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The How-To Lounge: Sending Back your Food

Have you ever been to a restaurant and bitten your tongue after the waitress served you undercooked chicken or brought you off tasting fish? Although it is never comfortable to send back a meal or a bottle of wine, sometimes it is necessary so here are some easy steps to follow the next time you are faced with a similar dilemma.


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  • When you dine at a restaurant, remember you are the customer and you are always right
  • If your food is served over cooked, under cooked, incorrectly, off tasting, or simply not up to your standards, you are entitled to send it back. The only time it is not appropriate is when you have order envy
  • Simply let your server know your food hasn't meet your requirements and ask that they either cook your food a bit longer or bring you a new dish altogether
  • Keep in mind that poor food isn't the server's fault. If you are complaining about poor service, speak to the manager immediately and request a different waiter
  • Oftentimes when your wine is bad, customers will ask the waiter to taste it for themselves, so feel free to get their opinion if you are not certain it is an off bottle
  • Your waiter should be accommodating to your needs, but if you need to, ask to speak to the manager of the restaurant. Again, as the customer, you are always right
  • The nicer you are to your waiter, the more willing he/she will be to help you, so remember to complain with a smile on your face -- mistakes do happen and no one likes to deal with rude customers

When dining out, you should get what you pay for so if your food or service isn't up to your requirements or standards don't be shy in asking for what you deserve. If you walk away with a sour taste in your mouth, remember that writing a complaint letter is always an option. Good luck!

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