When Is It Ok To Send Your Food Back In A Restaurant

Traveling goes hand in hand with eating out and tasting traditional dishes of the country visited. Most often we’ll buy street food or opt for the local restaurants. And there are times when we share our good moments or celebrating by eating out.

Most of the time unavoidably we must eat in restaurants or street food in foreign countries simply because we want to try some of the specialties. That’s all good experience until we are stuck with something that we didn’t order or wasn’t cooked properly. There are two ways to handle such a situtaion: to agree and go with it or return it.

But, many times we find ourselves in a situation where we are served wrong order or it was not cooked properly. And might usually happen while sitting with a good company on the table having a nice dinner out. So, in such a case we most likely would feel that returning a food is a bad gesture and it would ruin the atmosphere on the table.

Let’s say your flexible mind may be saying that it’s not a big deal, and you won’t mind being stuck with eating something you dislike because the company is great. So you get a bigger dessert and compensate.

Returning the meal would probably make one uncomfortable situation just when everyone is feeling good. Even worse, you’ll probably be the only one left without a plate in front of you while waiting for the meal to be fixed. The others on the table will be eating their orders, which will make you feel a bit awkward. So, instead, to call the waiter and explain the mistake in the order you’ll accept it as it is. Although when that kind of mistakes happens in many good restaurants they will offer you some kind of appetizer in the meantime.

Many of us would probably keep quiet when we are served overcooked, undercooked, too salty or some kind of dish that it wasn’t supposed to be the ordered one.

Instead of calling the waiter or the staff and try to make things right, we would feel more or less embarrassed and inconvenient to draw attention to us. We are there having lunch in a nice company thinking that we don’t want to spoil the good atmosphere. We would just have to get over it if the meal isn’t so good for the sake of the good time spend out.

There are a few acceptable reasons when it’s ok to send your food back in a restaurant.

  • Like when it’s undercooked or overcooked, opposite to what you ordered. So every time you order a steak well-done and it arrives raw feel free to point out that to the waiter, return the food and expect to be cooked as asked.
  • Or if its something totally different from what you ordered and cold (but needs to be served hot).
  • Of course, if you’re allergic to some ingredient and you specified to be excluded in your dish, but the meal was served to you with it anyway, that’s a good reason too. I wouldn’t try to make any substitutions with the ingredients of the dish though. That may affect the taste a lot.
  • And finally, maybe those ingredients that you asked for to be included instead of the ones from the original dish are more expensive or in chef’s opinion don’t go well together despite your opinion being otherwise. You can always eat those combinations prepared in your own kitchen at home. I’d suggest refrain from doing that because it’s wrong.
  • You can definitely ask your dish to be prepared or served without some ingredient, perhaps that you may be allergic to or simply don’t like it. And if the waiter doesn’t bring you the order as you asked then it’s totally fine to return it back.

The staff would actually want to hear from you if there is some kind of problem that’s making your dish or visit unenjoyable.

Mistakes are only human, so it’s a normal thing and we should approach it like that. The thing is more how you say it. If you are nice and kind with the waiter when explaining what’s wrong with the order things can go smoothly and you’ll get what you wanted in a blink of an eye. At least in many reputable and good restaurants that would be the case. But only if you really have some issue and you say it openly like it is. The staff would like you to see you leaving happy instead of unsatisfied and hungry. Make sure to give them a chance to repair the mistake.

Restaurant Menus can be confusing sometimes especially if written in foreign languages. Many of us would find ourselves assuming that the fish is a desert or chicken a vegetarian salad, for example.

Always read the menu carefully and ask when you see an unfamiliar ingredient. If you’re not up to trying and tasting new stuff it’s ok to ask your waiter about the ingredients and preparation process or anything else described in the menu before you order your food.

Be sure you know what you’ll be ordering so there won’t be any misunderstandings on that part.

The waiter is there to clarify anything you may be wondering about what it may be. If you feel uncertainty about some ingredients of the dish described in the menu, be sure to ask exactly what it is. Only then you’ll be ordering a meal that you would gladly enjoy the taste of it.

Simply put, you may only return the dish when you’re sure that is the restaurant’s fault for the mistake done.

You have to be sure that the problem with your order is in the way that’s been cooked or that the ingredients didn’t come out to be as described in the menu, and it’s not about the dish. If you just don’t like the taste of it and the meal was cooked as described in the menu that’s up to you and it’s not the restaurant to be blamed.

When there’s something wrong with your meal call the waiter and make it right. Just make sure you do that in a nice and polite way. It’s not ok to be rude. Mistakes happen so remember that nobody hates you nor is being disrespectful to you.

If you don’t like the food show that openly, to the staff, by not eating it.

After you take two to three bites to determine that it’s not to your likings stop eating and make your complaint to the waiter. That’s why the waiters in the best establishments will check on you after you try your meal. They will ask you what you think of it and if it tastes good.

It’s very rude to return the food after eating the whole meal or even half of it. Be fair and speak up right away. Whenever you do that be reminded that they are all people just trying to feed you well and make you feel good there, so be nice in the process. If the food is not to your liking keep in mind that this isn’t the waiter’s fault. So, never make a scene or yell at a waiter. There is no need for being rude and impolite with the staff. Their job is to make you feel comfortable and good in the restaurant so clarify your issue about the order in an open easygoing way. Without a doubt, they would rather see you next time too than never again.

Finally, a question appears what happens when you don’t like the taste of some dish you ordered (just like that without any specific reason) in a restaurant and if you should pay for it in those circumstances.

The thing is that every time you order something from the menu you make a sort of a contract with the restaurant. You agree to pay the price for the meal as described in the menu and for the good service. The restaurant in return agrees to deliver the food you ordered exactly as described in the menu.

The menu is part of a contract, along with the restaurant service, the minute you step inside. Which is why the waiter should be respectful and efficient as well.

If you have any problem with your order you should leave some examples of it. In fact, you shouldn’t take more than two bites probably so you can openly show your dislikes. You can’t just eat the whole meal, then state that you won’t pay for it because you didn’t like it and leave. Probably the restaurant will call the police and you can be treated as a criminal and a thief. Except that what you stoled (like the evidence) was already being digested in your stomach. That makes the situation a bit different. And that it could make much harder on you to clarify why you didn’t want to pay your due to the restaurant.

All in all, if you have a problem with your food and don’t want to pay you should leave it uneaten and speak up right away. If you’re sure that the food is not up to the standards as promised or wasn’t cooked properly but the restaurant insists on paying for it anyway, you can go to court with the restaurant.

So instead of paying for the bill, you can go to court for contract dispute with the restaurant. But, keep in mind that probably it won’t be in your favor and the chances would be very low of winning the case if you eat all of the food served without making any complaint to the staff before your refusal.

Eating more than half of your meal won’t be very persuasive in terms that you didn’t like it would look more like that you have some kind of problem paying for it. You need to give them a chance to fix the problem first if there is a room for that and only if they fail to do so you can go further and refuse to pay the bill.

Undoubtedly here the answer is very clear: before you digest the whole ordered meal in your stomach, save a piece of that delicious food. After you’ve eaten the whole meal, you would lack evidence. Show your plate to the manager first. If the manager disagrees with your statement, afterward, you might have a chance to dispute in the court.