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When to send food back
Food and drink

When to send food back

Returning the dish that we ordered is an inherently hostile act, and it is almost never the fault of the server, so it should be done in a respectful and courteous manner

Andrew J. Linn

Friday, 13 October 2023, 15:34

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When should restaurant food be sent back? It is something that used to happen quite frequently, but with improved standards, more skilled chefs, and closer attention to detail, it is not nearly as common as it once was. But if anything must be returned to the kitchen, at least we should play by certain unwritten rules.

There is an undesirable type of customer who makes a habit of eating half what they have ordered and then complaining it was not what they expected, too salty, overdone, etc. It really does take a lot of brass to ask for a substitute dish, but, as one regular sender-backer habitually remarks, 'Isn't the customer always right?' Returning the dish that we ordered is an inherently hostile act, and it is almost never the fault of the server, so it should be done in a respectful and courteous manner.

If the food tastes odd, or off, or is in some way tainted, but a waiter appears hesitant to carry out the diner's request, ask him to taste it. He never will, but certainly the chef will grab a spoon as soon as it arrives back in the kitchen.

Rarely do customers ask for the same plate to be repeated, hence the stock question, 'Would madam/sir like to order something else?' A restaurant will usually deduct the cost from the bill if no replacement is asked for, although obviously this is the hard economic option for them.

An overdone steak has almost zero use and goes straight into the bin. Fish is even less recyclable.

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