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Do you complain about food at restaurants?

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
I know I'm not the only one who goes to a restaurant, orders a meal, and they bring you the food only it turns out it's not what you expected at all... and you don't like it. Do you send food back and order something else?

Just yesterday for example we went out for brunch. I picked something on the menu that said "steak and eggs skillet" and went on to describe that it was skirt steak, 2 eggs, home fried potatoes with red peppers, and gruyere cheese. What I was expecting was 2 eggs and a small steak, with some potatos and cheese underneath in a skillet. What I got was pieces of steak, potato, peppers, tossed with cheese and placed in a casserole dish like a hash. 2 eggs were sitting on top. I was not pleased.

Now if I had gone on to eat it and found it delicious I would've been glad and not upset by my unmet expectations. But these potatoes were not "skillet" cooked and neither was the steak. It kind of had a casserole consistency, not crispy at all. I'm still upset about it because brunch is my favorite favorite meal and I didn't really enjoy this. Plus the eggs were cooked over hard, not over easy like I'd asked.

Now what would you do? Do you eat the food even if you don't like it or do you send it back because it's not what you expected and try to order something else or tell them to redo it? I never know what to do in these situations. I hate paying for stuff I don't like and leaving hungry but I don't want to be rude.

The toast by the way was the best toast I'd ever had. Maybe because I was starving.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 77
It funny I should come on and see this post as yesterday afternoon I had the worst meal I have ever had at a restraunt. I took mymom out to a small roadside dinner for a lunch on the way to a funeral service we had to attend. We both ordered what to us were simple "cant mess them up" kinda meals. WOW were we wrong. I had hot chicken sandwich. it was totally unedible. The tin can tasting gravey was plastered all over the driest chicken I have ever seen on top of wonderbread. The mashed potato was...well to be honest mom and I couldnt figure out what they did to those to make them so terrible. Even the pickled beets were tinny tasting and nasty.

Did we complain? No we didnt.....we just will never go back and were sure to let other family members we saw know about out experience. I would of thought however that as a waitress she should of asked if there was something wrong with the meal as neither one of us ate it. In point of fact she never even asked how things were or I would of told her.

The shame of it is this little place used to be a favorite of my mothers years ago. It sure isnt on top of my list!!!! I wish in hind site I had let them know how unhappy we were with that meal but my mom is not one to make a fuss over that type of thing and since that ship has sailed perhaps I can write them a letter....I find it hard to believe they are cooking like that tho and not aware how awful their food is....ick I can still taste that nasty canned gravey .
post #3 of 77
Do I complain? You betcha! It's my money that's being spent, and I expect to get what I ordered.

The unfortunate thing is that most folks, nowadays, do not complain. They accept shoddy goods and service---and, often enough, even leave a tip for it. To my mind, that just trains people that they don't have to deliver their best, because third and fourth best will do.

Now then, "complaining" doesn't necessarily mean yelling and screaming and carrying on. For starters, a quiet word to the server, a la', "this is not what I ordered," gets the ball rolling. If that doesn't do it, then you speak to the manager. And if that doesn't do it, you cancel the meal by walking out.

At some point, depending on the severity of the crime, you might have to escalate the loudness of your response. But, whether quietly or loudly, your complaint should be registered---else the problem never gets addressed.

By the same token, I also want exemplary service on the record, and make sure that when that happens the people in charge know about it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 77
Thread Starter 
This I understand. If I don't get what I ordered I do send it back for example:

- my steak is overcooked, not med-rare
- there are tomatoes on my sandwich that I specifically said to hold
- there is gravy on my meat that I wanted on the side
- there is cheese on my salad eventhough I said "no cheese please"
- there are french fries on my plate instead of the roasted potatoes I ordered.
- they gave me regular coke if I ordered a diet coke.

These sort of things I see as mistakes and have no problem sending them back. I do so in a kind fashion without yelling or getting upset. But when it comes to not liking the food I'm at a loss. I wouldn't know what to say if I simply didn't care for the food at all.

