Social Question

pezz's avatar

What would make you complain in a restaurant?

Asked by pezz (1291points) August 11th, 2011

At what point would you complain in a restaurant. Would it take something simple like a hair in your soup. What if you’d planned a romantic dinner for two and just as your meal is served, a family with very young children sat at the table next to you and the kids started running up and down screaming, but the parents did nothing to calm them down… would you ask to be moved?

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31 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m not a complainer. I may or may not let them know why I would or would not be coming back though.

Blackberry's avatar

The waiter or waitress spitting on my food in front of me, and then calling me ugly.

I don’t complain at restaurants.

Seelix's avatar

I’d complain if there was a problem with my food. A hair in it, something overcooked/undercooked, not served hot, not served the way I asked (mayo on a sandwich when I asked for no mayo, for example), whatever. I wouldn’t complain in a mean way, though. It’s not the server’s fault if the cook makes a mistake, right? And it’s just a mistake – there’s enough going on in a kitchen that people mess up now and then. And I’m paying for the food – I think I deserve to get what I ask for (within certain limits, I guess).

tom_g's avatar

“What would make you complain in a restaurant?”

A desire for someone to spit or piss in my food.

SpatzieLover's avatar

We have asked to be moved away from children, loud talkers, cell phone users and if the temp was too cold.

We’ve sent food back politely so that it doesn’t hopefully get spit on.

Generally, we go to nice places and desire a good experience. We have been known to email managers regarding staff that was less than desirable. Sometimes we know the managers/owners

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If they serve it to me without a plate.
It takes alot for me to complain at a restaurant as I don’t like to eat spit. XD

ucme's avatar

If some tubby titwitch idles over strumming a fiddle while i’m trying to munch on my raviloi, well…...they’re going to be spitting out strings for the rest of the night. Lemme eat in peace please.

tranquilsea's avatar

Rude service, waiting for too long for my meal and cold food make me complain. Well, I don’t really complain I just ask for my meal asap and I send cold food back.

wundayatta's avatar

Bad food. Recently, a waiter brought me something I had ordered, but when I tasted it, it was really gross. When she came back and asked how I liked it, I told her, and she took it away and brought me something else. I didn’t ask her; she offered. That was a nice response to unpleasant food.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yeah, I’m with the bad food crew. Kids I don’t mind. But this past month I ordered a grilled cheese. It was horrible. The cheese was like rubber. The waitress came to get our plates, so I asked what kind of cheese was that. She said cheddar. I said it sucked. It just came out without me thinking.She was a little shocked to say the least. She went back to the kitchen and came out a few minutes later and agreed with me. Something was wrong with the cheese. So sometimes it’s ok to let them know if something wasn’t satisfactory.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If I wanted to eat on the playground, than that is where I would be. I would not sit there and allow my evening to be ruined because Sparky’s parents don’t know how to control their children or have nothing left to take from them to make them behave. I would tell them, move me, move the kid(s) and their family, or give me a refund. Is they were slow to that, every online Zagat-like review site I could find, they would get the royal treatment from me as to how shoddy their establishment was.

Cruiser's avatar

Bad service will generate and earful from me and I never ever not call over the manager to bring to their attention great service form their staff either especially from the chefs.

linguaphile's avatar

bright light! bright light!

(translation: I ask for the blinds to be lowered if the sun’s stabbing my eyes mercilessly)

Randy's avatar

Nothing would make me complain. What’s one complaint going to do? Besides, most things that would upset me should be obvious enough to management that they would want it fixed without having to listen to someone bitch about it. I’d just get up and leave before I complained.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I could go for a food fight right about now!

JLeslie's avatar

A bug in my food.

Food that looks bad, like brown lettuce. Sometimes I will just pick out the bad pieces, it depends how much of the salad is subpar.

If they bring my coke full of ice, it is being sent back.

If food is very undercooked or raw.

So far what I have named I don’t even think of as complaints, interesting.

If I just don’t like the dish I usually just live with it, it would be very rare for me to send something back just because I don’t like it much.

If something is floating in butter or oil I ask for an additional plate, move the food onto the new plate sans all that fat, and get rid of the old one.

