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Restaurant Pet Peeve

I've noticed something that has been occuring recently; mostly in Diners. You don't get everything in a particular item that's listed on the menu. For example, I have 2 diners that are very close to where I live. Many times I'll order off the menu I have at home and pick up the food to bring home. I'll order a deluxe cheeseburger or a Happy Waitress special and upon arriving home I'll discover that the cole slaw and pickle were not included. I haven't gone back to get them, but I have called to let them know. I've been told at the 2 diners I frequent that you have to request the pickle and cole slaw because many people don't eat them and they would rather not waste food. My point is why should I have to request something that is printed on the menu that any reasonable person would expect to receive?

I've complained about this practice and one of the diners now have "cole slaw and pickle available on request." So at least I know I have to request it. The other diner won't do this even though I've suggested it. The woman who owns it tells me that now I know, I should just request it when I order. So now when I order I sarcastically ask for the Happy Waitress Special and ask for the grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and cole slaw and pickle to be included.

Along the same lines is when something is added that is not requested or mentioned on the menu. A pizzeria/sub shop near me has the sub combinations listed. On the menu it says "all sandwiches will include lettuce, tomato, onions, oil, and vinegar." I ordered a sub without onions. Upon arriving home I discovered that the onions were left off as requested, but that there was mayonaise included. I don't like mayo on a sub and called the place and asked why it was included when it wasn't mentioned on the menu. I was told "you should have requested that it be left off like you did the onions." But onions were listed on the menu, mayo was not. So next time I guess I should tell them to leave off onions, mayo, and maybe peanut butter since it's not on the menu either, but I wouldn't want it on my sub.

A small issue to be sure, but one that irritates me. More so than the minor inconvenience is the inability of the people I've talked to to get my point. Except for the diner that actually changed their menu to read "available on request." I'd be interested to get your thoughts. My wife thinks I'm overreacting. I don't think so.

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  1. Meh. Minor issue and I am with your wife.

    When ordering take out I always specify exactly what I want. Remember that movie with Joe Pesci? "they f*ck you at the drive thru". I'd rather be specific than get home and be disappointed.

    5 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      Yeah, I know to be specific now, but wouldn't you agree that most people who order takeout would expect that something listed in the selection would be included? It's just common sense. If the menu reads "Cheeseburger Deluxe: 8 ounce burger with lettuce and tomato, french fries, cole slaw and pickle" that you can reasonably expect all to be included in the bag when you get home?

      1. re: hotdoglover

        When ordering takeout I never assume anything. Errors are easily rectified when dining in but not once one is home. How hard is is it to say "I'll have the cheese burger deluxe, please, with lettuce, tomato, fries, slaw and a pickle" or "I'll have the cheeseburger deluxe, please. That comes with xyz correct?"

        My only exception are the high end local places we love. On the times we want their food at home I know I will bet what I want because they don't regularly do take out. Plus they know us and we usually don't even have tell them what we want...

        And as far as the "common sense" aspect I disagree. Menus change, severs turn over, new mgt takes overs, etc etc etc. why not control your own destiny?

        1. re: foodieX2


          It's not hard at all to say "I'll have the cheese burger deluxe, please, with lettuce, tomato, fries, slaw and a pickle" or "I'll have the cheeseburger deluxe, please. That comes with xyz correct?" In fact, I just did it today before I posted. My point is that I shouldn't have to request something that is already on the menu when I order it. Menus change, owners change, but is it too much to ask that these places are a little more forthright? If they feel that food is wasted, why can't they do what the one diner did and mention "available upon request?" If they are that concerned about waste, either mention that it's available upon request, or don't offer it. It's misleading at the least and dishonest at the worst. These diners should cater to the customer, not the other way around. Customers should not have to be mindreaders or "understand" policies like this.

          1. re: hotdoglover

            Life is WAY to short for me to worry about this stuff.

            I am sorry that you feel these type of places that you are frequenting are doing this on purpose with the intention of misleading you and with intended dishonesty. If that is truly the case I would like to think they won't be in business long.

            If you don't want to be the one in control of your order by ordering exactly what you want than maybe it would help to find a place or two you really like and become a regular. Most small, local places especially places that live and die by regulars and take out want you to be happy. Get to know the owners and/or staff. Frequent them often. Vote with your dollars. I find the more I get know a know a place they more I get in return.

            There is nothing better than knowing that when I call my favorite local
            Thai place they always say "and no green peppers right?".

        2. re: hotdoglover

          <It's just common sense>

          This is the mistake you're making....never assume everyone out there has it or that they're practicing it... especially in the city I live in :).
          I automatically now assume nobody's got it and I'm much more relaxed about things like you're talking about. Be specific and ask for what you want.

      2. My feelings on the matter are quite similar to yours. While the coleslaw/pickle issue doesn't bother me much (as I am one who doesn't usually eat them), I do get upset when something is not as described.
        I've ordered burgers in places where mayo was not in the description, but it showed up on the burger.
        It's not at all unreasonable to expect what is listed in the menu to be on your plate.

        1. check what you should get when you order the food, and check your order when picking it up.

          no issue, no problem, everyone happy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Maximilien

            While a sensible idea to check before you leave the restaurant with your meal, it isn't always so easy to pull everything out of the bag and open or unwrap the food, especially in places where the pickup area is crowded or just not roomy enough. Why can't people just do their jobs (sigh)?

            1. re: juliemoose

              Because that would be too much to ask. And if you pointed out a mistake, somebody might get their feelings hurt.

          2. Genrally speaking, I'd expect to get what's advertised or the place telling me, say, that they run out of slaw.

            I'm with the diner that now has the "on request". As for irritation, I'm also with the OP's wife. Life's too short to get irritated about a burger.

