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what's your send back policy?

Generally, if I don't like a dish (not because of taste but because of poor preparation or ingredients) I just don't eat it (of course it frustrates me.) and then just don't go back. Do you send back dishes?

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  1. i send back hamburgers that should be medium rare when they come out too well done. also, anything that should be served piping hot that comes out lukewarm --- i know that things cool down pretty quickly, but when i order hot soup, i at least want it to start out hot when i get it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mshpook

      Oh, you lucky... We can't get medium rare here. We can't get anything but well-done, thanks to the whole e.coli Jack in the Box scare from years ago. In NC, it's illegal to serve ground beef done any way other than "lump of coal". Have to cook them at home now.

    2. I only send back stuff that is not cooked as I asked, made with something that has gone off, or corked wines.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steamer

        ok, in all honesty I send back corked wine too.

      2. Of course, for improper preparation/quality. There are victims and there are volunteers. Don't volunteer.

        1. I send back things that are prepared incorrectly. In the summer I sent back my burger because the bun was remarkably stale.
          If I just plain don't like it, I'll choke it down or not eat it. I generally won't return.


          1. I generally do not return an item unless it is the wrong dish or there is mayo after I specified no mayo please.

            1. I sent back a bowl of French Onion Soup recently. The menu said it was prepared with a rich stock and a touch of maple syrup (this was in Ontario cottage country). Well, the soup came with a disgusting looking cheesy mass on top (not freshly prepared) and was filled with a lukewarm liquid that tasted like 3 parts extremely sweet artificial maple flavour to 1 part water. No flavour of stock at all, and the liquid was inedible. The waiter (a definite rookie) had a look of absolute panic on his face when I told him it was awful and was sending it back to the kitchen. He thought I had a huge amount of audacity to even do so.

              This was only a portion of a meal from hell that we experienced at Resort Tapatoo near Parry Sound, Ontario. For more details, please see my thread on the Toronto/Ontario board.

              1. There was o thread on this topic a couple of months ago on the "Not About Food" board.


                1. I'll send back cold or improperly cooked food unless I'm too hungry to wait or if it makes the situation awkward with my dining companions. If as a matter of taste I don't like it, I don't send it back.

                  But I am honest when the waiter asks how everything was. ("The lamb was too salty for me" or "I didn't care for the soup.") I figure maybe the chef wants to know if people don't like his food? Sometimes the waiter will offer something else in apology, but I rarely take it, because I was offering the criticism out of constructive honesty and not because I wanted something free.

                  1. Jfood has a pretty simple rule:

                    - if the chef made it badly it goes back
                    - if i orderd badly, i suck it up

                    Carve out if we are with friends and it would disrupt the evening and then I'd suck it up in either event (other than a raw piece of meat

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: jfood

                      Pretty much my attitude. If I order something i don't like, my bad. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've sent something back but when I did it needed to be. The classic was at a very upscale place in Dallas that sent me out a piece of fish that smelled of ammonia, almost a sure sign the fish has spoiled and it was, just awful. The waiter gave me a strange look but took it back and then ask the most unbelievable question, "could I get you some steamed vegatables????" HUH????? I said no, sat there with nothing and waited for my wife to finish. While I normally still tip since what the kitchen sends out is not the waiters fault, I blamed him also for his stupid question plus you could smell how bad the fish was from 3 ft. away. There was no tip left and I certainly mentioned the event to the hostess. Even my wife commented on it when the plate was set on the table. And, needless to say, NEVER returned to that place.

                      1. re: jfood

                        A very succinct summary of exactly my rule.

                        If I'm not sure whether it's me or the food, I usually assume it's me. (What is skate *supposed* to smell like?)


                        1. re: abowes

                          Now should skate supposed to have those long bones or not. I have ordered three times, twice it was wonderful with no big bones and once during a biz dinner I had with these long bones and i asked the waiter about it. he said that's the way it was supposed to be. I pushed the dish around and never ordered skate again.

                          1. re: jfood

                            jfood, in response to your skate question: there are two ways to go, either on the bone or off the bone. On the bone offers increasead taste, as does any foodstuff prepared in a manner designed to allow the bones to transmit their flavor to the flesh. T-Bones and Porterhouses are no different and nor are shrimp cooked in their shells. On-the-bone cooking also ensures a pleasant
                            eye-pleasing fan shape in the finished dish, since the bones beneath (or more correctly in between ) the layers of flesh will not allow it to shrink. Off-the-bone cooking often yields a shriveled, misshapen and flavorless mass with an inferior, mushy texture. No doubt about it, though ,it is "easier to eat".

                            1. re: diropstim

                              Thanks D.

                              I am glad I was not getting my chain yanked because I really liked the resto and was a little inquisitive on whether they were pulling a quicky on me.

                      2. I have only returned a couple of items ever, and it is only when the food is spoiled (this seems to happen mostly with juices) or really really badly prepared.

