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How Long will you Wait for a Meal before Complaining ?

How Long will you Wait for a Meal before Complaining ?

Old Jan 3, 2009, 6:52 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by JY1024
(On a side note: I also send back food because it was clear that it'd been sitting in the window too long because the server put in the order too early. I try not to sweat the small stuff, but I won't tolerate soggy/non-crispy fried foods, fallen souffles, gummy/soft creme brulee crusts, meat overcooking under a heat lamp, etc.)
You send food back? I'd NEVER consider doing that--only because I've heard too many horror stories of what p!55ed off servers and cooks do to food that's been sent back.

I would hope that at a nicer restaurant you wouldn't have to worry about this kind of thing--but then again, any restaurant good enough to hire staff that aren't juvenile enough to do this probably wouldn't give you soggy fried foods and fallen souffles in the first place.

The most I'd do is complain to the manager after the fact (likely having only eaten a portion or none of the offending dish) and perhaps expect some sort of compensation.
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Old Jan 3, 2009, 9:16 am
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by dlflyer2
To add to this thread, how long will you wait to be acknowledged whether seated by host/hostess or self seated?

For me, I start getting antsy after about 10 minutes. My feeling being that it takes only a second to acknowledge someone's presence and /or deliver a glass of water(water dependent on local customs). Much more than 10 minutes for acknowledgment means that the experience will generally go down hill from there.
Ten minutes is about the max also for me.If the waiter does not come by with in that time to greet us it is not going to be a good dining experience-i have been known to walk out if not acknowladged within 10-15 minutes.

As to food getting to the table.a starter=10-20 minutes.Main course better appear within 15 minutes or less after finishing the starter,which would be about 30-45 mins after ordering..If food takes longer than that it means the restaurant kitchen is understaffed(cheap owner=also a stupid oe since turnover is the life blood for survival in the restaurant business)or the food is sitting under a heat lamp waiting to be picked up by the waiter.

Of course this is for a general restaurant.I make exceptions for both the low end(mom and pop)and the high end-where the food should get a little more attention than in the everyday places.
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 1:21 pm
  #18  
 
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Depends on where I eat. In the USA, 15 to 20 minutes.
In Paris, 45 to 60 minutes.
At any US McD, 2 minutes.
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 2:56 pm
  #19  
 
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Please forgive this being my first post but I wanted to answer this as someone who has been a server for a number of years.

I work in a family owned and operated seafood restaurant in Florida, it's fairly priced at about $30 a head.

I would say you should never wait more than 10 minutes to see your server, especially if the restaurant doesn't have a wait to be seated. If you do, take it up with the hostess. It's their job to know when the server is able to take on another table and their fault if you don't get the expected service.

You should expect to wait no more than 10 minutes to see your salad and bread. Most salads in big turn around restaurants are made slightly ahead of time and takes the server no time to reach into the cooler and grab.

A note on main courses. The only problem I have with people complaining here is when they don't consider how the dish is being prepared. It's perfectly acceptable to inquire how your meal is cooked. For instance, a broiled fish dish is going to take a hell of a lot longer than some fried fish.
Fried food shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes. For baked and broiled food I'd start wondering after 45 minutes. Also, if you're ordering a steak, keep in mind the cut. Filet is going to take a while longer than a ribeye.

Oh yeah, don't worry about sending food back. It won't be treated badly. The kitchen usually rushes the order and the server should be very apologetic. The worst you can expect is it taking a bit longer than you'd like (especially if you're rude about it).


Personally, I won't wait longer than an hour for my food at an average restaurant, but I do keep an eye on the staff.
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 9:31 pm
  #20  
 
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I once quietly waited over 25mins for my meal while my girlfriend-now-wife finished her dish. When they dropped off our check unrequested (with me still not receiving my meal and with my order on the bill mind you!) I flipped out on the waitress.

Granted, I was just being @ss because I really should have spoke up earlier but I wanted prove a point to my girlfriend who recommended this restaurant which I didn't want to go to. [Yes, she still eventually agreed to marry me. ]

Last edited by Jay71; Jan 6, 2009 at 12:18 am Reason: grammar
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Old Jan 5, 2009, 9:49 pm
  #21  
 
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For me, it depends on the restaurant. However, if others that were seated after me are served before me with no valid explanation, that is certain grounds for complaining regardless of the time that has passed (my restaurant peeve).
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 6:32 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by PurpleTravel
For me, it depends on the restaurant. However, if others that were seated after me are served before me with no valid explanation, that is certain grounds for complaining regardless of the time that has passed (my restaurant peeve).
To me, that's a valid reason to complain.
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 10:21 am
  #23  
 
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just a personality trait of mine (perhaps to a fault) is that i do not complain at restaurants. have never sent food back or complaint. if service is poor, food is poor, etc, then i tip commensurately
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 10:23 am
  #24  
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I think anything beyond 10-15 minutes is an unreasonable time to wait without being acknowledged (after being seated) or served (after ordering).

I have gotten up and left. I also once reseated my family in another part of a dining room after waiting too long for someone to take an order (I really wanted to eat there). When the new server greeted us, I asked to see the manager so I could explain. We were comped appetizers for our inconvenience. I never did find out why we were ignored, but assumed it was confusion among servers over whose table it was.
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Old Jan 6, 2009, 7:55 pm
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Just a heads up in case you're lucky enough to find yourself on the South Island of New Zealand at mealtime.

