How To Send Food Back (Politely)

You make your order- are excited to eat - the food arrives but you're sorely disappointed. What do you do?

Usually, I would probably bitterly eat the meal and pay a reasonable tip because I don't want to be racially stereotyped for under-tipping. But now I'm fed up (pun intended).

Why you should send food back (if it's bad):

  • When  you're at a restaurant, they claim to have some competency in whatever they put on their menu.I don't get paid for doing a shitty job- why should restaurants?
  • Opportunity cost of food- could you have gone somewhere else and gotten something in the same price range that is better? 
  • The restaurant should take this as feedback. If no one tells them that their food is garbage, how will they ever improve?

Rules of Sending Food Back:

  • If they offer to remake that same dish- it's best to say no. I mean- if they can't get it right the first time, going back to that same vat of tortellini isn't going to make it any better. It's likely they're not cooking you a new dish from scratch. The food has been prepped beforehand by that same chef and you'll get something similar. Also, it will be awkward if you still don't like it.
    • There can be exceptions to this rule- like if you're in cahoots with the restaurant and you know they'll take care of you.
    • If the food is truly terrible, and they ask you if you want another dish, just say no. It's not worth it. Consider the fact that they put zero effort in what you're currently consuming. Restaurants have a tendency to put things on their menu that they think would be appropriate, but they don't have the competency to make these dishes. Think Chicken Korma at an Indian restaurant.

Waiter: How is everything?
You(Name of dish) was okay, but this one was not good at all.
Waiter(Pause) I'm very sorry about that.

At this point, they waiter should say something like, "Can I get you something else?"

If so...

You: Yes


You: No thanks.

If they don't ask you, drop this line-

You: Can I get something else?


You: I don't want this.

Clearly these people don't know how to run a restaurant with customer service- you likely don't want to contribute to their business. If they charge you for the dish, call the waiter over and say...

You: I would like this removed from my bill.

And if it gets hostile-

You: I'm not paying for this- it did not taste good.

Eventually they'll feel awkward enough and you'll get what you want.

Now, tip them well if you feel like you've been treated with respect.

New post next Sunday.

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Tommy - Your margaritas are NOT the best.

Tommy - Your margaritas are NOT the best.

Austin Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants

Austin Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants