Complaining (effectively) At A Restaurant

Everyone’s had to deal with it at some point:  You’re at a restaurant and they mess up your order.  And you have to decide whether to handle it like an adult, suck it up and not say anything, or turn into a psychopath.

–For some reason, it’s a situation that tends to turn non-psychos INTO psychos, even though copping an attitude doesn’t help.

–So CNN had an expert break it down.  Here are the top five things to do if you want to complain EFFECTIVELY at a restaurant.

#1.)  Stay Calm.  Flying off the handle won’t get your order fixed any faster.  It’ll just make your server hate you, which won’t help.  So it’s best to take a deep breath, and remember that mistakes happen . . . even at NICE restaurants.

#2.)  Act Fast.  Meaning, don’t wait until you’re halfway done with your meal before you tell the server there’s something wrong with it.  As soon as you realize something’s wrong, let them know.  Or if you’re just too hungry, shut up and eat it.

#3.)  Be Specific.  For example, don’t just shrug your shoulders and say your food tastes “weird.”  Give the waiter something to tell the chef . . . like it’s overcooked, or it’s undercooked.  Whatever.  Just give them a reason.

–On the other hand, if you order something that’s a little risky, and it turns out you just don’t like it . . . then that’s kind of on YOU.

#4.)  Trust the Server.  Don’t badger them.  If you ask for a new steak, you should expect it to take ten minutes.  So there’s no point in asking every TWO minutes.  With that said, a good waiter will stop by the table once or twice with updates.

–Also, don’t start asking for free stuff.  If it’s a BIG mistake . . . like they make you wait an hour for your food . . . then the manager should OFFER you something for free.  But little mistakes don’t usually equal free food. 

#5.)  If They Still Don’t Get It Right, Follow Up with an Email.  But wait until a few hours after dinner, or until the next morning when you’ve calmed down.

–The manager won’t take it as seriously if it’s filled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, all because you sent it from your phone while you were driving home angry.

–In fact, the best way to complain is to send a handwritten LETTER.  Apparently restaurant managers take them much more seriously than emails.