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Dec 1, 2007 05:35 AM

Sent back entree, meager comp

I have never done this before. But last night I did have occasion to refuse a red snapper dish as the fish was past it's prime. I asked for it to be removed from the bill. They said they ould only discount 15% because some of it had been consumed. I had one bite, brother had two bites and it was deemed icky at that point. OK, now how are you supposed to evaluate a dish unless you taste it? When discussing the "discount", waitress says that they are eating the same fish (was it ours?) in the back and it was fine. Was I unreasonable in wanting the whole dish comped?

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  1. wow. there are so many layers of wrongness here. they served you bad fish, then charged you for the bites you ate which was how you determined the fish was bad, THEN came back and admitted that the staff was eating off the plate you were just eating off of (eww!) saying they thought it was fine just to prove you wrong? this is a example of how NOT to run a restaurant.

    in all my time as a bartender and server i have never heard of a dish being discounted. it's either whisked away and remade or taken off the bill entirely. sometimes we would do both depending on the situation (this would be one of those situations). please tell me you didn't actually pay for a dish you didn't eat! and i hope you spoke to a manager!

    as a side note, i have a BIG problem with servers "sea gulling", i.e. eating off a guests unfinished plate. it's gross, unprofessional, and worthy of getting fired.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rebs

      I don't know if it was our fish, or just from the same "batch". Management chose not to come out to speak to us. Just made the waitress the messenger. And yes, we paid.

      1. re: SweetPea

        When I saw the title of your post I thought "Here's another one of the posters on this board wanting something for nothing!" It seems there are many who post here who are always looking for something for nothing or more than what they paid for and it gets old reading these moochers' posts. However, when I read your post I couldn't believe it. I have also never heard of "discounting" bad fish. And management wouldn't speak with you? You're not going back to this place are you? I would write management there and tell them why I was not coming back. (And it wouldn't be for the purpose of getting something for free!)

        1. re: SweetPea

          This is just awful! I can't believe a restaurant would discount bad food instead of removing it from the bill. The moment you complained the food should have disappeared (and NOT fed to waitstaff in the back room!!) and been replaced with something that wasn't too old to serve.

          I'm still shaking my head. Discounting a disputed item instead of removing it instantly. Yikes!

        2. re: rebs

          Yes, that--re the servers eating off the plate, rebs, but when I read what the restaurant representative told SweetPea--i.e., they could only discount it fifteen percent because part of it had been consumed--I thought they must be confusing it with some sort of bulk purchase.

          As though SweetPea had bought a palette of bricks to finish a patio edging, discovered she didn't need them all, and received a partial credit from the supplier, since he can resell the bricks.

          I hope no unwitting patron ordered a bowl of red snapper chowder at that place the next day. ;-D


        3. The original comment has been removed
          1. "Comp" isn't the right word--that's something edible given to you free, whether you choose to consume it or not. What you describe wasn't edible.

            "I'm so sorry. Would you like us to remake this for you, or did you want to try something else?" Any other response to a complaint like yours means you don't return (and out the restaurant by name on the appropriate geographical board here on CH).

            5 Replies
            1. re: tubman

              Posted on South Board. Thialand Restaurant Columbia, SC

              1. re: SweetPea

                If it was a Thai restaurant, maybe there as a lot of fish sauce or shrimp paste in the dish that made it taste funky, not necessarily the fish being old. Have you enjoyed the food there before?

                Regardless, their response was inappropriate.

                1. re: babette feasts

                  Good point, but both of us felt the same about the fish. We have enjoyed food there before, but that has come to an abrupt end.

              2. re: tubman

                I had a smoked meat and fries platter at Pickle Barrel (Yorkdake Shopping Plaza, Toronto). The meat was cold. The cook must have dropped the (open) salt box on the fries. The waitress offered to have the meat warmed up and a fresh batch of fries. I had already been waiting for 20 minutes, so I said 'No, Thank you'' -- No discount, though -- They won't see me again.

                1. re: lamaranthe

                  To me, going to Yorkdale Shopping Mall means that I'll be shopping. After a while I get tired and hungry but I don't feel like wasting my time fighting with the staff or the (hiding) manager. I felt that 20 minutes was already a long wait. IMO the waitress places the order, picks it up when ready, brings it to the table. The waitress who tended my table did the best she could do, offering to warm up my plate and ordering another plate of fries. It's just that I did not want to waste another 20 minutes waiting. I tipped her 15%. Why should I penalize her? There are other eateries in this Mall. And for good smoked meat and fries, I refrain until I can go to Centre Streeet Deli! It is not that far away and it's really worth the ride.

              3. You sent something back saying you thought it was bad, the only proper response is to take it off the bill and offer to serve you something else. The something else may or may not get comped, the important thing is that the thing you percieved as badly made is taken off the bill. Doing anything else is just plain foolish.

