HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Would you have eaten it?

The other day I ordered a Monte-Crisco sandwich. I opted to get mine with onion rings. When the meal arrived there were no onion rings. Figuring that I really didn't need that calories, and the place was busy. I opted to not worry about it and let the rings go. A woman tables over also ordered a Monte-Crisco. When hers arrived it had onion rings. She proclaimed the over sight to her table and waited five minutes or so for the waitress. The waitress got the sandwich and approached me. 'you wanted onion rings didn't you?' Before I could answer she had left. thirty seconds later the onion rings, now on a new plate reappeared on my table.

Clearly they had been transfered from the other woman's plate. I never saw her eat one or even touch them but the idea of eating (now cold) food that had once been sitting on a strangers plate really did not appeal to me.

Has this ever happened to anyone and if so what did you do?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's never happened to me (that I know of), but no way would I eat those onion rings. I don't see much difference between this and recycling uneaten bread. Note that I don't even like it when a server *almost* gives my food to someone else, so I may be more territorial than the norm about my food.

    1. The waitress obviously mixed up your plates, you said nothing but the lady did. I'm sure she would have gotten you new onion rings if you asked, once she became aware of her mistake. She probably knew you didn't care that much.

      1. Since you weren't going to eat it anyway, let it go, no big deal. If I was in your situation and I wanted the onion rings, I would have asked for it as soon as I got my plate.

        1. I would have rinsed them off, then eaten them.

          1 Reply
          1. If I was still hungry and wanted them , yes......if not, no.

            If the waitress was displayed a touch of negative attitude....I would have informed the manager and had it taken off my check.....eaten or not.

            1. My husband & I went to breakfast one morning, he opted for the breakfast buffet. I despise breakfast buffets (nasty scrambled eggs, soggy, limp, raw bacon, cold french toast...blech) so I ordered off the menu. I watched as the waitress walked over to the buffet & proceeded to fill my plate with the food I knew I didn't want. She brought it to me, I refused the plate and asked that the kitchen prepare my meal fresh (yes, they were taking orders, otherwise I would've sucked it up & had the buffet). She walked off in a huff & a little while later brought me a fresh, hot breakfast.
              You weren't going to make a big deal out of the missing onion rings, however the waitress' actions changed the circumstances. I would have talked to the manager & explained what you witnessed. I don't know that anything needed to be comped, but something clearly needed to be said. She should have asked if you wanted your onion rings & then made sure they were fresh & not from another's plate.
              Out of curiosity, what did you do?

              3 Replies
              1. re: jcattles

                I agree that, regardless that you initially decided not to make a fuss when the waitress forgot your onion rings, once the waitress brought over the rings that had been delivered to the other table, you should have raised the issue with the manager. It's probably a violation of health code to re-serve food in that situation (clearly a resto cannot bring you the remains of someone else's bread basket even if they never touched the bread and this is no different). If I were the manager, I would want to know.

                1. re: masha

                  You know some restaurants do recycle the bread basket - I hope that doesn't turn you off bread baskets forever.

                  re: OP,
                  It wouldn't be a big deal to me - if the onion rings were cold, I would have asked for a fresh batch as I detest cold fried anything, but if they were still piping hot, I wouldn't have a problem w/ it. It's not like the woman had started eating them and then returned them to the kitchen. Most likely it's simply a case of a busy waitress mixing up two orders and I'm sure she would have been happy to get you a new batch if you had spoken up.

                2. re: jcattles

                  Oh, well done. I hesitate to order off the menu at places I know have a buffet (Chinese, primarily) because I figure they'll probably take my order off the buffet if it's something that's on there.

                3. Monte crisco? Is that the resto's name for monte cristo? If the rings weren't cold, I would have eaten'em, but I'm not too picky. Lord knows what the kitchen would have done, given what they already may have tried to pull....so did you send it back?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gatogrande

                    Ha! I didn't even notice the Crisco part until you mentioned it. If it really was a Monte Crisco sandwich, then the OP *really* didn't need the calories.

                    Back on topic, I would have sent them back for being cold, which should solve the problem without undue embarrassment to anyone. The kitchen could then just dump them back into the fryer for a minute to heat them back up. Boiling oil kills pretty much any cooties that they might have acquired on the other diner's plate.

