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Nov 19, 2009 04:59 AM

When to compain....

I'm English, i.e. I am awful at complaining.

A couple of months ago I went to a decent resturant and had a casserole (£15ish), the meat was tough and dry, clearly it had been on a rolling boil.

The food was edible just poor, do people complain in this situation? Should I have been expected to pay for it........?

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  1. If you eat it you pay for it. The time to complain is after the first bite. Politely explain the reason for your dissatisfaction. This needs to be poor preparation, inferior ingredients, staleness, improper temp, ect. as it was in your case, not that you simply did not like the dish. At the very least, they should offer to remove the charge for the offending dish & bring another of your choice (which they may or may not charge you for) If you are charged for the replacement I expect a complimentary appetizer, round of drinks or dessert to make up for having to wait for the replacement entree.

    Do you tip in the UK? Don't think so, but in the US, as long as your wait person is attentive & resolves the problem, don't stiff them on the tip. This is the chef's & the establishment's fault not the wait staff.

    1. Personally I don't think of it as complaining. By mentioning to the waitstaff my concerns I am simply giving the restaurant the opportunity to correct a mistake made during our business transaction, stuff happens. My husband on the other hand considers saying anything confrontational and will ruminate over it and become bitter and not want to return. To me if I did not give them the opportunity to correct the mistake I would have failed my end of the business transaction and therefore have no right to complain or view them in a negative light. I do expect to pay for the correct item not two items, however if it is comped so much the better and of course I always tip accordingly.

      2 Replies
      1. re: just_M

        As a chef of 15 years I say you must "complain". If we in the kitchen don't know that something is poor because it has not been tasted, that is our fault. We may end up serving that dish the same way all night. This is an example of kitchen staff not tasting food or not caring about what is being served. You are being provided a service when you dine out and should expect to be pleased by your meal and service;be it a diner for breakfast or The French Laundry.

        1. re: Crater137

          I use the word mention instead of *complain* because my husband sees any form of complaint no matter how discreet as confrontational. He works in IT and does not deal with people face to face often. However when I talked to him about it and said well don't you think its important to mention it to the wait staff so the restaurant (kitchen) has a chance to correct the situation, he agreed. I believe some people find saying anything negative to someone face to face to feel stressful and will just deal rather than face what they feel might be considered a confrontation. To me there is no confrontation. It is a simple business transaction (no emotion necessary). Most restaurants (I feel) want to give you a pleasurable experience. If something goes wrong usually a *mention* to the waitperson is all that is required. Again I'm using *mention* for the complaint averse. But I still feel that for myself, if I have not mentioned/complained to the waitperson if something is wrong, I have failed my end of the transaction and have no right to feel wronged by that establishment no matter its pedigree. Basically the chef deserves a chance to fix it and also to be made aware something isn't quite right and it certainly isn't about being comped. For me its about establishing a good business relationship and hopefully getting some great food in the process.

      2. You guys think that you don't complain? Try being traditional Japanese.