This study addresses the causal linkage between customer incivility and service quality through the lens of self-determination theory, according to which need satisfaction as a potential mechanism mediates this relationship. Additionally, it examines the moderating role of surface acting in the relationship between customer incivility and need satisfaction. Dyadic questionnaires were collected from restaurant employees and their customers in Taiwan. A total of 190 employees and 645 customers participated in this study. Results found that need satisfaction mediates the negative relationship between customer incivility and service quality. Surface acting moderates the relationship between customer incivility and need satisfaction as well as the mediation effect of customer incivility on service quality through need satisfaction. Specifically, the indirect effect of need satisfaction on the relation between customer incivility and service quality creativity was more significantly negative at a high level of surface acting than the effect at a low level.