Tales from the Restaurant

Tales from the Restaurant
Where you'll find all the restaurant dirt you'll ever need.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

If you don't know dick, don't complain.

In the restaurant business, there are far too many people who come in, order something, and then complain because what they received didn't resemble/taste like/smell similar to their concept of the dish.

This is incredibly annoying to everyone else because often enough, the people who made the dish have probably made it hundreds of thousands of times before. The restaurant staff of any decent eating establishment probably knows more about the food you are ordering than you will ever know.

In hospitality, it is implied (and sometimes explicitly stated) that the guest is always right.

Thus, the paradox.

I have found throughout my restaurant tenure that this overly popular notion has emboldened many a guest to complain, often without warrant, and even get some free food and a few ounces of sympathy at the expense of the server, the chefs, and the organization.

Some time ago, I had a group of business-type-ladies from Tennessee. One of them ordered a dish (of which Cajun-style-salmon was the centerpiece), and received it cooked through (medium well). She immediately complained to me, saying that "It looks all burnt and tough."

Despite my reassuring her that it was merely the Cajun spices that she was observing and that she received it cooked through, she insisted that I remove it and bring a new one back that was "a little more medium."

In the food world, "Medium" denotes something cooked through, but with a slightly warm center. This pertains to fish, steak, etc.,.

Upon receiving her salmon medium, she instantly complained to the management that her fish was "raw in the middle." The management again reassured her that her dish was in fact medium, and that she had received exactly what she had asked for.

Needless to say, she had it taken away, had half her bill complimented, and went away feeling like the people charged with her dinner for the evening were incompetent.

I'm all for speaking up about your dish, but only in the following scenario;
You did not receive specifically what you had asked for, and you've confirmed the inaccuracy with your server.

If you don't know a damned thing about what you ordered, it's ok to ask what you should expect. But don't complain if you don't know what the hell you're talking about. It's that simple.

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