            16 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              I usually check my order. I can go to a drive in and request something simple, but I check to see if the order is right. But when I come in to the Diner and the woman at the counter says "Happy Waitress Special" I just assume that I'm getting what I ordered and not a Chef's Salad. Believe me, I check my orders now. But some of you seem to miss the point. It's not about being irritated over a burger. Or even screwing up an order. I can tolerate mistakes. I just feel it's misleading when a place knowingly does not give you what they advertised and doesnt have the courtesy to tell you. Yeah, many, if not most people may waste the cole slaw. But what about those who enjoy it and are expecting it. Is it fair to them to deprive them of at least knowing that it won't be included unless they ask? Why should the burden be on the customer? You say that the customer should go through the whole thing of verifying what they ordered and making sure it is included. Why can't the diner (which is considered a service industry) take the time to say "you ordered the cheeseburger deluxe. There is lettuce, tomato, fries, and would you like cole slaw?"

              1. re: hotdoglover

                No problem and they should do that, I agree. But if they don't why not take control yourself? Really, not being snarky.

                I would rather order my food, specify exactly what I want (if they don't) than to get there, unpack the whole thing to its correct and then have to wait even longer to get it right.

                1. re: hotdoglover

                  If it doesn't arrive on my plate and I'm expecting it, I ask for it. I'd miss the slaw & pickle if it wasn't there and I was especially fond of the diners version. I don't see the problem asking for it if the items don't arrive...and if they aren't included asking why and then deciding if I still want both even upsell.

                  Bottom line, I'm not going to ruin my meal over life's complex mystery. I'd rather dig into the burger!

                  1. re: HillJ

                    that is if they decide to include the burger and not change it to a chicken breast because they found that half the burger was being thrown out and that was a waste.of food. oh, and the fries? well, since the fries went with the burger and since the burger is no longer on the bun, well, then, you don't need fries. you were expecting a bun? with a chicken breast? don't you know that the carb-conscious definitely chuck the buns so, in order to prevent additional waste, no bun.

                    enjoy your burger-free, bun-free, fry-free burger and fries!

                    1. re: Vidute


                      And at what point do you say to yourself, the guy around the corner deserves my business, not this place.
                      As customers, we ask, we receive or we move on down the road....

                      1. re: HillJ

                        if i am not being given what was advertised, what i ordered, what i PAID for, i am being cheated/stolen from. imagine how the business owner would react if i decided to pay an arbitrary price for goods i received. i'd be wearing a nice pair of bracelets.

                        i'd move on if the owner refused to his deceptive business practices and "upon request" is deceptive, imho, because you are paying for something that is advertised as part of the menu item but the item is not automatically included.

                        no matter how good the food, it doesn't overpower the bad taste left by these practices.

                        1. re: Vidute

                          However, the devil is in the details, yes. Are you the type of paying customer that assumes a change made or missing item on the plate you ordered is automatically deliberate and deceptive on the part of the business or do you ask why the meal did not arrive as advertised? Do you then ask for what was advertised or stew silently? Do you ask for a replacement entree or an adjustment to the price since the entree is different than advertised? How involved as a paying customer do you get?

                          As I said, I ask. I ask. I ask. And if the answer isn't to my liking I deal with that too.

                          But what I don't do is assume the error is deliberate. Mistakes get made, food orders are often relying on what was delivered to the restaurant that week/day/etc. Servers make mistakes. We read things wrong, etc.

                          Granted we want what we want when we really really want it. I look forward to every meal..but, I'm not going to fret over stuff that just takes away from the pleasure. I deal and move on....to the next meal.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            my response was based on the op's situation in which he did ask and the owners' responses were basically you get what we give you not what we advertise and if you don't like it, too bad. pay up.

                            yes, most of the time the side dish is accidentally forgotten, or the kitchen mistakenly adds onions to your salad when you requested no onions, but when ingredient changes, substitutions, or omissions are done without your approval and without reasonable cause/explanation when questioned, then that is deliberate.

                            1. re: Vidute

                              my apologies for the overuse of the word, you. it wasn't my intention to single you out in reply.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                english is so inadequate at times, no distinction between the singular you and the plural you. however, we do have the singular ewe and the plural ewes. although, fish is another kettle.

                                should i infer anything in your lower-case reply as your other posts, here, have used standard case? ;)

                                apologies accepted. :)

                                1. re: Vidute

                                  just laziness on my part
                                  multi-tasking at my age takes an army :)

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    i'll have to remember to respect my elder! ;)

                                    1. re: Vidute

                                      It's okay to call me a dinosaur, Vidute. I won't be offended. I wear my lines proudly!

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        i was dating to a little further back....primordial soup, anyone? :P

                                        fyi, i'm no spring chicken myself. :)

                                        1. re: Vidute

                                          you're fun, Vidute. Thanks for the giggle.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            thank you, HillJ. i can rest, now. every day i set a goal for myself to make someone smile or laugh. :)

              2. I am not sure that the world will run with you but I am in total agreement with your statement. If I owned a sub shop or a diner or a business of any sort that catered to the public, I would certainly listen to a comment like yours. I DO work in the spa industry and our top priority is to give the customers above and beyond what was expected. We order take out for lunches from private restaurateurs as well as burger joints and if the deal was "served with a pickle" we will call and have them send someone down with a pickle on a platter if need be. Yes, we throw a lot of food away but the customer paid for it. They can decide whether their appetite warrants the full portion or not. I say, if you want to attract business by putting something on your menu and people bite, you'd better have not only the promised items, but a smile, a thank you for your business and an "is there anything else you need?" in there somewhere. But "customer service" has been reversed like so many other things today and it is now the customer who must serve. Not everywhere, but it's a growing problem in every arena.

                6 Replies
                1. re: tracyscookin

                  Well said Tracy! At least someone gets what I'm trying to say. The fact that it's a minor issue is not the point here. If it bothered me as much as some here assume, I wouldn't go back. But I like the food, convenience, and the people who own these diners; especially the woman who refuses to change her policy. See, I have interacted with her and know she is a wonderful person, and in my opinion does not fully understand what I'm trying to convey. The reason for my post was to find out if those of you (Chowhound readers and posters) feel the way I do. A matter of curiosity. Thanks all for your opinions.