                1. A major botch by the restaurant's decision-makers. It's unclear if the server was put between a rock and a hard place, but she would have at best garnered a 15% to the penny before tax. I would (if I had the time) have made things more uncomfortable for the manager to hide - there are fun ways of flushing them out from hiding, such as staying at the table and just waiting, making a call to the restaurant's manager while you're still at the table, et cet. If you ahve the time, never get rolled; for the sake of those who follow you, roll right back. Consider it the evening's dessert entertainment: dining as virtual contact sport.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Karl S

                    I'd definately reduce the tip to about 3%. The waitress' job was to be your advocate in the kitchen, and she failed miserably in this role on multiple counts. The insults heaped upon you were a team effort. The entire operation failed you (and probably several of those people share the tip so they all deserve to be stiffed). Sadly, people nonetheless tipping 15% in such situations and rewarding horrible treatment is why we have so much bad service and server sense of entitlement out there.
                    Please out this restaurant. They don't deserve your protection. For good measure, call the health department on them.

                    1. re: Leonardo

                      There's a difference between an uncooperative waitress and an uncooperative manager. If the waitress is doing everything she can to make sure you're happy, she deserves at least 15 percent and probably a good bit extra. If she doesn't care, then she deserves a lower tip, but not THAT low. According to Emily Post, the lowest you should leave for a tip is eight percent for bad service, and if you're tipping low like that you would do well to get the attention of a manager to explain the situation.

                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                        I understand that sometimes waitstaff are placed in a compromised position. Our waitress was very rude regarding the discussion about the fish and the bill. Mgmt would not surface. A tip was not tendered as we felt it was not deserved. I guess I should have mentioned that in the beginning.

                        1. re: SweetPea

                          It sounded like that from your original post when the waitress said that it was fine. That's very bad form. I'd be curious as to where this happened, but with management like that the place can't possibly last very long, and I'm not in your neck of the woods anyway.

                          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                            >...lowest you should leave for a tip is eight percent for bad service
                            there are bad service situations where you are irritated or have wasted
                            time, but in this scenario, you are actually out money. an example might have
                            been where you had to escalate and cause a minor but evening ruining scene
                            to get the item removed.

                            under the circumstances, i think the customer may not unreasonably try
                            to achive some equity by taking it out of the tip. i suppose it might be
                            slightly fairer to leave a 5% tip and take it off the bill yourself, but that's
                            a more aggressive move. i have plenty of sympathy for waitstaff whose
                            compsenation is partly in the hands of other people [poor preparation,
                            take too long] or subject to some element of chance ... accidentally
                            bumping a patron on the head or spilling some water on him ... but
                            if you are deliberate rude with no provocation, i just dont think you are
                            owed anything. if a cardealer spend a bunch of time with you and then
                            tries to pull something sleazy, should you leave him $20 for the 30min
                            where he was "reasonable"?

                            so the elements i would consider is "what is the nature of the loss
                            you have suffered" and "what is the cause of the loss [true accident,
                            back of house fault, front of house fault], and what mitigation was
                            attempted. if each f these variables end up wrongly aligned, i dont
                            think you owe anythng.

                    2. re: Karl S

                      Karl S, while I like your strategy for flushing out the manager, I encountered a manager who backed the server.

                      Sweet Pea, I also like the idea given of stopping payment on the bill.

                      In addition, how about a letter to the Chamber of Commerce, copying the restaurant?

                      1. re: dolores

                        We paid cash but have a receipt. Yes, I am considering BBB, Consumer Affairs, Resto report via DHEC, etc. Mgmt obviously does not care.

                          1. re: lamaranthe

                            I'm with SweetPea on contacting EVERYONE who could come down on the restaurant in even a minor way. Things like this send me into a letter writing frenzy where NO ONE is spared anything. Trust me, you can bring anything from a restaurant to a nursing home, or a major utility to it' begging knees, and you don't even have to be rude nor vendictive in your efforts, and always hold a trump card.....THE TOP regulatory agency/entity that no one wants that bomb to reach. Don't do it on the phone. Do it in writing, and "cc" everyone that has been included in your angry "rants", just justified "assertiveness".

                          2. re: SweetPea

                            slow down, please. yes, this was craptastic customer service, but nothing was criminal or deceptive. this is not the purview of the bbb or consumer affairs. i'm not sure what dhec is and acronym for, but if it's your local health dept., unless you can prove you fell ill from food you were served, you have nothing to report. you didn't witness the servers seagulling, did you?

                            write to the owner, and bad-mouth the place to your friends. don't return. let it go.

                            1. re: SweetPea

                              OMG! BBB?!?! Don't go back. End of story. Don't waste any more time on this!