For example, we went to a restaurant in Greece and ordered meatballs. The thing about greek restaurants is that they all have the same menu, the only difference is the quality from one place to the next, even in the same price range. So at this one restaurant they brought out our meatballs appetizer and I quickly discovered they had put curry in them. It wasn't advertised as having curry in them but I am not a fan of curry, especially when I'm not expecting it to appear on my taste buds. I simply didn't eat them. Should I have said I don't like them, send them back, and not expect to pay for them?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 77
The curried meatballs are a perfect example, Koukouvagia.

Unless marked as such, there is no reason for you to have expected curry. So I would just explain to the server that I don't eat curry, and had no reason to expect it in the meatballs, because it's very unusual, and that I'd like to substitute something else.

There shouldn't be any problem with that approach. If there is, that's when you start escalating.

"I'm not paying for that crap!" should be a last resort, not an opening salvo.

Where a problem exists, IMO, is when there is something strange to you on the menu that you decide to try. If it comes to you as described, and you don't care for it, then the ball is in your court. After all, you ordered it. But more times than not, if you discussed your choice first with the server, and still ordered it, they will substitute something. However, if what comes to you bears little resemblence to the menu description (such as the skillet you originally described), and you don't like it, then send it back. It wasn't what you ordered.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 77
If I don't receive what I ordered, as in an overcooked steak, I send it back.
If I receive something I didn't expect, not necessarily so.
I've never seen a skillet breakfast that used whole meats, it's always chopped bacon, sausage pieces, etc.
I would be unhappy with the quality of the potatoes, and the overcooked eggs, but would chalk up the steak to you just not understanding the dish, or their failure to properly communicate the preparation methods.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #7 of 77
I generally don't send things back unless they are completely inedible and I had a bad experience at a local place when I sent back three burned hamburgers. I knew they were burned because they were black on one side and I mean BLACK and actually tasted like burned meat. The cook (who apparently has years of experience and has his red seal.. I know I should call him a chef but IMHO he is not as he has no passion for his work) was really rude to us and reluctantly redid our meals. It left me wondering.. how could he sell that food and expect repeat business or people to actually consume it and enjoy the experience? It was the first and last time we went to that eatery. It's not doing well and it's obvious.. I walk by every day on my way home from work and he is outside on his patio having a smoke.. again another thing that he shouldn't be doing as there isn't alot of distance between the patio and the doors to go inside his place. Who says he'll be out of busniess by the end of the year???
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #8 of 77
Think of it like this / A menu is a contract that the place is going to supply you what it says in a recognized manner that is acceptable. Where as you are agreeing to submit payment to them the amount stated for what they state.. If they violate the contract, just refuse payment. The contract is null and void.
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post #9 of 77
Good point Ed. I only put up what I would be willing to pay money for and consume.. and if I see something that looks like junk I trash it and remake it before it even gets to the table. I did that yesterday.. I made some perfectly good scrambled eggs but they sat in the window too long and I told the owner that I can't sell that plate so I quickly remade some nice looking scramblers and sold those instead. It's the little things that keep the diners happy and keep them coming back.
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post #10 of 77
Took mother-in law and other aged relative for lunch in Abroath last week. Traditional fish place.
Well my lunch was floating in grease and if i'd been paying for it i'd have said something, but it was my birthday treat and they would have been upset if i'd made a fuss. They realy would.
I bit my tongue...Hard
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #11 of 77
I never send food back and expect to eat at that sitting...If I send food back, I'm not paying for it and I'm not eating anything that comeback from the kitchen.
post #12 of 77
A server will never improve if you leave a tip for bad service, and a place will never get better if you accept mediocraty and bad or cold food. Only way to let them know is THROUGH THE POCKET. Send it back and complain
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post #13 of 77
Thread Starter 
I understand this sentiment... many New Yorkers actually feel this way. They think that if you send something back to the kitchen you should be afraid of what they will do to your food out of anger before sending it back out.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 77
I was at the Red Lobster and my trout was dry as the Saraha, I did not send it back because I was afraid they would do something to it. (like spit in it)
But from here on in, it is going back, at 17 dollars a plate, I deserve to have it properly cooked.