                  1. re: hotdoglover

                    I totally agree with you. I think people are missing your point.

                    1. re: hotdoglover

                      I get ya. I'm picky, and if something is listed as being included, I can just ask to have it held off. If it isn't listed, how am I to know? Knowing the general ingredients in things, I do know to ask before ordering some things, but add-ins and condiments vary by restaurant, so I might now know. And if I'm on vacation, it's not like it make sense to note it for future reference.

                      1. re: hotdoglover

                        Your reason for asking was not lost on me, hotdoglover. Not at all. What wasn't coming across for me was how well you conveyed what you wanted after it arrived to your dissatisfaction. My impression was you didn't believe you should have to ask. That it's THEIR job to know and to deliver as advertised. My only counterpoint was to offer the suggestion that you speak up. As the customer it is also your right to do so. Then, corrections have a chance.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          But it is their job to deliver what they advertise. That is their reason to exist. If the menu item description says, #13. cheeseburger served with fries, coleslaw and pickle, and that's what I order, I should never, ever have to say, "I will have #13. Cheeseburger, fries, including coleslaw and pickle." Not if the menu describes it as included. That business owner needs to revise her description of what she is selling (and what you are paying for).

                        2. re: hotdoglover

                          i totally don't agree with you.
                          1) whenever i order i completely specify what i want. on the VERY rare occasionions i get take out i check that everything is in the bag before i leave.
                          taking on a little personal responsibility makes life a lot easier.
                          2) i am a REGULAR in most of the restaurants i like. i have a regular rotation and favorite dishes in each restaurant.
                          at this point, almost all the restaurants i go to know when i walk in the door how i want my food and/or my martini prepared.

                      2. I feel your pain. A Popeye's I used to frequent could not get my drive-thru order correct to save their lives. I imagine they didn't give a dam'. But when you order something, the least you should expect is that your order is filled correctly and that you get what is stated explicitly on the menu. And I suspect the attitude that this problem is no big deal contributes to the problem itself. Lowered, nay, non-existent standards are a bane throughout society.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          There are places I don't go to because they consistently get my order wrong. I consider this incompetence. But I am tolerant of mistakes. I order a sub without onions and it comes with them. I understand. But it's different when you are deprived of something you are led to believe will be included because the establishment is so concerned about giving away a little cole slaw that may not be eaten. Why is it so hard for them to even take the 2 seconds and ask you if you want the cole slaw and pickle? As I said, it's a service industry and the burden should be on them, not the customer. Bad enough that the portion of cole slaw is in a tiny little pinky size cup rather than a nice sized little bowl that you got in the 70's and 80's. And they wouldn't be concerned if you ate or not. Is this so hard to understand?

                        2. RE: Mayo and sandwiches

                          I think many places -- and customers -- nowadays just assume that a sandwich, including subs, will come with mayo. And that's why it's not part of the description.

                          It's sort of like if you order a cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza, most run-of-the-mill red tablecloth pizza parlours aren't going to list "pizza sauce" as an ingredient. But it's going to come with the pizza -- and most people would expect that it would -- even if the menu description for the "pepperoni pizza" only said cheese and pepperoni.

                          Or if you go to a corner Chinese take-out joint, if you order the shrimp fried rice, it's not necessarily going to list carrots and peas and soy sauce in the list of items that come with the fried rice -- it'll say shrimp, but probably not other things that people consider part of the quiddity of fried rice.

                          I think the same logic holds for sandwiches (esp. subs) and mayo.

                          Personally, I don't like mayo in any of my sandwiches and always ask that they hold the mayo (or aioli or whatever) and put on extra mustard!

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Somewhat regional. I don't remember any places in the East or Midwest including mayo routinely, but when I moved west, I quickly learned to specify 'No Mayo!'
                            for just about everything. Even pizza and fried rice ;).

                            1. re: mwhitmore

                              I'm from the East and even though I love mayo I never would think to put it on a sub. I don't think that mayo is an automatic on any sandwich here.

                              1. re: dmjordan

                                ITA. In my mind, mayo only goes on a roast beef sub. All the rest get oil and vinegar.

                              2. re: mwhitmore

                                I've lived in the west most of my life and don't recall ever having been given mayo on anything that didn't specify it, ESPECIALLY on pizza or in fried rice- gross!

                                How weird that people are getting mayo-spammed.

                              3. re: ipsedixit

                                Hmmm. Mayo in your part of the world, mayhap, but where I live mayo is never just assumed. Mustard on a burger? Yeah. But ixnay on mayo with sandwiches.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I hate mayo, so I'm pretty careful about sandwich orders. If the menu doesn't specify condiments at all, I assume there will be mayo and specifically order without. When a restaurant goes to the trouble of explicitly listing condiments on the menu (lettuce, tomato, onion, and oil/vinegar per the OP) I assume the menu description is complete, and don't mention the mayo. I would be pretty put out if I order a sandwich described as having oil/vinegar and it arrived with mayo, enough so that I would send it back, which I almost never do.

                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                    Many of the places near me do not specifically mention the condiments. So I always specify "no onions, no mayonaise." Lots of times I'm told "our subs never come with mayonaise unless you request it." But as you said, if the restaurant goes to the trouble of explicitly listing other condiments; sometimes including salt, pepper, and oregano, then the common sense assumption would be the description is complete and therefore no mayo. I couldn't believe it when the guy told me that I should have requested no mayo just like I did no onions. I tried to explain to him that onions were listed, mayo was not. Sorry, his sort of reasoning lacks common sense and consistency. That's why I said that maybe next time I'll request my sub with no onions, no mayo, and no peanut butter. But if I did, I'm sure I would be met with a blank stare. Like I stated before, it's the inability of these places to understand my point that is more frustrating than a minor mistake or inconvenience. I'm 53 and never remember having to jump through hoops, pull teeth, and be a mindreader just to get what I ordered and/or what's advertised. It's gotten so bad in a general sense that when a place is forthright and consistent, they are looked at as being the exception rather than what should be expected.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    Add me to the folks who cannot stand mayo. Fortunately, where I live, mayo does not come standard.