RadioGuy and I stayed in a few small/medium towns and ate at the sort of informal places the locals visited. Our first several dinners, the service seemed *really* slow (long wait to be seated, long wait for menus, long wait for meals, long wait for offer of dessert/coffee). We were getting a bit irritated until the next evening when I remembered the classic travel advice and looked at what the locals were doing. They arrived (a group of friends, a family with school-age children, etc) and hung around the bar area for a while, talking to each other. Then they were seated (when the hostess got to it) and talked to each other. Eventually menu were brought and they spent some time deciding. And talking to each other. Eventually (to me it was excruciatingly slow) the waitress took an order. But they passed the time chatting. And after a short eternity, food arrived and they enjoyed that too.

Bottom line (my theory - anyone from NZ welcome to contradict me) was that people viewed going to dinner with their family or friends as the evening's entertainment. They weren't rushing home to watch the (virtually non-existent) NZ television programming, they were having An Evening Out and enjoying their time together. Once we knew what to expect and did the same, it was quite enjoyable. (We only had a few more evenings there, so my data is limited.)

I don't recommend this as a universal pattern (in the US or Australia I would complain if I thought the service was slow) but as a reminder of different local customs.
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Old Jan 9, 2009, 6:45 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by ToTheStars
Please forgive this being my first post but I wanted to answer this as someone who has been a server for a number of years.

I work in a family owned and operated seafood restaurant in Florida, it's fairly priced at about $30 a head.

I would say you should never wait more than 10 minutes to see your server, especially if the restaurant doesn't have a wait to be seated. If you do, take it up with the hostess. It's their job to know when the server is able to take on another table and their fault if you don't get the expected service.

You should expect to wait no more than 10 minutes to see your salad and bread. Most salads in big turn around restaurants are made slightly ahead of time and takes the server no time to reach into the cooler and grab.

A note on main courses. The only problem I have with people complaining here is when they don't consider how the dish is being prepared. It's perfectly acceptable to inquire how your meal is cooked. For instance, a broiled fish dish is going to take a hell of a lot longer than some fried fish.
Fried food shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes. For baked and broiled food I'd start wondering after 45 minutes. Also, if you're ordering a steak, keep in mind the cut. Filet is going to take a while longer than a ribeye.

Oh yeah, don't worry about sending food back. It won't be treated badly. The kitchen usually rushes the order and the server should be very apologetic. The worst you can expect is it taking a bit longer than you'd like (especially if you're rude about it).


Personally, I won't wait longer than an hour for my food at an average restaurant, but I do keep an eye on the staff.
I absolutely concur. I've also worked as a server for many years and there is absolutely NO EXCUSE to have a customer wait for ten minutes before being acknowledged. I could run 6 tables at a time and still at least just let the customer know that I see them, and I'll be right with them. I really hate sitting down in a really busy restaurant and have the server deliberately ignore me because he/she is busy at the moment.

That said, the last restaurant I worked at had a couple of items that took longer to prepare than other dishes on the menu. I would make a point of mentioning this to the customer before I place the order at the kitchen. This avoids the whole "we were seated at the same time as that table over there and they already got their food" accusation.
Don't worry about sending food back. The story about staff spitting and what not in food is just urban legend.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 10:13 am
  #27  
 
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plz suggest me with some sentences for requesting customers to Waite 5 minutes

hi I'm running a local restaurant, we often face a lot of rush and most customers run out of patience quickly while waiting for their order to be served. i wish to place a notice, plz suggest me with some sentences for asking customers to Waite 5 minutes from the point of order at restaurant. How shall i write it?your quick response is highly appreciated.Thank you Sir.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 1:24 pm
  #28  
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It depends on what I've ordered, the restaurant I'm at, and how busy they are. I complained twice last year, both times when I ordered simple dishes. Usually if its simple and the place isn't mobbed, I'll complain after a half hour.

Once was at a Dave and Busters I complained after waiting 40 minutes for two pasta dishes. The second time was at a sports bar where I complained after waiting 45 minutes for a dozen wings and a meatball sub. The second place actually tried to tell me our order was "complicated", hence the wait.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 5:00 pm
  #29  
 
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One time, after ordering, I've waited for a my wife to finish her meal and the waitress to drop the check at our table without bringing my order. Granted, I was being an a$$ for not simply just asking for the waitress to check on my order (even though I'd have had to flag her down since she didn't stop by to ask how things were going after initially delivering my wife's dish) but I kind of wanted to see how it was going to play out.

Anyways, that place is no longer in business obviously.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 5:08 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Jay71
One time, after ordering, I've waited for a my wife to finish her meal and the waitress to drop the check at our table without bringing my order. Granted, I was being an a$$ for not simply just asking for the waitress to check on my order (even though I'd have had to flag her down since she didn't stop by to ask how things were going after initially delivering my wife's dish) but I kind of wanted to see how it was going to play out.

Anyways, that place is no longer in business obviously.
Originally Posted by Jay71
I once quietly waited over 25mins for my meal while my girlfriend-now-wife finished her dish. When they dropped off our check unrequested (with me still not receiving my meal and with my order on the bill mind you!) I flipped out on the waitress.

Granted, I was just being @ss because I really should have spoke up earlier but I wanted prove a point to my girlfriend who recommended this restaurant which I didn't want to go to. [Yes, she still eventually agreed to marry me. ]

same occurrence perhaps?
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