I compliment great service all the time, make a point to tell the waitperson themselves and a manager. The service would have to be very very very bad for me to complain. Although, if I am left waiting for a long time and need something I might ask another server or get up to get what I need, but this is very rare. If I see they are working their heads off and in the weeds I have total empathy. If, they are just not to be found, of course the tip will be lower.

JLeslie's avatar

@linguaphile I do that too, ask for the blinds to be changed if I cannot sit in a position that avoids direct sunlight in my eyes.

_zen_'s avatar

Not a big complainer – but I don’t give a third chance.

The last time I complained to the owner was when I was chased down by a waitress (not mine) for not leaving a tip for her friend (which I had – just on the card). My kids were with me and thought I was stingy and going to jail for it (they were young).

I told the waitress she was mistaken, to go back and check, and to never do that again – in the next restaurant she worked at – as she would never work at this one again.

And to explain to my kids she was mistaken, apologize – and to never, ever run after patrons about tips – even if they really don’t leave one.

Another time was when the bathrooms were especially filthy. That’s a dealbreaker for me. I walk out.

If the food isn’t great – I tip as usual – never come back.

If the food is so so, I might try something else another time – or comment to the chef.

If it’s especially good – I might call or leave a note.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A case of food poisoning. As soon as it hit a co-worker, I called the restaurant to let them know. If the service or cleanliness is bad, it just means making a mental note to not return.

Bill_Lumbergh's avatar

If the restaurant smells of human feces! True story: the restaurant had a sewage backup, and the staff was hoping no one would notice the nauseating smell of rotten excrement emanating from the restrooms. Needless to say, minutes after we sat down I asked for the check to pay for our drinks so we could leave as quickly as possible and avoid vomiting all over our table!

MilkyWay's avatar

I don’t usually complain about the other customers, and wouldn’t complain about screaming kids but I definitley would complain about food. If the food smells dodgy, or is undercooked/charred then I would complain. If they put musturd in my burger when I asked them not to, I’d eat the burger then tell them their mistake, and tell them to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

downtide's avatar

I will ask politely for a replacement if the food isn’t up to the standard expected in the establishment. I wouldn’t complain to the staff about other people’s screaming kids but I might make a comment to the parents on my way out. If the place is filthy I just won’t order at all, I’ll leave and go somewhere else.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If I find a hair in my soup I pick it out and eat the soup. If annoying kids come in I will “complain” to the parents.

I can’t see my self complaining to a restaurant, perhaps if i had a reservation and they could not find it I would complain. If I’m complaining it means I want the service, I just want it to be good. Chances are if you get me to the point where others would complain, I am already past caring and just want to go.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have complained when my food was burned or didn’t look like I expected it to the food was all mushy and mixed together like a stew or soup. I have complained when the rest rooms needed service, and have occasionally asked to be moved for a variety of reasons.

I nearly always ask the server to clean the table with a fresh wash cloth.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m not sure that complain is the right word. I don’t like people that complain. There’s not much that could happen to me in a restaurant that would even get me to make a comment or a suggestion.

If I don’t like the food, that probably has to do more with my actual taste preferences than anything else. If the food was cold or burned or the wrong item or there was a bug or a hair in it, I would just politely ask the server if they could fix that situation.

I’m always mortified to be with any person who sends back their steak or that kind of thing. One man’s medium well, is another man’s medium and another man’s well done. I think it’s ludicrous that people think there is an actual true meaning to those types of words. It’s true that there are internal temperature settings that chefs use, but most people doing the actual eating have an idea in their mind about how done their meat should be, but it’s completely subjective. I kind of feel the same way about the cork sniffers. I just want to crawl in a hole and die when that happens. I have an aunt who routinely complains about the wine and then sends it back. It’s very embarrassing.

I also don’t like people that complain that they don’t like the taste of something. My best friend’s boyfriend does that all the time. Problem is, I usually love almost everything that I’ve ever tasted in any restaurant that I’ve ever been to and he’s hated almost everything he’s ever ordered in the exact same restaurants. I love food. He’s super picky. That is not the restaurant’s fault. Also this dude has certain ideas about what certain dishes should taste like and if they deviate from his idea, then he gets all irate. I, on the other hand welcome nifty variations on dishes that I’ve grown to love. Take macaroni and cheese for example. I’ve eaten mac and cheese in umpteen restaurants over the years. Some was great some was so so. But that is because of my own taste preferences not some fault of the restaurant.