                                    One notable exception was a fairly nice restaurant a group went to for lunch. I ordered the hamburger, which was described as including lettuce and tomato. It arrived at the table with mayo. We were all horrified. And as much as I hate to mess up the timing of a group meal, that burger had to go back. (BTW, that restaurant is also no longer with us).

                                    But, I wouldn't get put off by no pickle or cole slaw. I'll eat the pickle if provided, but not the slaw.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      don't care for mayo on my sandwiches either.
                                      ALWAYS specifically ask that they hold the mayo and check before the server/runner leaves the table that there is no mayo on the sandwich.

                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                          Too funny! I actually had lunch at the Seville Diner on Rt. 18 in East Brunswick yesterday. I opted for soup and salad bar. As I sat at my table with the egg yolk roll, my empty soup bowl, and my full plate of salad, I contemplated taking a picture of it all and posting it on your other thread.

                                          I decided against it as I thought it could have come across a little stalker-ish. lol

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        But there is a difference between an ingredient list and a menu description that list sides included. A better analogy would be a pepperoni pizza with no pepperoni. Or a pepperoni pizza that comes with a side salad and breadsticks and no breadsticks show up.

                                      2. I completely understand. I recently ordered shrimp embrochette at a local seafood restaurant and when served they were covered in a BBQ sauce. There was no mention of that on the menu, and needless to say I am not a BBQ sauce fan, at least not on this dish. I think the menu should specify such things so I would know to have it left off.

                                        You are not overreacting at all.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: swamp

                                          A few years ago I ordered cheesecake for dessert at a nice resto. It came out loaded down with strawberries in syrup. This addition was NOT mentioned on the menu. Now maybe for some folks strawberries are de rigeur on cheesecake, but I'd always seen this topping--along with chocolate and caramel--as optional. I expected plain cheesecake and got something else altogether. Boy, was I vexed.

                                        2. Adding the mayo to the sub when it wasn't listed as one of the condiments is rather strange, and could be an issue if someone is allergic to one of the unsuspected added ingredients.

                                          The rest of it? I'd let it go.

                                          1. Near my home is a small Italian restaurant owned and run by a very grumpy family (but the food is very good). I thought that I had the problem solved when I decided to order takeout - I'd be able to avoid the sourpuss waitstaff and I wouldn't have to listen to the family yelling at each other (it's an open kitchen). I order my favorite "scungilli fra diavlo" over the phone. (Scungilli is sea snail and here in FL, we expect conch when we order scungilli. And it's not cheap!!!) Giddy with anticipation, I get the order home, open the box and there's nothing in it but pasta and a spicy marinara. I call the restaurant and ask nicely if someone "forgot" to give me the scungilli. The guy on the phone screams at me, "we can't get scungilli anymore, we took $1 off your bill" and then he hangs up!!! The sad thing is that I continue to patronize this restaurant . . . and they still have "scungilli" on the menu. Although now the first thing that I ask when I get there is "do you have scungilli tonight?" And no, they never have it. But they are happy to take my order for it! LOL

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: kbjesq

                                              And no, they never have it. But they are happy to take my order for it! LOL.....


                                              And they are even happier charging you and collect for it....

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                Let's just *say* that the restaurant is called "Italian Delight" . . . well, we locals refer to it as "Italian Misery". As in, "Hey, would you like meet at the Italian Misery for dinner tonight?" Sometimes, you have to laugh instead of get frustrated about stuff like this!! (The food - what they do have - is very, very good)

                                                1. re: kbjesq

                                                  Now you know why Chains are able to exist and are so popular.....

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      I decided to order a pizza to go from the IM last night.

                                                      Me: "Large pie to go with anchovies please"
                                                      Response: "OK that will be $19.68 in 30 minutes".
                                                      Me: "You do have anchovies, right?" (they are listed on the menu)
                                                      Response: "Uh, hold on . . . Hey, Vinnie, do we have anchovies?" followed by "Oh, sorry, no we don't have anchovies tonight, you want something else?" LOL

                                                      I have no defense to the charge that I voluntarily submit myself to this abuse . . . it's just that the food (what is provided) is very tasty and it's convenient to my house. Also, we get a lot of laughs at our house about the craziness of it all . . . reminds me of the Monty Python skit about the Cheese Shop!!!

                                                      1. re: kbjesq

                                                        Yeah, if the non-chain food is good enough--and it often is--I will frequently put up with the lousy customer service and utter absence of professionalism. It's a trade-off.

                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          often the non-chain food is much better. if you can approach the non-chain idiosycracies with good humor, the pay off is better eating.

                                              2. re: kbjesq

                                                Funny! And irritating. I used to shop at a now-closed (and dearly missed) fish store in my neighborhood. Philosophical Fish Guy (as he was known to me and friends) would berate me for ordering cooked-cracked-and-cleaned crab rather than doing it myself as he was cleaning and cracking. So I figured I'd fix his wagon and place my order over the phone to be picked up later-- and he ranted at me on the phone. I must admit I had to laugh, and always got a very nice crab dinner out of it.

                                              3. * You are not over reacting
                                                * The Owner is incompetent
                                                * The Staff is incompetent, and or, poorly trained
                                                * The restaurant has no standards.
                                                * The cooks are poorly trained.
                                                * The Owners have just made excuses

                                                Now if you still want to go back the the diners in question...then the one owner is correct....now you know so order accordingly.

