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Jan 10, 2008 12:46 PM

How often do you send food back?

I wanted to edit the OP in my "Do you send food back often" thread since now I'm curious.

How often (percentage of dishes) do you send food back? This should normalize for the "anticipation factor" (if it's an expensive resto, it better be right).



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  1. Historically, I think I would place myself between 1 and 5%. It's been years, though. In fact I can't remember any one specific instance. I just remember doing it (always at chains for some reason) a few times.

    1. I have trouble with steaks at most chain places (Outback, Longhorns, Fridays..ect..). They never seem to understand what rare means. Probably because of all the people who THINK they like a rare steak, and then when they actually see a rare steak, they change thier minds. I'd say I send steaks back maybe 10% of the time. Other food, hardly ever.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Ranger05

        and I like my burgers and steaks cremated to death so I have to be very specific when ordering these, and probably send them back about 20% of the time.

        Other than that, rarely do I send food back unless it is not hot enough.

        1. re: Ranger05

          I'm with Ranger on this. I've had some food that wasn't particularly good, but I find it hard to send something back just because the dish itself is simply not good (I just don't return to the place). But steaks that are not properly cooked to order (they are nearly always overcooked) are sent back. Of course, this is also the reason I don't go out for steak very often. I'd rather cook it at home and at least have it at the correct level of doneness. It really boggles my mind that places, ESPECIALLY a place that pretends to be a steak house can't cook a steak to the proper temperature, even if I make a point of explaining that, yes, I really want it medium rare and no more and asking if they know how do to that...

          1. re: Ranger05

            Did you ever try ordering black and blue? At a Ruth's Chris, or Mortons, 99% of the time are on target, but at these places you list, maybe you need to take it down a notch.

            1. re: michele cindy

              For the price one pays at Ruth's Chris steakhouse they damned well better be perfectly cooked!!

          2. I don't know I could assign a percentage to it, but I'd say my frequency is not often, but it happens. I have a food allergy (effects are not life threatening, but certainly unpleasant), and when the server fails to communicate effectively with the kitchen, back it goes. I let the server know I'm not offended or annoyed or anything, but it's gotta go back, and be made fresh, not just have the offending item removed from the plate. I don't let it effect tip (except in the most egregious cases), but I never feel bad about sending something back if eating it will make me sick.

            1. Significantly less than eating meals that are not well done or not very good. Jfood slogs through waaaay more meals that go on the DNR list than sending back.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jfood

                I believe I fall into the same category as jfood on this one. I have rarely if never sent back a dish when dining out. Typically if the food is that poorly prepared I put the place on my "DNR" list as well. One strike and your out in my world.

              2. I can't recall ever sending food back but I won't finish something terrible and will politely point out the issue if they ask if everything was ok. And I certainly won't return. I've become more selective of my restaurants (in part thanks to Chowhounds!) so it's less of an issue these days.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ms. clicquot

                  This perfectly captures my experience and attitude (all the way down to being much more selective b/c of Chowhound!).

                  I did send food back once. One word: cockroach.