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Mar 27, 2007 12:49 PM

Sending perfectly-cooked entree back just cause you don't like it

I'd never dream of it. But's etiquette expert says it's the thing to do.

You order an entree, it comes perfectly prepared and just as advertised. But you decide you just aren't in the mood for it. (Or maybe, though correctly described on the menu, it is not quite what you expected.) So you send it back and don't pay for it. As I said, I wouldn't dream of it. (Even if they bring the wrong order, I don't say a word so as not to get the waiter in trouble.) But I'm curious. Would anyone here consider doing it?

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  1. At the place I work, we do get those sort of requests, and although we typically accomodate (to an extent), I do not agree with the sentiment (I personally do not practice this myself either). Unlike a DVD movie or an article of clothing (which usually can't be refunded if opened), the food is going to be thrown away, which hurts the business and causes additional problems for everyone, even though it wasn't their fault..

    1. Nope. Luckily I have people around me (boyfriend, mother) who hate to waste food and will eat it for me as well as share some of what they have.

      1. I would never send back a perfectly prepared dish just because I did not like it. I believe that is wrong. I've had plenty of meals that were not exactly what I expected -- it's part of the adventure of eating.

        1. When I first looked at the post and started to read the article my reaction was OMG. But if you read the text carefully it is very professional, above board and its really not sending it back and getting another dish.

          The situation outlined was that you goofed and ordered something you did not like. It has happened to all of us. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances you push through the meal and eat it all in spite of the taste, other times you leave it in front of you or nibble. If you choose the latter, you always have the option of calling the waiter over, explaining you did not like it, offer to pay for it and order number 2. It is up to the resto to decide if #1 was charged or not. If they feel it's a long term relationship or they want to "take one for the gipper" they'll probably bring number 2 without charge. But if the bill has both, the custo needs to determine whether that's a deal breaker for future business.

          Most times number 2 will probably be as bad as number 1 and that's a no brainer for not returning. But in the event that number 2 is good, it gives ample opportunity to discuss on the way out with the host, become friends and thank them for their consideration.

          It could be the end of your going to the resto or the beginning of a great relationship. Both parties need to agree on the latter

          1. If they bring the wrong order, you should absolutely ask the server to get you the right meal. If they bring what you ordered and you don't like it, a good server will notice and ask if there is something wrong. Be honest. Often they will volunteer a replacement. But I would never demand a new meal if it was the correct order and I just chose badly.