If you work as a restaurant server on a Sunday morning into afternoon shift, then you might have encountered the dreaded "Church Crowd." While painting an entire demographic of people with a broad stroke seems like the exact kind of thing every after-school TV special told us not to do when we were growing up, it seems like there are legions of restaurant servers/customers who would probably tell you that this stereotype exists for a reason.
Heck, there's even an entire sub-genre of memes dedicated to lampooning the hypocrisy of a group who listens to sermons containing lessons of human righteousness, even tossing some of their own money into a collection plate to benefit the Church community as a whole, only to head into a restaurant and treat a server like they stole their dying child's donor organs.
Oh, and apparently they're really crumby when it comes to tipping, or they don't even bother to leave a gratuity at all.
And it's pretty safe to say that you could count a restaurant manager and TikToker named Kellie (@ambryrae) as a believer in the "church restaurant crowds are the worst" camp.
She detailed her experience in a viral clip that's accumulated a staggering 1.8 million views on the controversial social media application, which begins with a group of 25 people who visited her restaurant, without a reservation, on an especially busy Sunday.
A woman from the Church Crowd who inquired about seating their large party couldn't seem to understand that it would be some before all of them could be seated: due to how packed the establishment was and the number of people in the group Kellie told her that it would be around an hour to hour and fifteen minute wait.
The guest agreed to wait to be seated for that time, but it wasn't long before she was back at the host's station asking when she was going to be seated, and Kellie had to remind her again of the original window she gave her, as it hadn't been an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes yet.
Finally, the area large enough to accommodate 25 people was set and ready to go, so Kellie led the group to the table, but right off the bat, the guest wasn't really all that happy with what she was seeing.
When Kellie asked if she had an issue with the area the woman said, "This ain't no private room?"
"No ma'am this is not a private room we don't even have private rooms," she told the Church Crowd leader, and further explained that these are the only accommodations she could make for a party of 25 guests at the restaurant and that a private dining experience isn't possible as there are other guests in the restaurant and she just can't ask them to up and leave.
Since the irate woman ultimately agreed to have the party seated at the table despite complaining loudly about it, Kellie knew the servers were going to be in for a rough evening, so she made sure to round them up to devise a game plan for how they were going to tackle the Church Crowd table.
The next bizarre development in her ordeal with the Church Crowd: before the group even takes off their coats or sits down in their chairs, the leader of the pack is already asking Kellie how long it's going to take before their food comes out. Kellie tries to explain to them that they need to be seated so the wait staff can take their orders.
Eventually, everyone was seated and Kellie was able to get everyone's orders, she had the wait staff bring out bread and salads and appetizers, but the servers encountered a problem: folks at the table, while the restaurant crew taking care of the 25-deep Church Crowd, decided to up and swap seats, leading to confusion among Kellie's crew, which prompted a series of snide remarks from the caustic C.C. Leader, who loudly questioned the staff's competence.
It's at this point that Kellie told her staff to not worry about where they put the plates of food on the table and that the group could be left to figure out who got what because she just wanted them out of the establishment as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the seat switching madness continued well into when the Church Crowd's entrees were being served, leading to even more food service pandemonium.
At this point in Kellie's story you're probably thinking to yourself: "Please don't tell me a bunch of people asked for their food to be sent back and prepared differently."
If you were, then I am sorry to inform you that this is exactly what happened — the ennui in Kellie's eyes as she paints the picture of the chaotic scene with plates of food being passed around to other diners and into server's arms while the customers are complaining and babies are crying is like a painting of the ninth circle of restaurant hell.
She also pointed out a singular odd side request from the group: collard greens, even though they were dining at an Italian restaurant. After the dust settled from the second course, Kellie decided that it was time to take a break from the group...but as she was walking away from the table she heard a commotion erupt from behind her.
The way Kellie described what was going on...it sounded like a scene straight out of the '80s guitar hero flick Crossroads, according to the TikToker there were people clapping their hands, banging a tambourine and generally causing what she called a "ruckus," one that seemed to be in competition with a nearby table that were being equally loud and "obnoxious."
As the restaurant manager, she didn't want her other paying customers disturbed, but before she could address the bedlam breaking out in the joint, the Church Crowd asked Kellie to go to the adjacent table and tell them to quiet down because they were currently engaged in a "worship session."
Kellie told them that this wasn't possible because this nearby table, just like her group of 25 church goers, paid to go out and have a good time. She added that "if anything" she would have requested that the Jesus Squad maybe lower their voices a bit, as they could be heard from the other side of the restaurant and were making significantly more noise than anyone else in the place.
The Church Crowd leader didn't like that one bit: she turned to the group at large and started accusing Kellie of asking the group to leave. Peeved that the diner would blatantly lie about what she said, Kellie remarked that her initial reaction was to try and defend herself to the group, but then saw it as her opportunity to finally get them the heck out of the restaurant, even if it meant that she looked like the bad guy.
The horror was far from over though: each guest requested a separate check and everyone in the group took their sweet time in exiting the restaurant. After gathering up all the settled bills, Kellie noticed that one of the bills wasn't paid.
And although she wanted them gone ASAP, Kellie couldn't allow her to waltz out of there without paying, not after all the heart — and head ache she put everybody through: from fellow customers just trying to enjoy their meal without having to listen to someone scream about the book of Deuteronomy, to the servers who were ridiculed and treated disrespectfully and forced to run back and forth from the kitchen, and the chefs who had to re-make a bunch of dishes for the unsavory group.
Kellie let the woman know that there was someone in the group who didn't have their tab covered, and it turns out it belonged to a young man. The Church Group leader approached him holding the bill, and asked if he had any money to cover the bill: the young man did not.
It's at this moment Kellie saw the previously cantankerous, nasty, and demanding troglodyte of a woman all of sudden transform into a "sweet as pie" individual.
The C.C. Leader asked the Restaurant Manager if she would like to be the young man's "blessing" and just gift him a meal — a comment the restaurant manager audibly laughed at in her video. Kellie informed her that this wasn't possible, and the leader of the restaurant party from hell pushed back, stating that they brought the establishment 25 people, so all of this commerce should be worth comping a single meal.
Kellie wasn't having it: she retorted by pointing to the "other 24 people" of the Church Crowd as one of the folks who could possibly bless the young man by paying for the food he ordered without having any money to foot the bill.
In the end, the ornery Church Group Leader covered the cost of the young man's check, and tipped $50 on a $350 bill, before finally telling the restaurant manager that she could've given more in gratuity, if she didn't "have to pay for Junior's food," which Kellie finds hilarious.
Her tale wasn't just a vent session, however, as Kellie believes the incongruity between the behavior of "Church Group" diners is a clear demonstration of their inability to apply whatever they are pretending to learn in the House of the Lord in real life situations.
"I just wanna know what y'all be learning in church because once y'all leave that church and y'all come to these restaurants, y'all are some of the meanest....some of the most unkind people that we ever have to serve."
It wasn't all just doom and gloom and existential ruminations on the inefficacy of a supposedly righteous instilling good morals into people, as Kellie believes she ultimately found a solution to help the Church Crowd come correct.
"I'mma start telling people's pastors...I'mma start telling on y'all," she warned.