Petals
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Baby Cake
(4 photos)
Victorian cupcakes
(10 photos)
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post #15 of 77
Everyone should have your attitude!:chef:
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post #16 of 77
I don't complain, neither does my wife. I think if they can't see that we didn't eat, then it wasn't good. I've only had this happen once, that the food was really bad. It was a cajun rest. in Colorado Springs. It was just my wife & I and she had a "sampler" plate and I had cajun/blackend catfish. Wife tried one bite of all 4 samples, liked one and ate that but didn't touch the rest, plate looked nearly full. I had 3 bites, wife had 1, of my fish and it was so over spiced it was not edible.(I'm serious) I ate some of the rice, had a couple beers and waited for the server to see our plates. Well, the owner/manager comes by and asked how our meal was. I smiled, looked at my plate and looked at him, wife said it was good.:eek: He then said, "I'm glad you liked it, thank you for coming to ___." As he left I looked at him as to say "WHAT!". I then asked my wife, "what do you think is bad?" We laughed and grabed a nasty mcd's burger on the way to the hotel.

I'd go back, but I think they closed the doors. People have off days, it happens.

Look'n back, I should have said something. If I cared enough I would have asked him to try it. If he cared enough he would have asked why 3/4 of the fish was still on my plate. He was just go'n thru the motions. I guess we were both at fault to help keep his rest. open.
post #17 of 77
What would I do?

Well I would probably never eat at that restaurant for at least couple of months. I would eat brunch home (cook it myself, or let the wife cook it) and after couple of weeks I would try other restaurants in the hope I would find one that meets all my needs and expectations.

Oh yeah, I will complain, but not necessarily to them. There are many sites that accept reviews. Write what you wrote here and submit the "nicest" review about them on each of these online communities. You can't beat that satisfaction. Now this is what I call justice.
post #18 of 77

Skillet

When I see items, especially at breakfast or brunchtime listed as skillet items I routinely figure they will be akin to a hash type meal, with everything in the dish sort of scrambled together. If I have a choice of egg type in it and I order sunnyside or over easy I expect them to be placed on top of the hash type contents, if I specify scrambled for the eggs I expect them to be mixed in with all the other contents. On the issue of complaining about it, it depends, if the menu doesn't state exactly what it is and I didn't ask about a more thorough description then no I wouldn't complain and chalk it up to a lesson learned about clarifying those menu descriptions I deem to be lacking, if on the other hand it stated I would recieve a small intact steak with potatoes and eggs and I then recieved a hash type deal then absolutly they would hear about it. The way a lot of menu descriptions are written seem like the writers are more interested in using those flowery words than in giving the diner a clear cut description of exactly what they are getting, I don't need to have a 400 word description to tell me about the $6 burger I just ordered, I just want to know that I can have that simple all beef burger done the way I like it without a hassle.;)
post #19 of 77
Well, Actually I don't like to complain but remember that
we don't complain how much it cost we just pay for it.
So it's our right to have a decent food.
post #20 of 77

do I complain about food at restaurants?

I think it depends on the person who complains about food at a restaurant. Me personally, I do not complain about food at a restaurant, unless thier is something wrong with the food, or something in the food, or the food takes a half an hour or longer to make. For example two days ago I went out to a popular restaurant with three friends, and one of my friends noticed their was hair in her food. This kind of thing has never happened to me personally before but If it did yes I would complain about the hair in my food. My friend did complain about the hair in the food and the manager came out and said they were making a brand new meal and that her dinner was complimentary. Now I will still go eat at this restaurant because I have no ill feelings, because this happened sometimes things like this happen but it doesn't mean the restaurant is bad or dirty.
post #21 of 77
I agree though because in the end I guess a reatuarant knows their food is bad. If it were me I would of done the same thing, not of said anything, because I don't want to be rude.In a different circumstance such as something misplaced is in your food, then you should say something, but If you don't like the food other people might like it so saying that you didn't like it wont do much. I have eaten bad food before I usually don't say anything and to be nice I ask for a box and take the food home but, then never eat it.
post #22 of 77
A point to ponder: if there IS a problem with food preparation in the restaurant, if no one "complains", management may not know there is a problem.

