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Sep 30, 2012 06:18 PM

Should you be charged extra if....[moved from Boston board]

...Tonight Mr. Swank and I ordered takeout Chinese from a local spot that shall go nameless, because we like them. Mr. Swank asked for house lo-mein and was told that their lo-mein noodles were gone, but he could order udon noodles with his lo-mein for $2 extra. It does seem petty ($2!), but we disputed it on principle and said that we should pay the original price, since they were out of the advertised dish. Agree/disagree?

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  1. Great question.

    I disagree with you. A restaurant has no obligation whatsoever to guarantee that all of their dishes are available as advertised at all times. Sometimes the food runs out. You can't always just conjure up the ingredients fairy. We must not forget this.

    Furthermore, such substitutions are suggestions, and they should be left entirely to the discretion of the restaurant. If a restaurant is out of a cheap ingredient, should they be under some kind of unspoken obligation to allow for a more expensive replacement at no extra charge to the consumer? Or if they're out of a dish in general, should they allow for a same-price substitution of a more expensive dish entirely? No way.

    I agree that it's not unheard of -- maybe even not unusual -- for restaurants to do this, and it may actually make financial sense for them if the other option is you just taking your business elsewhere, but if it's the principle we're discussing, I'm firmly on the "no obligation" side.

    1. I disagree also. It's not like restaurants offer an in-stock (or kitchen) guarantee where if they run out they upgrade you to the next best thing at no additional cost.

      1. Provided that they told you about the $2 extra in advance, I feel that it is appropriate, as you have the opportunity to change your order if you wish. However, if they prepared your order and then told you about the $2 extra fee, that would be unacceptable to me. Maybe the udon is more expensive for them to purchase and they need to pass the cost on to the customer.

        1. Yeah I will have to disagree as well. They could have just said they were sold out and not offered it to you at all. I went to a restaurant last night and wanted a particular dish but they had run out of the specific mushroom so would not make it for me. Would have much rather them offer it with a different mushroom so I could still have had it, even if it cost a bit more. Different ingredients cost different amounts of money. They told you in advance, so I'd certainly not have had a problem with it at all.

          1. I disagree, They were out of an ingredient, so the dish was not available that day. No one forced you to buy that entree in a modified/customized version. Most restaurants will charge for a substitution, hope you enjoyed the dish.