Mention Disappointments When Eating Out

Don't be too bashful to bring up your disappointments when eating out! List things that you feel are wrong on the back of your dinner ticket and mention it when you cash out to the cashier. Writing it on the form that is often supplied doesn't always get you somewhere. The forms can "disappear" and no one who will actually do anything will ever see them. (Unfortunately, that is often left in the hands of waiters or waitresses and they don't want their boss to know they didn't do a very good job so the cards get thrown away!) The receipts on the other hand have to be kept!


I did this recently and was rewarded not only by not having to pay for my meal,but I was given a $25 gift certificate as an incentive to come back and give them another try at better service! Make sure your complaint doesn't get stifled before it reaches a supervisor or manager!

My list included:

1. Waited 5 minutes for a table when there were 5 tables empty in the section we wanted to be in.

2. Iced tea was delivered room temperature with only a couple pieces of ice.

3. Waited 5 minutes for a coffee cup.

4. There was no sugar on the table. Had to get it from another table.

5. Was slighted on the gravy with only a couple tablespoons on potatoes and open face roast beef sandwich and was charged for it as a side item.

6. Was offered cottage cheese as a side item but they don't even serve it anymore and haven't for quite some time.

All these things made for an uncomfortable dinner. Listing them and quietly pointing them out rather than getting irate in public paid off!

By melody_yesterday from Sedalia, MO

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By DENISE (Guest Post)
June 4, 20080 found this helpful

As a former server, sometimes the hostess or front desk hold off on seating a table because the wait staff needs time to catch up. If you need something just ask because sometime waiters are human and may have just been distracted by another table. Waiters are usually doing 5 or 6 jobs at once not like it is in the movie. Relax and enjoy your meal. If you are a needy person just ask the staff they are usually willing to help you. It is better to ask just like people ask you at your job.Good Luck

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June 5, 20080 found this helpful

If there is a problem with the food itself, it is VERY IMPORTANT to let the kitchen know so they can replace the meal right there (portion too small, overcooked, undercooked, spoiled, etc etc). If you phone them the next day, they will say that you should have told them while dining.

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with Denise; I was a server for many years and know how hard a job it can be. What a hungry customer might call poor service might just be some frazzled waitress trying to deal with any number of things going on in the background. And more than once I've known customers who find something wrong *just* so they can get something taken off the bill!


If something really bothers you and you feel like you've been given poor service then by all means point it out, but ticking off every little flaw isn't fair and isn't likely to encourage better service. More than likely you'll just get a reputation as 'that table' who no one wants to wait on.

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

I'm with Tapestry Lady. I've never waited tables . . . I don't think I have it in me! We tend to frequent the same restaurants, and we know what to expect. If something is wrong with the food (doesn't happen very often), we'll politely let them know. If the server had a bad attitude, I'll hang onto my copy of the receipt and call the manager back after I've had time to breathe and think about what I want to say (only a couple times in my life).


I will usually tell them that I'm a regular customer, and that normally I receive excellent service, BUT when we came in earlier this is what happened.

Maybe you had a truly unpleasant experience to write everything down. But if you're having to do this frequently, maybe you should start dining at more reputable establishments, or perhaps your expectations are unreasonable.

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

I am a former server and know that side of the deal quite well. I also have a friend who has been in the restaurant business forever and reports a growing number of people criticizing dishonestly to get a free meal. If you honestly have a really unusually lousy experience, then I agree. But those are rare. We are all part of the human race and should treat others as we would want to be treated. My character and how I treat others is way more important than getting a free meal I was planning to pay for anyway.

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

Frankly, I think most of the things you mentioned were pretty petty. Waiting five minutes for a table? No big deal. Maybe I'm just not as critical. Five minutes for a coffee cup? Getting sugar from a nearby table? Not significant enough to warrant a complaint, in my mind.


I also think it's just as important to leave compliments as it is to leave criticisms. It's a real morale booster to find out from your boss/manager that someone had nice things to say about you.

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

You should have first thought through the whys before complaining.5 minutes for coffee? It could have been brewing OR at another table being topped off. Most places have very few coffee pots to go around.

Room temp Ice tea? It stays in metal containers that keep it warm after being brewed, not like carbonated drinks that are always cold. Few pieces of ice? Ever think that hey, it might have just been brewed and they melted (they go fast in fresh tea)?

Waited 5 minutes to sit in your section? Guess what when you go out of order sitting servers because the guest just has to be difficult, it screws everything up, unless you go with the flow you should have to wait to get your section, it's not fair to the servers you are skipping over. It goes in order so that the servers don't get overloaded but apparently that just gets you a free meal so WTH, right?


The food and the gravy issue was not your servers fault, they have no control over what the kitchen does regardless of what you believe.

Also most systems don't let you ring in things even as simple as gravy for free, the server has no control over how greedy the corp is and MUST or risk losing their job ring in everything.

So they forgot they didn't serve cottage cheese anymore. Ever think they had a stressful, long day and maybe their mind was doing 100 other jobs at the same time as dealing with difficult customers as yourself?

No sugar? Maybe it's because of people such as yourselves that just have to have a section regardless of it being clean or stocked. More often than not, an unstocked section is a sign the server is at the end of their shift and needs to do a stock. You sitting down probably delayed them who knows how long on doing their job and going home.

I am an ex server and it was people like you that made the job especially hard and make me glad I am no longer doing it. Try giving people a break, thinking things through, not being a greedy person all the time. As 'great' as it was for you to get free food though I doubt this is the first time for you, ever think about how many servers you put out of a job because of your 'needs'?

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January 25, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with the others, your complaints seemed rather trite to me. If I had real complaints with the meal, or service, I would bring it to the attention of the person responsible. Waiting on people is a very hard job which pays little and your tips are hopefully "making" up for this low pay. Just because you are fortunate enough to be able to afford a nice meal out does not mean you own the wait staff. I hope for your sake and those around you that you don't display this attitude of me, me, me. And if I've read you wrong than I apologize.

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