                  2. Wouldn't bother me at all. Much worse things happen in the kitchen. The less I know the better.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: PeterL

                      So true. What we don't know most of the time won't hurt us, right? I remember watching a roach run across a floor at our favorite wing restaurant back when I was in college. The wings were ridiculously good. I had a quick talk with myself reminding me that I could make a fuss but it would inevitably mean no more delicious wings in my future. I put my head down and focused on my plate.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        HA HA!
                        I was once in a little chinese joint, idly watching the korean waiter walking by when his arm reached out to the wall -and very smoothly, without breaking stride - he plucked a large cockraoch that was resting there. And kept walking.

                        I always remember how slick he was at it. No wasted motions, no fuss. You would never have known what happened if you weren't watching him at that very moment.
                        It was an old building that shared walls w/ the buildings on either side. It is very hard to eradicate pests in that type of situation.
                        It was also the only place like it within 40 miles and I enjoyed their food for years after : )

                    2. Nearly the exact same thing happened to my husband and I once - we were out of town, in a place we'd never eaten. A table that came in after us got their food first, and their server disappeared for a few minutes. We could hear them talking about how they didn't think their order was right - and eating up "their" fries in the meantime. (sandwiches and fries is what we're talking about.) When the server came back and realized what had happened, took their food away, brought their correct order, and then brought what we'd ordered - which came up very quickly and wasn't very hot. Husband and I deduced that they'd just taken it to the back and stuck it under the heat lamp for a minute. We asked, and server said it was fresh and new. We didn't want to eat it under the circumstances, and we sadly paid for our coffees and left .... it was very late and we were starving, so we were pretty bummed!

                      1. Forget about eating the onion rings. What a bad serving!

                        1. I wouldn't have eaten them. The waitress was problem solving and making things easier on herself and the kitchen. I would have tried not to get angry along the lines of "does she think I'm stupid and oblivious?" Then I would have smiled at John and given my onion rings to him. John loves onion rings and doesn't care if they are cold. Problem solved. But yeah that is pretty annoying.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            That is why most short order restaurants have a "pick up window", much better for the cooks, if the dining room cannot see what goes on in the kitchen!!

                          2. less about it going to the wrong table and more about it not being hot and sitting around under a heat lamp.

                            1. The server did go back into the kitchen, didn't she? Something may or may not have happened there.....

                              1. Seems pretty simple:

                                - pay for the sandwich
                                - do not pay for the rings
                                - do not leave a tip
                                - tell the manager

                                And an MC sandwich has plenty enough calories for a mid-day meal...there was a higher power telling you not to go with the ORs...that is the moral.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  You wouldn't leave a tip AND tell the manager? What was it that the waitress did was so bad? Yes, she made a mistake, but I personally don't think she deserves all that. JMHO, of course.

                                  1. re: uwsister

                                    Not bringing the Onion Rings was a mistake and that would be overseen as such.

                                    The rest was "in your face" bad service and server deliberately delivered re-cooked food and i think that deserves exactly as I stated. If you disagree, no biggie. BTW - anyone who does not leave a tip owes it to the manager to say something so s/he has the info when the server starts telling him about the cheapo customer. And if that is the policy of the restaurant, the manager needs to know it is an unacceptable way to serve the customer.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Oh, I thought the onion rings were simply re-plated, not re-cooked. Perhaps I read the OP wrong.

                                2. No problem with the rings coming off someone else's plate but if they were cold that would be problem.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: virtualguthrie

                                    I was just thinking that. I'll take it a step further and say that I wouldn't have cared much if the lady had put her hands on the rings. But, cold food (when it's meant to be eaten warm/hot)? I don't think so.

                                  2. Very simple solution: if you knew they were from the other woman's plate and you wanted fresh onion rings you should have spoken up. You are a customer paying for fresh, hot (if that is the way it is supposed to be served) food. Too few diners speak up for themselves and become dupes of lazy and shoddy wait staff practices. This should not be.

                                    1. Honestly I let some things go. You don't get ulcers that way. But this behavior is not professional and it is possibly not in keeping with recognized restaurant practices. (At least I hope not.) A call to the manager is in order. Really. He/she needs to know that this is going on. His/her attitude to your report will tell you volumes.

                                      1. For the record I wasn't bothered about not getting the rings. Figured it was the universe's way of saying 'No rings for you!...chubby'. I just wanted to make sure that the they were deducted from the bill. But that was never an issue The waitress upon giving the rings in question said there would be no charge.

                                        I didn't get the manager involved because it wasn't important. The place, a casual diner, was quite hectic and our waitress was very nice albeit somewhat harried.

                                        As the whole thing unfolded the first thought that went through my head was that this would make a good post for Chowhound.

                                        1 Reply