I would very politely and discreetly ask the server to take back an item that turned out to have meat on it, when it was listed as being a vegetarian item. It happens, but it’s not worth making a big stink about. Actually the other day my folks and I were out to lunch with some relatives. I ordered a Portobello burger, which I oft have, because it is sometimes the only vegetarian item on the menu. Unfortunately for me, this was a real hamburger with a Portobello mushroom on top of it. My mom, who actually does eat meat ordered the same thing. She took one bite and then pinched me on the leg and whispered discreetly into my ear that it had meat on it. So we just grabbed the burger patty out of the bun and flipped it onto her plate. My relatives just kept on chatting and nobody even knew. I think if it had just been me and my mom, I probably would have asked for something else, but I really didn’t want to cause a scene. Note to any potential restaurateurs, please be very specific about ingredients on your menus!

The only thing that is likely to get me to complain or voice concern, is when the wait staff or host or server is rude. And in that case, I would likely write or phone the manager of the restaurant and let them know exactly what happened and who the culprit was (I would get the name of the rude person before I left the restaurant).

If a restaurant is too loud because of the physical acoustics of the place, I might talk to the manager and suggest that they put up some sound baffling equipment, or maybe consider turning the music down just a tad (not a complaint, but a suggestion). It it’s just too unpleasant for my ears, I just might not go back again. Some people love that kind of raucous environment, so again, it’s my own preference, not some horrible thing done by the restaurant to offend me. If I’m seated directly under the air conditioning, I’ll just ask if I can be switched to another table. No complaint, just a request.

Most stuff that goes wrong in a restaurant is not something that happened on purpose. If a restaurant is super busy and understaffed, you might get your food a little bit late, or not get all of your items in the order that you wanted them, or something might get forgotten. Sometimes the wait person is new and might get the orders a little mixed up. That is absolutely nothing to scream at her for, or to publicly humiliate her, it happens. A few polite reminders and a nice smile are better ways to get what you want than becoming the restaurant equivalent of the Ugly American. I also send notes to the managment when I get great service, and I name names.

blueberry_kid's avatar

Bad service, horrible food, stupid waitors, dirty bathrooms, un-washed fruit, dirty tables, hair in my food, rude people sitting around you, no napkins, no ketchup at the table if needed, getting our food too late, and crappy music being played around us.

But I’m not really the person to complain in public. I wait until we get the car, of course.

creative1's avatar

I don’t complain, I just don’t go back there and tell everyone I know the experience I had. Word of mouth is a big thing for a business, it can make or break them. So the way I look at the food and service should be good or I just don’t go back and hope no one else pays for bad food or bad service like I did.

Berserker's avatar

It takes a lot for me to bitch in a restaurant. I may get frustrated or annoyed by something, but I usually bite the bullet. If the food is an issue, I will complain. I went to Burger King once, and my Whopper had lettuce that must have been older than Dracula. They offered to replace it, but I had already eaten half of it before noticing lol, and wasn’t really hungry anymore lol. I declined and left. I guess it wasn’t all that bad since I didn’t taste anything weird, it just looked like leprosy when I finally did notice it.
I actually got food poisoning from the same restaurant once though. :/ Shoulda complained then, but it happened hours later lol.

As for noisy kids or annoying customers, (I REALLY get annoyed by people who talk as if they think everyone in the place wants to hear what they have to say) I might ask to be moved, but I won’t complain about the person, or people.

Other than the BK incidents though, I’ve never really had anything to complain about much, when it comes to restaurant experiences.

woodcutter's avatar

I’m pretty easy to serve even if they get orders screwed up I’ll just take the dish, what the hell it can’t be that bad. I sure as hell don’t want to wait again for the right thing to come out.
I guess the only thing that would bug the shit out of me is if I saw the waiter scratching his balls or something. Then I would probably stand up and start throwing shit at him and have myself ejected from the establishment.

martianspringtime's avatar

I might ask for a situation to be remedied, but I wouldn’t complain unless I asked and nothing was done to attempt to fix it.

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