                        Once I got a filet that was so beyond the med rare I requested - it was literally hockey puck fodder and completely well done. I tried one bite just to confirm it was inedible, then asked the waiter for another. He demanded that I cut it down the middle to see if it was *really* overcooked...you could tell by looking at the leathery exterior and the very gray interior where I had tasted it that it was toast, but he demanded I prove it. It was not a good meal. But it usually takes that much for me to return food.

                        1. The joke goes, the patron and his friend ordered steaks. The Patron said, "I want a rare steak, red in the middle, charred on top, bottom and sides." When it arrived it was medium rare, pink, and not charred. "Take it back," said the patron. "Oh, how I admire you for what you just did," said his friend. "Oh, I do it all the time," said the patron, "and it only cost me ten years in psychoanalysis and about $25,000."

                          1. If at all possible, I try to avoid sending that plate back to the kitchen. If it needs more of something, I'll ask the server to bring it to me and I'll add it. If it's so poorly prepared or tastes so off that I won't eat it, I have them take it away (I don't want it back), and have them replace it with something that can be brought out immediately--soup, salad, non-cooked apps, etc. I may or may not order another small entree at that time. There's nothing more distruptive to a good dining experience and the mood at the table (which is also very important to me) than having to sit empty-handed, while others are having their meal--this strategy eliminates that long "down-time" and I usually enjoy the "small plates" almost as much.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Moka

                              P.S. In my experience, the restaurants are very good about taking the "sent back" dish off the bill, when I do it this way.

                              1. re: Moka

                                I send back lukewarm coffee or soup. It just can't be!

                            2. I will send back a meal if it tastes bad-too greasy-too rare when wanted well done-or if it smells bad or even looks bad, if it's cold--I rarely do this-I should have sent back these french fries the other day because they were cool and probably from the night before and reheated or refried or something--???but I didn't???

                              1. I guess I'm somewhat picky, then, as I'll send things back that are really wrong. Latest example: I ordered a combination plate at a nice BBQ joint that consisted of a half slab of ribs, some pulled pork, and two sides of cole slaw and "Mom's green beans," which were prepared in olive oil with onions and whatnot.

                                Everything up to that point was wonderful, and everything on the plate was wonderful, except for the fact that the half slab of ribs was completely dried out on one side. The (*fantastic*) server wanted to take the whole thing back, but I insisted that everything else was great, and could they just replace the half slab itself? They were in total agreement and offered to replace it with something else on the menu, and so I ordered a single piece of fried catfish with remoulade (the normal catfish entree comes with two pieces), and everything was, once again, terrific. In fact, it was so good, I ended up going back the very next night and having a pulled pork sandwich!

                                The server was amply rewarded for her efforts, and I'll be going back yet again. When hot things aren't hot, though, back they go! Some musts, for sending back: soup that isn't hot (when it's supposed to be), french fries that aren't hot/fresh, steak that is literally gray, and anything where I've specifically told them "no cheese," but cheese is on there! I did once return some $32 Dover sole that had absolutely *no* flavor at all, and was *extremely* pleased with the arctic char that I received instead. I've been back many times to that place, as you can imagine.

                                Other than that, I'm pretty flexible. If I don't like something, and they *ask* whether I'm pleased, if they *offer* to bring me something else, I'll take them up on it. Usually, though, it's a matter of something that's supposed to be hot, that isn't, and it happens everywhere, including some of the finest dining places I've been to. I usually take my own lumps if I'm trying something new that I'm not sure of...if I don't like it, and it seems "correct," whose fault is that? The restaurant's? Hardly. That's on me, and I'll take the hit.

                                1. i usually suck it up & unless someone blatantly screwed up the preparation, or the soup is cold, fish spoiled etc. but i guess i'm leery about sending food back at many places-- been in the biz too long & seen some unscrupulous cooks get miffed by having to make a dish twice add their own "special sauce" or "special spice rub" YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!

                                  1. Reminds me of Steve Martin's first movie The Jerk:
                                    He's newly rich and goes to a fancy place. Sends the soup back (gazpacho) because it's cold, then freaks out after ordering escargot and finding snails on his plate!

                                    1. I think I've sent food back twice in my life, and both times it's been for something so terribly underdone that I simply can't eat it. It's got to be an "F" before I send it back. My take on it is a.) If I just don't like the dish, that's my problem, not the chef's.
                                      b.) If the chef did a seriously bad job on a dish to begin with, his/her skills are probably not going to improve significantly in the fifteen minute time-lapse between the original meal and the alteration of said original meal.
                                      c.) If the food in MY meal is spoiled, then the odds are probably pretty good that there's other stuff back there in the kitchen that's spoiled too, not to mention the possibility of not-so-great sanitary practices as well.

                                      So if it's a bad meal, I don't eat it and I don't go back. If I ordered something I didn't like, I'll order something else next time.