Restaurant Mistakes

Recently I went on a lunch date with my daughter Theresa and we each ordered a burger medium rare. They arrived not even rare, I mean they were raw and cold. I informed the server and she was very apologetic and whisked them away with the promise of correction.

The burgers returned, the same ones that we had cut in half, cooked to well done and on a new roll. (Quite frankly  I wanted to go back to the kitchen and rip the cook that oven-chucked our meal a new asshole for being so lazy).

At this point we’re quite hungry so we just ate our lunch and didn’t say a word.

A young man who seemed to be a manager (he didn’t say) came by to further apologize and ask if things were corrected. I told him no, that the burgers were well done upon return but we would eat them anyway. He said they’d comp one burger and he offered us a gift card for a return trip and  I told him that the card was unnecessary that I was satisfied with the comp since we ate the food as it came and that he would be better served by buying the kitchen a temperature probe. He agreed.  I don’t like the “we made it cheaper because we know it was crap” attitude. Make the kitchen produce a good meal, don’t let them off the hook. I’m there willing to pay full price for good food.

I never use “I’m the chef at The Wine Bar” kind of bullshit, I think it’s tacky and would make it look as if I’m looking for something beyond what any customer should get. Also, now that I’m a famous food blogger, I wouldn’t threaten with “I’m gonna write about this in my blog” crap. I’ve had that done to me, and I replied “I look forward to reading it.” This is why I’ll never mention names here when I’ve had a bad experience at another restaurant.

In my kitchen, this error, simply should not occur, but if we were faced with such a issue, we would start over since the burgers were returned not whole. It is unacceptable to further ruin a meal that has been to the table, cut, then refused with good reason. The customer should get what they came in for: a new dish, freshly cooked and plated.

So my question is, how should mistakes be corrected? What are some of your experiences with mistakes such as this, and how was it handled? Remember, I’m not looking to call anyone or anyplace out, so don’t use names.

2 thoughts on “Restaurant Mistakes

  1. I was a well regarded place nearby (not in Saratoga) last week and was served a plate of risotto which was delectable in the center of the dish, cold and unseasoned at the edges. Obviously something was wrong in the kitchen, which I could confirm by looking through the pass through across the room from me and see that the chef was regularly berating all her cooks. I was with a group on our way to a performance and everybody else was fine with their food and clearly the kitchen was having a bad day (probably someone didn’t show up) so I just ate it. The point being that the most common mistakes are the ones you don’t hear about.

    I like what LorreS recommends for the situation where the restaurant is on top of its game and makes an uncharacteristic mistake. But I think the majority of “mistakes” are either unreasonable customer expectations or a lack of commitment from the establishment.

    In the first example, the customer is most likely having a bad day for other reasons and you’re unlikely to make it right in their eyes even with a comp. In the second, it’s probably going to take a while to even flag down a server to tell them about the mistake.


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