Remember, unless a problem is known, solutions cannot be implemented.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #23 of 77
For some reason I feel bad saying oh this is not what I ordered especially If they are busy. For example I go to Jacksonville University and eat at a restaurant in the school and every once in awhile I order a quesadila with out chicken, so its just plain cheese with nothing on it, 3 out of the 5 times I have ordered it It has had chicken in it and I did not say anything about it. First of all because everyone usually orders a chicken quesadila and they are usually always extremely busy so I just feel horrible just really complaining about it, plus it's not like im a vegetarian and I can stand eating the chicken.
post #24 of 77
Thread Starter 
Oh this sounds stressful. You're one of those customers that feels like the restaurant is doing you a favor by serving you food. I get it, it's hard to be confrontational, especially when you see the restaurant is busy. But remember you're there to give them business and you should at least get what you ordered. I can understand not wanting to complain if you didn't enjoy the meal but why should you have to eat chicken when you ordered cheese?

Take out can be tricky as well. We order chinese take out about once a week and the lady that takes our order makes it her life's mission to get us off the phone as quickly as possible. I actually have to write down what we want so I don't forget to ask for something because it's such a high anxiety phone call. I can't even take a moment's breath between words because forget it, she's hung up already "Okthankyoubye!"

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #25 of 77
You may be doing youself and your favorite Restaurant an injustice by not complaining. It only makes a kitchen better by letting them know what wrong. A Restaurant owner needs input, the Chef needs feed back. And the cooks need to realize that every meal that goes out, pays their wage. Just leaving food on your plate doesn't count. There are also ways of complaining that would not offend. I always tell my favorite restaurant the good and the bad. Its a win win situation if you have a good relationship with the restaurant. First of all when I go out for dinner I want the best, the Restaurant should want to be the best. We both want the same thing, lets help eachother..................Bill
post #26 of 77
I think it depends on the person who complains about food at a restaurant. Me personally, I do not complain about food at a restaurant, unless thier is something wrong with the food, or something in the food, or the food takes a half an hour or longer to make. For example two days ago I went out to a popular restaurant with three friends, and one of my friends noticed their was hair in her food. This kind of thing has never happened to me personally before but If it did yes I would complain about the hair in my food. My friend did complain about the hair in the food and the manager came out and said they were making a brand new meal and that her dinner was complimentary. Now I will still go eat at this restaurant because I have no ill feelings, because this happened sometimes things like this happen but it doesn't mean the restaurant is bad or dirty.
post #27 of 77
And I'll be willing to bet, rgladso, that the manager then investigated how the hair got there. But (s)he never would investigate if your friend hadn't complained.

I would also have to say that if I was served the wrong order three out of five times, I wouldn't be eating at that restaurant anymore. There is no excuse for that.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #28 of 77
If you can't cut hair don't become a barber. If you can't fix a car don't become a car mechanic. If you can;t cook don't become a chef. And if you can't run a restaurant, DO NOT OPEN ONE> end of story.
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post #29 of 77
Never complain. Never go to a cook or chef in the middle of a rush. Unless I am spending a whole pay check on a meal, why complain over a 10 dollar plate of food. And if I take you out and you complain... You can pay for your own meal
"If You Can't Handle The Heat... Get Yo Self Out The Kitchen"
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"If You Can't Handle The Heat... Get Yo Self Out The Kitchen"
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post #30 of 77
I sent a half rack of ribs back at a steakhouse one time. The bottom was burnt to ill-regard. The manager had no problems, and came out with a different rack.


If it's inedible I'll send it back. That means...

It's too greasy
Overseasoned
Burnt or just Incorrectly prepared...


Never gotten the hair but I'd send it back if I did.


One other thing would be if it's too small portion-wise, try and pass off 5oz of meat as 8 oz. Or a 14 inch pizza as 16.
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