“I’m afraid to tell you…”
“I know this isn’t your fault, but…”
“I’m sorry to say this but I was not satisfied with the veal. It was undercooked.”
- Remember: Your server RARELY has control over the quality of your food. Be sure you’re not shooting the messenger.
- Try to stay calm and professional. I know it can be frustrating when service is bad, but losing your temper will not improve the situation.
- When making a complaint, be clear about what expectations were not met and what the resolution looks like to you.
- There are a lot of ways to get this wrong. The best way to get it right though is to remember that your waiter/server is a human being and losing your temper over cold crab cakes is not a good look for anybody.
- Take their apology. Things happen so try to take their apology with magnanimity.
- If they don’t get their apology right, pay your bill, and don’t go back. You can even leave a review on Yelp to warn others.
- Hi, what’s your name again?
- <Name>, I know this is not your fault, but there is a hair in my soup. Can you please take it back and refund it?
- Thanks for taking care of that - I really hated saying something, but I thought someone should know.
- I appreciate you resolving that quickly.
- Other things you can say:
- I hate to tell you this, but this table is a little wobbly. Can you move us to another one?
- I know you’re very busy today, but this table is right next to the bathrooms and I can smell the cleaner. Can we move to another table?
- Can you check in on my steak? It’s been a while since I put it in. I’m sure you guys are just really busy. Thank you!
How to Complain at a Restaurant Without Being a Jerk
The world of dining and drinking is an obstacle course wrapped in a labyrinth wrapped in a logic puzzle - it's full of pitfalls, gray areas, and bewildering questions that really shouldn't even be questions (How do I find the bathroom?) and yet, somehow, are.