to speak to the manager over minor incidents.

But Karen’s Diner is taking a stand, not only for hospitality staff but also diners needing to “vent their anger and dismay at the world” in a humorous, casual setting.

“Karen’s Diner has come at the right time. After COVID and all of the lockdowns, people have a lot of pent-up frustration and Karen’s is somewhere that they can release that frustration in a light-hearted way,” the spokesperson said.

The diner is one of the latest shops opening their doors through the City of Melbourne’s shopfront activation program.

A joint initiative of both the council and the Victorian Government, the program aims to help create more buzz in the city, funded as part of the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund.

Residing in previously vacant spaces, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said she “can’t wait” to see the stores and dining experiences open and in action.

“There’s always room for more fun and laughter filling our streets, and we’re thrilled to welcome Karen’s Diner to the city, with comedy season just around the corner,” she said.

While the entertainment value of the retro diner will be its most notable attraction, Karen’s Diner also prides itself on its quality handcrafted burgers, wings, fries and all things “cholesterol heavy”.

And if your name actually is Karen, don’t worry. No judgement will be bestowed upon you due to the staff insisting you come along for a free drink with proof of identity.

For a fun space where only those daring enough to ask for the manager are tested, book yourself a table now via its dedicated website.

Karen’s Diner will reside at 398-400 Lygon St and all who are keen to release their “inner Karen” are welcomed and encouraged.

 For more information bemorekaren.com

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