                                                If you have aversions to certain food items or condiments ...or you have a penchant for asking questions before you order, then you really need to be specific....this way if there is a problem, then the onus is on the house to correct the issue without delay or discussion....I have a friend who has an aversion to Mayonnaise. We've been traveling the country playing golf together for over 20 years. Whenever he has anything at lunch that remotely resembles a sandwich m burger or dressing for a salad....he specifically states...*NO Mayo or Vinegar*.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  In one of the examples I gave, everything that was to be included on the sub (lettuce, tomato, onions, oil and vinegar) was listed EXCEPT mayonaise. It would have been much easier if they had listed it along with the other ingredients. Then I would have requested it be left off, just like the onions. I definitely have an aversion to onions and realize with them that many times they are included on things like hamburgers even if not stated on the menu, so I always ask. As for the example about the cole slaw and pickle, another poster makes a good point. I'm paying for it, it's on the menu, let me decide if I'm going to eat it or not. And if they're that concerned about waste, either don't offer it or ask if you want it. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but to me it's just another example of laziness and the decline of customer service. I should be denied something promised to me because not everyone eats it? The onus should be on the restaurant, not the customer to make sure that they deliver what's advertised. Or at least make the customer aware of their stupid policy. Fourunder, I go back to this diner because it's close and convenient, the food is good, and the owner is a nice person who I don't really think understands what I'm trying to convey. But I'm seriously considering not going back and instead giving my business to the other diner which is further away and less convenient for me because at least they listened to me and made a change to their menu so that their policy is at least stated and made known. So even though most (who I believe are missing the point here) think this is a minor issue, one place has shown they care enough about the customer whether or not they agree while the other place just tells me to make sure I request what they promise to provide in the first place. Which place do you feel is more deserving of my business?

                                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                                    Neither place has done anything to deserve your business.

                                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                                      "The onus should be on the restaurant, not the customer to make sure that they deliver what's advertised."
                                                      I agree with you 100% on this point. Especially if I'm in place I've never been to, I'd like to be confident in the fact that a place will do what they say they will.
                                                      I don't care for mayo or raw onions either, so it's become de rigeur for me to specifically ask about them on sandwiches. Annoying? Well, yes. And I do get upset when someone just assumes that I want mayo or some other dressing. But I've come to the conclusion that it's better for me to ask then to get upset later.

                                                      To answer your question to Fourunder with my own $.02... I think that the place that addressed your concerns is the one deserving of your business. Is it going to significantly iimpact the other diner's business? Not likely, but people reap what they sow. If they continue to slip in cusomer service issues, they will eventually see the difference.

                                                      1. re: hotdoglover

                                                        "Oh we didn't give you everything that was listed because we didn't feel like it or we're saving it for people who are dining in. Oh, by the way, we didn't give you a hamburger like it says on the menu, we used turkey burger."

                                                        Same difference, in my opinion. Give the customer what the menu says you'll give them. If they don't want something, they'll probably tell you so.

                                                    2. THINK that's bad ??.....have any of you ordered from White Castle and got the order correct the FIRST time ??....ever ?

                                                      1. A couple things ...

                                                        One, I hate when this happens but it's fixable by being more specific. I'm OK with specificity. I don't like making assumptions.

                                                        Two, years ago a Jack-in-the-Box their breakfast jack included a mustard type sauce on it. I never liked it. I got used to ordering a breakfast jack "plain" which in MOST places means "no sauce or vegetable". About a year ago I ordered one and I asked for it plain and I was asked if I wanted the eggs and meat on it. Since when does plain mean no eggs or meat?? Yikes. I was rudely informed they don't have sauce on this particular sandwich so I didn't need to confuse them. Hah.

                                                        Three, I have NEVER had a correct order at Five Guys burgers. The kings of "you can have everything and the kitchen sink on it" -- but they cannot make a burger with only mayo, cheese, hamburger, bacon and bun. I've once sent it back twice because it was wrong.

                                                        The overarching point of all this is that it's my food and my tastes. If I go to a place and know that they will have issues or demand that things be requested specifically I will do so. I will also check EVERY order before I leave.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: eperdu

                                                          Good for 5 Guys. This is the crankiest, most dyspeptic thread I've ever been appalled by.

                                                          1. re: eperdu

                                                            I must say, I was going to cite J in the B as the one FF chain where they almost always get the order right. I also don't remember any sauce, mustardy or otherwise, on ours. I usually get a couple of packets of taco sauce for mine.

                                                          2. I too am with you. If it's specified, it should be there. If a fairly detailed description of ingredients is listed, I would expect it to be exhaustive, and so would not have expected mayo on that sub.

                                                            Since there seems to be a bit of a side discussion on the issue, thought I'd mention that mayo is definitely a standard sub ingredient where I live. I'm actually shocked that so many of you are saying it isn't!! (However, I still agree it should have been listed with the other "standard" ingredients on that menu)

                                                            1. On one hand, I have definitely been unhappily surprised by unlisted ingredients, usually onions. Once was on a fairly simple pizza, it was my birthday and I think I had waited a long time, was hungry and pretty annoyed that my pizza had sliced red onions, but I dealt with it and picked them off. More recently, ordered a mushroom and cheese bruschetta, came with a generous layer of the sliminess that passes for caramelized onions. Scraped those off, too.

                                                              On the other hand, I also understand the 'surprise and delight' school of cooking. That is, those extra little garnishes or sauces on a dish that are a surprise to the diner and meant to be delightful. Maybe the chef thinks caramelized onions are the best thing ever and just wants to share the joy. Plus, with the backlash against verbose menus these days, some minor ingredients may not be listed. I have limited space on my menus and frequently will not list a minor garnish, especially if it is another version of a flavor already listed, like candied nuts on a nut dessert. But I have a friend who doesn't mind nut flavor but hates pieces of nuts in things, so he would probably be miffed and pick the candied nuts off.

