George Segal is known for his sculptures of people placed in different scenes. His works include figures in a gas station, an elevator, standing in front of a mirror, and in this case, sitting at a diner counter. The artist called these types of artworks "situation sculptures." To make the figures, Segal wrapped bandages soaked in plaster around the bodies of his friends or models. When the bandages had dried and hardened, he carefully cut them off and reassembled the cast of the body. Then he combined these human figures with found objects to create different scenes.
The Diner is a life-size sculpture that shows two people at a counter--a customer and a server. The found objects Segal included came from a diner in New Jersey that had closed. The artist was also inspired by his memories of stopping at this type of restaurant during his late-night drives home to New Jersey after visiting art galleries in New York City.