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Sep 21, 2010 06:53 AM

At what level restaurant does/should the server have responsibility to "review" correctness of the plate before serving.

This question has come to mind on several occasions where I've been served a plate that is missing a component or has included a component that I've requested to be withheld. Is it the servers' responsibility to know the menu well enough to detect these inconsistencies prior to serving? I think so.

It came to mind today as I was reading another thread about a man and his wife who were served 2 different portions of foie gras. The server (reportedly) said she had noticed the difference, but served it anyway. Why?? To servers: Are you allowed to question the chef/expeditor of discrepancies?

Then there is the issue of having one "team" in charge of taking orders and another responsible for serving. That mid-range chain trend can further exasperate the topic subject.

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  1. From fast food restaurants on up they should make sure the order is correct.
    Don't see your point.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monku

      This doesn't work in fast food, where the server is taking a packaged item and putting it on your tray or in a bag, they don't have to open the wrapper that says 'pickle only' and lift the bun to make sure there's no kethup on the burger.

      I think it applies to all food that is served unwrapped and visible to the server.

      1. re: bagelman01

        I'm sure at a mid level restaurant the server or expediter isn't lifting the bun to see if it's 86 pickles either.

        1. re: monku

          I would think at a mid level or higher restaurant, the pickle would be a garnish on the plate, not under the bun.

          In the post above it was ONLY pickle, not minus pickle <VBG>
          I always order no tomato, and if the server sees the open bun half garnished with both lettuce and tomato, the server should reject it in the kitchen. I was a waiter a million years ago, and plates were checked against my order pad before leaving the kitchen. Delivering an OBVIOUSLY incorrect item, is grounds for a reduced tip.

    2. I think that if the place is serving plated food, it behooves the server to do a quick visual inspection. I recall one place with high-endish pretensions I ate at a few years ago - when the server brought my food, the whole contents of the plate were sloshing around in clear watery liquid, as if they'd dolloped out some veggies from a boiling pot without using a slotted spoon. It certainly didn't look appealing - nor did it do anything for the taste/texture of the meat on the plate.

      I sent it back - and the restaurant went out of business shortly thereafter. If you don't pay attention to things like that you won't survive.

      1. It is once again one of those depends answers. In a mid- to high-end, no doubt that when you order a salmon and a halibut is on the plate please do not deliver and when called on it do not tell the customer that is is a special colored salmon...think you're getting a tip? Yes it recently happened

        And the bacon on bacon-cheeseburgers has been a challenge for a few servers. Yes that is the server's obligation. Likewise jfood always specifies no raw onion. A big old slice comes along, server did wrong.

        But jfood does NOT want the servers to start using their hands to touch the food to see if the items are "under the hood."

        3 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          j, I recently ordered a bunch of wild salmon fillets from my usual supplier out in Seattle. What arrived were stark white pieces of fish. When I called to complain about the mix-up, the fishmonger informed me that what I'd received was white king salmon. Skeptical, I cooked and ate a piece. Best salmon ever. Who knew?

          1. re: pikawicca

            would loved for that to have been the case but twas halibut, and overcooked

          2. re: jfood

            bwaahaahaa....that happened to me in the early 90s in Florida -- white fish on the plate that was supposed to be salmon. The chef got snotty and came stomping out to set me straight... and brought out a piece of WILD salmon that was almost blood-red, and proceeded to tell me straight faced that the color disappears during cooking.

            I calmly told him that no...salmon does get more pale, but it doesn't ever turn WHITE...but that I would eat it anyway, because it was in fact a very tasty dish.

            I told a few colleagues about it...who all looked at me askance the FOLLOWING week when the place burned to the ground.

          3. This is a kitchen issue.

            Servers serve food.

            Chefs prepare the food.

            Unless the chef is illiterate, or the server has poor penmanchip, the chef (or the kitchen staff) is responsible for making the food that is plated matche what is ordered, or scribbled down on the tab.

            But, that said, *should* a server review the plate? Yes, of course.

            *Must* a server do so? Nope.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              But what about the server who plates salad and ignores Jfoods instruction that they serve no raw onion?

              That server must check the salad against the order before serving.

              1. re: ipsedixit


                Thanks way too easy.

                Maybe at Rubies where you order at the cashier and someone in a funny outfit brings you the food because the numbers match. But if the server has skin in the game of 15-20% of the tab, then s/he has more of an obligation than a 2-footed conveyor belt.

                1. re: jfood

                  Exactly. There's a place near us that we go to quite a bit, primarily because it's very close and pretty good (we pass it going home from our swim club and are usually starving from a day at the pool). It's a small place and there are only about 5 servers. My husband always orders the same thing and always asks for one simple, easily recognizable omission. The servers never write down the orders and I'd have to say that more than 50% of the time, the item he's asked to not have on his plate shows up. It can be seen from 5 feet. We smile and patiently wait for them to redo his order and always leave a generous tip but it's incredibly annoying and makes me think the folks who work there aren't too bright and that we aren't either to keep going back.

                  1. re: southernitalian

                    When my wife and I travelled a lot, we constantly got our scrambled breakfast eggs hard and dry. Finally, at some obscure Denny's or similar, I told the waitress (facetiously) to tell the cook if the eggs were not cooked soft, I was going back into the kitchen and whip his sorry a--. Not surprisingly, they were perfect. Fear does work.