Karen’s Diner Sparks Debate: Can Burgers With a Side of Snide Be ‘Bad’ for Your (Mental) Health?

Should Incidents at Karen’s Diner Chermside, Melbourne Cause for Alarm?

When Karen’s Diner burst onto the dining scene last year, the novelty of a restaurant that dishes ‘burgers with a side of snide’ instantly became the talk of the town. But its unique and daring concept, along with recent incidents at their Chermside and Melbourne venues, have sparked some concerns.

“Karen is a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people’s behaviors.” – Dictionary.com

Undoubtedly, Karen’s Diner’s unique gimmick has become a must-try hit, with most customers taking (and dishing out!) the verbal rough-housing in the spirit of fun that the concept intended.

However, some experts have expressed concerns, pointing out that incidences of verbal ‘abuse’ (albeit in the spirit of getting into the ‘swing of things’ at the restaurant) could compromise the psychological and physical safety of the establishment’s staff.

Karen’s Diner
Photo Credit: Karen’s Diner / Facebook

Professional therapists have also pointed out that customers who are on the receiving end of the playful and naughty antics are also exposed to psychological dangers themselves.

This is particularly concerning for the kids, one clinical psychologist said, as some jokes could potentially cross the line that could leave damaging effects on the child’s psychological health.

Karen’s Diner
Photo Credit: Karen’s Diner / Facebook

A Karen’s Diner – Westfield Chermside incident made the social media rounds in July 2022. Caught on the already-deleted video was a staff member making vulgar comments and doing an inappropriate sexual gesture in front of a 14-year-old girl, forcing the restaurant to apologise to the family.

A spokeswoman assured their patrons that their staff undergo stringent hiring and training processes and that the restaurant will make sure to put in place stricter training rules so that similar incidents would not ever happen.

In early June 2022, a family was escorted out of a Karen’s Diner restaurant in Melbourne after an altercation with the staff which the management said ended amicably.

Karen’s Diner house rules
House rules at Karen’s Diner | Photo Credit: Karen’s Diner / bemorekaren.com

Karen’s Diner is an interactive burger joint that attempts to make the dining experience more fun with their purposely rude staff and bad service that dares customers to channel their “inner Karen”, in a not-so-serious way.

The interactive restaurant’s house rules posted on its website reads, “no racism, no sexism, no homophobic commens, no body images comments, no ableist comments, do not touch our staff, no sexual remarks towards staff members.”