                                                              What to do? I'm not sure. Inquire about potential offenders as often as you remember and as long as you don't end up feeling like a paranoid freak about it? Live and learn? I don't hate onions in all forms, just some, so I would feel weird asking every restaurant whether there were going to be hidden raw or slimy "caramelized" onions hidden in my dish.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                                The onions on pizza thing was just one more thing I had to push for over Christmas. Family dinner was take-out Papa Murphy's close to the house of the part of the family we were visiting. I haven't ordered pizza from there in years, so I don't know the menu. My sister asked what I wanted - I said pepperoni, sausage and black olive. She said - oh, we're already ordering Bacon, Bacon, Bacon. Thank goodness I insisted, 'cause the Bacon came with fresh and green onions. I can still taste onions after they've been near my pizza, and do not like them.

                                                              2. Hotdoglover, I am with you! Anyplace that puts mayo on a hoagie WITHOUT having mayo specifically asked for is obviously staffed by idiots! As a Philadelphian, when I merely hear someone ask for mayo on a hoagie, I cringe. So if someone were to put mayo on without it specifically being requested, I would feel entirely within my rights to ask for an entire new sandwich.

                                                                If something is on the menu as "included", you have every reasonable right to be annoyed when it isn't there, ESPECIALLY when you've already gotten it home. Words have meaning, and "included" means "included". I have no problem with the place that changed their menu to read "provided upon request". Because, stay with me folks, "provided upon request" MEANS "provided upon request"! I would also be seriously irritated.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: StrandedYankee

                                                                  Exactly. Included means included. Otherwise words have no meaning. Why is this so hard for many on here to understand? While those who disagree with me do so because they think I'm nitpicking over a little bit of coleslaw, how come they don't hold the diner accountable for not delivering what they promise?

                                                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                    Frankly, some people just don't give a dam'. Strange that they would even post on a food-related site.

                                                                2. I asked about this at Joe's Place in Union, NJ. They said they stopped serving a pickle because they found they were throwing away most pickles; people just don't eat them.

                                                                  Royal Bagel in Germantown, MD, asks three times just to make sure you get your pasta salad or cole slaw choice.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                    I've been to Joe's a few times. It's been a long time since I've eaten there. I can understand them not serving pickles anymore as long as they don't include it on the menu. Better to just ask the customer if they would like one.

                                                                    1. re: emglow101

                                                                      That drives me nuts too.

                                                                      I dislike butter so cold it can't be spread.

                                                                      I dislike dessert menus that don't have prices on them. Even when recited, they should give price, but when it is written down there should definitely be a price.

                                                                      1. re: magiesmom

                                                                        Agreed on dessert prices. The Khantessa recently made the mistake of ordering a slab o' cake, price unseen. It cost 14 samolians. Good cake, but that price is insane.

                                                                      2. re: emglow101


                                                                        I think that you may be confusing this thread with another, Restaurant practices you'd like to see become more common. This is about hotdoglover's specific pet peeve.

                                                                        1. re: dmjordan

                                                                          I think it has morphed to an all purpose "bitch" thread.
                                                                          After all, there's plenty of things to get PO'ed about when one is spending hard earned $$ and they don't meet expectations
                                                                          OR what's listed on the menu.

                                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                                            That's a big one. And very common.
                                                                            And cold food on a Hot plate. Salad is always served on a Hot plate? Really?

                                                                            1. It IS sad when this sort of thing happens,and while another poster said "life's too short to worry about these things", I don't feel that the OP, or any customer, is incorrect in expecting what is described in the menu. As he/she said, "a small issue..but one that irritates.." and rightfully so.
                                                                              The part that ticks me off the most is when the server and/or establishment makes the customer feel like it's completely their fault and that it would be a great big favor to the customer to have to redo the order (and I'm talking about situations such as that of the OP, not the crazies who demand that the fettucine alfredo be made lactose-free for them, or that the onions be removed from the fried rice).
                                                                              Unfortunately, most restaurant owners/managers don't make it a point to hire people who LIKE food, and who LIKE giving service, ie: the angry Italian family mentioned above. We've all had that server who obviously doesn't care; it's just a job. And the take-out is usually the worst, because you won't find the mistake until you get home. (I usually go through all the containers while I'm there, and if the host/ess complains that I'm taking up the counter, I tell them how I've had many mistakes in my order in the past, so until they become trustworthy, this is the procedure).
                                                                              But...we were discussing Restaurant Pet Peeves...
                                                                              ...not falling under the Inept Service catagory is the placement of the restrooms. Often, when you head for the head (as it were), the men's is immediately found, while the women's is down the hall, up the stairs, down another hall, etc., and when you get there, there's a long, long line because there's only one stall. Another peeve would be that the temperature in the restroom is set at 37 degrees, but I know why they do this: it discourages folk from lingering to do drugs or have sex...don't laugh; I walked in on a couple who were having a ball (ahem) in one of the stalls, and this was not a nightclub, but a restaurant. By the time I took the 10 minute trip back to return to notify the manager, the couple had finished and disappeared.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Michelly

                                                                                <<(I usually go through all the containers while I'm there, and if the host/ess complains that I'm taking up the counter, I tell them how I've had many mistakes in my order in the past, so until they become trustworthy, this is the procedure).>>

                                                                                Why would you continue to go back if they continue to get your order wrong? This is a sentiment I truly don't understand. Not being snarky, truly curious.

                                                                                While I have no problem giving a place a second and maybe just maybe a third chance with a *minor* mistake I cannot imagine frequenting a place where I felt the need to open every container before being satisfied because of having <<many mistakes in the past>>.

                                                                                I vote with my wallet and a place like that does not deserve my money.

                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                  Three screw-ups in short succession, and they're outta my life (and money). If the food is good enough, I'll countenance three failures spread over, maybe, 20 visits.

