How to send back a meal politely | Gourmand and Gourmet

How to send back a meal politely

  • Food & Booze
Dining out should be a fun, nourishing experience. Whether you’re on a starry-eyed dinner date with your significant other, out at the local pub with your mates, or catching up with an old friend for coffee and cake, eating out should always be awesome. Period. So naturally, when the wrong dish is delivered to your table, or your meal doesn’t quite satisfy your standards, or if it is late, or fails to arrive completely, we food-crazed folk tend to get a bit emotional. As a waitress myself, I’ve encountered my fair share of sassy customers, and have tackled more complaints than one would care to disclose. The truth is that if something goes wrong, you are well within your rights to complain. This doesn’t, however, give you free reign to aggressively attack a poor, unsuspecting waiter (see below). If you want to make mention of a few little errors in your dining experience, but don’t fancy coming across as a horribly annoying whinger or aggressive douche, here are a few tips: Don’t shoot the messenger. Your waiter did not cook your meal. They are merely the middle person. Therefore, it is essential that you treat them, as basic as it sounds, like human beings. This said, don’t be afraid to approach your waiter if you encounter a problem. We’re a tough breed. We can handle complaints. Don’t eat it and then complain. A customer once grumbled to me that her prawns were “the worst she’d ever eaten in her life” even though the plate in front of her was wiped clean. Needless to say, I felt as though I wanted to slap the repellent woman across the face with my service tray. The ‘eat it then beat it’ ploy not only makes you look like a right donkey, but it also worsens your chances of getting your way with the restaurant. Don’t exaggerate. Saying things like “this steak is so undercooked it could almost jump off the plate and walk itself back to the cattle farm” does not make us want to help you. It only makes us, and everyone else in the kitchen, want to burp all over your food. Fact. Be specific. What do you actually want your waiter to do? Do you want a refund? A re-cook? Another meal entirely? Do you want to speak to the manager? Pinpoint the issue, be constructive in your feedback, and chances are the restaurant will do everything it possibly can to make amends. Do it on the spot. Many food outlets nowadays have hopped on the social media bandwagon, allowing customers to engage with them directly from their own homes. Unfortunately, in its wake, this has conceived a new generation of serial online complainers who expel their frustration from behind a keyboard instead of face-to-face. Don’t be that person. You’ll save time and dignity if you just raise the issue with your waiter in the flesh.   By Hannah Konecny