                                                                              2. Not overreacting-all of that is irritating to me, too. Are you supposed to be clairvoyant?

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: juliemoose

                                                                                  Exactly my point. NOW I know the cole slaw and pickle must be requested, but the first time this happenned, I didn't know. And how was I to know? It's listed on the menu. When I picked it up, the counter person handed me the bag and said cheeseburger deluxe, so I didn't check. This place changed owners recently. The prior owners didn't have the current policy, but they often got the orders wrong. The first time I called and they actually sent someone to my house with the right order. The owner told me that I should always check my order, which I now do. But it's their job. Just get the order right and be a little more careful! No one's perfect, but this happens much too often.

                                                                                  And to those who use the tired cliche, "life is too short to worry about small things" where do you draw the line? That kind of attitude is a main reason why service has declined in general. Establishments don't care and customers are either afraid, too timid, or too lazy to speak up. It's sort of like when I posted on another forum about a particular intersection where there is a green arrow to make a right turn and the first person at the light doesn't pay attention. After waiting a few seconds (which seems like an eternity at a traffic light) someone will hit the horn. And there are always those who object, calling the beeper impatient and saying "life is too short", etc. Maybe a bad example, but it seems that this type of philosophy is why people seem to be increasingly inconsiderate. Two cars travelling in opposite directions on a narrow street stop to have a long conversation with no consideration for the people who they are holding up. And then get indignant when someone lightly taps the horn.

                                                                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                    I'm with you, hotdoglover. IMHO, life is too short to be a doormat and receive such shoddy and deceptive service. You are right to speak up, and you are right to take your business elsewhere, if things don't improve.

                                                                                    I would order a certain kabob dish from a takeout place in my office building precisely BECAUSE it was supposed to come with tzatziki. Problem was, it never did. And because this was often part of an office lunch order, that I wasn't placing myself or picking up, there was no opportunity for me to check or correct. It was irritating.

                                                                                    I think the reason a lot of people don't "get" your complaint is because the side items are slaw and pickles, which maybe the people who don't get it wouldn't want anyway. But it's no different than if a burger is advertised as coming with fries, and then when you get it, there are no fries and you are told you have to specifically ask for them. It doesn't matter what the item is, if the menu says it comes with the dish, it darn well better be there. If the restaurant has changed their policy, they need to update their menu to reflect that. In this day and age, updating a menu is a pretty easy thing to do.

                                                                                2. Oh and I agree with your wife :)

                                                                                  My pet peeves in restaurants include poor lighting and tiny print on menus--and in combination--a real pita!

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    I don't like this either, but it doesn't bother me as much; I now bring glasses. But it's a legitimate concern. And I wouldn't tell you "life is too short."

                                                                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                      hotdog, pardon me if I appeared curt in my reply because I also suggested "speak up" ... you see when service is lacking I just say so. When something is missing from the plate, I ask and when I want cole slaw and pickles I say pls be sure to include them. My life too short comment was in the hopes that the next time you run into an issue like this, you just ask. And if you don't maybe your wife can ask for you. Because life is too short to sit back and wait for others to do things for ya (even if its their job). If you want the slaw and pickle have it!

                                                                                      Oh and I bring glasses but if the rooms too dark it doesn't help. I just ask the server or the folks I'm with to read the menu for me :)


                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        Oh believe me, I speak up! In fact it's an ongoing dispute with my wife and me. She thinks "I doth protest too much." I never get nasty (well at least in my opinion) but I do get my point across. After all the opinions here, which I solicited and appreciate, the bottom line is this: DELIVER WHAT YOU PROMISE! OR DON'T PROMISE IT!

                                                                                        We have a right to expect what you put on your menu. If you're not going to provide it, issue a disclaimer. I like the post that criticized the policy of the diner that said "available upon request" Now I see that this too is misleading. If you have to request it, don't put it on the menu.

                                                                                        1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                          Ah! I'm going to give more thought to your question and answer, hotdogl. Thanks for clarifying.

                                                                                      2. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                        I once saw a poster in the library that said, "Everyone can read large print books." Which makes such a valid point. It's like, if you can't read the menu then you are too old to eat here.

                                                                                        If I can't read the menu I just order whatever I want anyway.

                                                                                    2. I get annoyed when something sounds fabulous in a menu description but the amount actually included makes it nothing more than a garnish. For example, fudge brownie with salted caramel sauce, candied pecans, freshly whipped cream, and, say, a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

                                                                                      What appears on my plate is a 1'x2" piece of brownie, two breadcrumb sized sprinkles of something crunchy (the candied pecans), a tiny, thin squiggle of something light brown (the salted caramel sauce) and a teaspoon sized blob of whipped cream.

                                                                                      I say boo to this! If it amounts to only a garnish on the plate, please use the word "garnished" in the description before I get all excited for candied pecans and salted caramel!

                                                                                      1. Pet peeves..
                                                                                        Brown wilted sorry ass lettuce in my salad.
                                                                                        Crumbs on the seat of the booth with food, so when you booth slide, you have crumbs and smeared food on your pants..gross when wearing shorts.
                                                                                        Not giving me the food what says on the menu.

                                                                                        1. My wife is in food service and she told me years ago the reason my order gets f*ed up so often is I tell them what I don't want. (I would ask for my coffee milk no sugar and get my coffee with milk and sugar all the time.)

                                                                                          So I stopped.

                                                                                          I'm with you. Next time just start naming all kinds of stuff you DO NOT want on your hero. "No onions, no mayo, no ketchup, no jalapeƱos, no hair, no peyote, no pickles, no croƻtons, no sand..." Just keep going. (Granted, you're not going to want to eat that sandwich when it arrives but it will be fun.)

                                                                                          1. The world isn't prefect and neither are menu descriptions. You'll never go to another restaurant with those expectations. Just be specific to your waitperson to avoid future heartburn!

                                                                                            1. There is a very popular restaurant in the Northern California city I live in. Lines out the door literally.... their food is that delicious.But they are so busy 24/7. They have maybe 5 booths inside so mainly it is take out for breakfast lunch and dinner.I learned years ago when I volunteered to pick up the lunch order (of over $100.00) for a group of my fellow nurses who were VERY hungry to stand there and check every item in all of the bags and make sure that the drinks are all labeled. I did not do that and when I drove all the way back to the hospital several items (that were paid for) were missing. I called and scooted my a$$ right back over there but my friends were hungry and disappointed about the snafu and having to wait. We did get like a $35.00 credit but what a disaster:(

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                I'm pretty sure I know what city, but for the life of me, I can't think of any restaurant that fits your description....?

                                                                                              2. The first one would disturb me much more than the first - I could chalk the second one up to misunderstandings about what's considered default on a sub.

                                                                                                But in the first one, they are deliberately witholding part of your order as it's listed in your menu. And they're doing that on a takeout order that's packaged up when you arrive to pick it up. So you can do without part of your order (giving them more profit) or you can unpack your whole order at the cash and check to make sure that you've actually got what you paid for (as it gets cold, and inconveniencing anyone else who needs to pay for their meal), or you can drive back to the restaurant with your cooling meal and demand the full order.

                                                                                                I would have no problem if they *asked* if you really wanted the pickle and coleslaw. But they've admitted that they are deliberately cheating you and other patrons out of part of your order, and in one case at least, don't care.

                                                                                                1. hot do glover, the running joke for as long as I can remember with my friends and family here on Long Island is, at diners, if you don't eat the coleslaw, the next guy will.
                                                                                                  The coleslaw at diners around here, and there are 4 on every corner, is recycled. Any uneaten or remaining coleslaw from a table goes back into the serving bin. It is also usually made in a large plastic garbage can not dedicated to coleslaw making...
                                                                                                  One can find some interesting things inside a monkey dish of coleslaw sometimes at diners around here.
                                                                                                  The diner owners I know personally, cringe when they see it on our table and someone is actually eating it! LOL!
                                                                                                  They definitely weren't lying to you when they said they don't want to waste food...
                                                                                                  Same with the quartered pickes (years back they served whole pickles in diners around here)
                                                                                                  If they voluntarily put it in a to-go order any remaining coleslaw and pickles can't go back into the serving bin again...
                                                                                                  And the worst is the brown gravy... Who knows what's been dipped in those monkey dishes of gravy by the past few customers... I've found some interesting things in there as well...
                                                                                                  Don't get me started on the vats of soup uncovered in the walk in... Things fall off the shelves all the time into these catch basins of soup...

                                                                                                  1. A little diner called the Cozy Inn (been around since 1922) has at least made their life easier. All they serve are sliders (on the original grill) bagged chips and pop. Big sign says "No Cheese" Don't even ask for it. Another sign says "All burgers are made with onions." So I guess you know in advance if you want cheese, or don't want onions this is not the place for you to go.

                                                                                                    1. With regard to the first pet peeve of to-go or pick up orders, I couldn't help but think of the immortal words of Leo Getz, (Joe Pesci) in Lethal Weapon;

                                                                                                      "They FUCK YOU at the drive-thru, okay? They FUCK YOU at the drive-thru! They know you're gonna be miles away before you find out you got fucked! They know you're not gonna turn around and go back, they don't care. So who gets fucked? Ol' Leo Getz! Okay, sure! I don't give a fuck! I'm not eating this tuna, okay?"

                                                                                                      1. I have not read the thread yet, (someone provided a link from another thread) but after reading your OP, I agree with you. We'll see what I think after reading the entire thread.

                                                                                                        1. I never assume, I always check my food before I go home. It would be too much trouble to drive back to the restaurant/fast food place, but if I check it then and there I can get whatever was left out easily. I do agree that most people would assume that the cole slaw & pickle are included, but I also agree with your wife, it's not that big of a deal. :)

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: DatatheAndroid

                                                                                                            Something interesting I've noticed my local Pizza Hut doing this year. They don't offer delivery, only carry out. Every now and then I get a craving for their bbq beef pizza. It isn't on the menu, you have to ask for it and only a few Huts will make it. When I go in now to pick up my carry out, they bring the box (or boxes) to the counter and open the pizza box and have me inspect it before I pay for it or leave. I've never had a pizza place do that before, but I admit I do like it. I can see if the pizza is correct, or burnt, and if I've ordered sides or sauces I can make sure they are all in place.

                                                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                              For some reason this irritates me. When they open the box it is as if to show me that they got the order correct, they are so proud of it. My attitude is, hey, you just put it in the box, while you are doing this, can you just check the order to make sure they match?

                                                                                                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                I admit. I did think this was weird. I've never complained at that place before. But they do it everytime.

                                                                                                              2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                It's very weird IMO, that they will not deliver the pizzas. I always order carryout pizzas because I am too cheap to pay the delivery charge + tip. The nearest Pizza Hut is only a short distance away, and I drive a Mini Cooper S, so I do save money by getting carryout pizza. I have never had a BBQ beef pizza before, but it sounds delicious. The local Pizza Hut will occasionally show me the pizza, but I do not really have an opinion about it one way or the other since I check it myself before I leave.

                                                                                                                1. re: DatatheAndroid

                                                                                                                  There are a couple of PHuts in town. The one about 3-4 blocks from my house is the only one that I know will do the BBQ beef pizza. Not sure why they don't deliver. The one over by the college does deliver. Most of the Huts either don't make it or only if you ask for it since it is off the menu now. Basically they have a BBQ Beef Sandwich, and they use that and the sauce on the pizza. Apparently it is more expensive as a product, so they price it as a specialty pizza. I try to keep my cravings down to when they are having a $10 large pizza any way you like it special.
                                                                                                                  Edited to add: the PHut in my mom and dad's small town will do the BBQ if asked. (Also not on the menu). But they will not honor the $10 anyway you want it specials.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                    Not surprised that the college-located PHut delivers. That's got to be the majority of their business, delivering to the students.