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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 Feb 2, 2011, 5:20 pm
  #31  
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Originally Posted by kipper
There have been times I've considered getting up and getting my own drink refills. In your experiences, how do the servers react to that?
Not servicing drinks is generally what will rile me into poor tipping. And I really hate tipping poorly.

Originally Posted by jackal
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.
I can think of twice that I've sent back food. Once at a finer dining place because my clam chowder had chunks of flour in it, and once at a chain type place because my chicken sandwich had been WAY overseasoned and the fries were burnt.

I would expect at a nicer restaurant, if I'd left my food mostly untouched, that they would ASK if anything was wrong.

I've done after the fact complaining before, but I've found that if I don't take care of it right then, I'll more than likely just not return.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 5:33 pm
  #32  
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Here is my take on this sutuation:

1. I would wait 5-10 minutes to be greeted after I am seated. If the place is busy, the server can quickly say "Hi, I will be back in a minute to take your drink order." After people are initially acknowledged they generally become more patient as they know they have been noticed and someone is coming back.

2. Waiting on the main dish is directly related to how hungry I am If starving, 30 minutes seems like eternity. If not and engaged in conversation, I barely notice the time. At any rate, I don't see anything wrong in politely asking the server to "check on my order" if it feels like it's been a while. Time flies much quicker for busy servers and sometimes they don't realize how much time has passed. A question like this usually prompts them to check with the kitchen and try to expedite the order.

3. If there is anything wrong with the food - not cooked properly, wrong item, etc, I would most certainly point it out to the server immediately. This gives the restaurant a chance to correct the situation. Things can go wrong and a lot of times guests' impressions will be formed on how the place recovers, not on the initial issue. If you wait until the end, then is too late for them to do anything and IMO is a loose-loose situation, as the diner is leaving unhappy and the restaurant has to comp meals.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 5:40 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by missydarlin

I would expect at a nicer restaurant, if I'd left my food mostly untouched, that they would ASK if anything was wrong.
I agree and I think this question should be asked at any type of place if you haven't eaten most of your food. Sometimes the answer is simply "I was too full" but other times something is wrong. Not only that but the server should check shortly after the meal is served to make sure everything is to your linking/cooked properly, etc not at the end of the meal when it's too late.
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Old Feb 2, 2011, 7:48 pm
  #34  
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Depends on the kind of restaurant. Quick service, family-oriented? The meal better hit the table within 15-20 minutes of ordering. Fancy French? I expect it to take a while, given that the table is mine for the night.
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Old Feb 3, 2011, 12:55 am
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by missydarlin
same occurrence perhaps?
lol. Too funny. I thought I posted that story already. I actually skimmed thru the previous posts but apparently missed my original story. Darn old posts reincarnated!
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Old Feb 5, 2011, 12:20 am
  #36  
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Depends on the situation, but for me these are my limits during which a restaurant is:

Quiet: 30 min
Fairly Busy: 45 min
Overly Busy: 1 hr
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Old Feb 6, 2011, 5:47 am
  #37  
 
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A few months ago my husband and I waited an hour at a chain steakhouse for our main order. We had received salad and bread already. At one point I saw the waitress go past and I asked her if our order was on its way. She smiled and said that she would check, and then she deposited extra bread that she had been carrying, and she went on her way, in a direction away from the kitchen, and, I thought, to an area that seemed to lead only outside.

A table a few feet from ours seemed also to be having problems. Several waiters converged on it, and it appeared the family was regiving its order.

We waited. I was in favor of telling a manager, but my husband insisted that we wait.

Finally I was so starving that I was either going to complain to the manager or else I was considering doing something unsociable with the cutlery, or at least with the knife.

I went to the cashier's stand and explained the problem. Manager appeared and explained that it was the first day the waitress had worked there and that she had simply walked off the job. He said they would comp our meal (not that we cared, I simply wanted food ), and that they would get it to us as fast as possible, and a team of waiters retook our order and made sure we got our meal.

They were nice people. I assured them that we would return for other meals.

That night, beginning about 6 or 7 p.m., I was ill with the worst case of abdominal pain I have ever had, accompanied by chills. I thought the restaurant must have served us something it had sitting too long, in order to get us food promptly. Husband said he felt somewhat ill, but I was up throwing up (please forgive me for mentioning that) and he didn't have that problem, nor did he have the severe pain.

By about 3 or 4 a.m., the pain vanished.

I thought I probably had a duty to report the incident of food poisoning to the health department but didn't have the heart to, since the manager had been so apologetic and so nice. Flame if you wish, since I neglected my duty as a watchful citizen.

In December, a month ago, I had several sporadic and similar episodes of pain, enough so that I began to realize that it was not food poisoning. Am scheduled for surgery now, for a medical problem common among the, ah, middle-aged, not serious, but known for being very painful.

But to return to the topic of the thread: Yes, we waited for an hour, would probably still be waiting if husband had prevailed, but because I had access to a steakknife ("I know how to use this, DH, so you'd better let me notify the manager our meal is late!" ), we finally got our meal.

Am so glad I didn't report the restaurant and the nice manager.
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Old Feb 6, 2011, 6:21 am
  #38  
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Seems to me management should have been proactive
and retaken the orders before being asked.

btw, the immediately preceding meal is likely not to
have been the cause of a case of food poisoning.
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Old Feb 6, 2011, 7:37 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by violist
Seems to me management should have been proactive
and retaken the orders before being asked.

btw, the immediately preceding meal is likely not to
have been the cause of a case of food poisoning.

You might or might not be right about management, but I really didn't think to blame them, and I still wouldn't. Life involves a bit of inconvenience along the way.

My purpose in posting was a little bit of light humor about an incident which was not funny at the time, as well as a statement that it is wise not to jump to conclusions about accusations of food poisoning. Anyhow, thanks--.

Incidentally, not to correct you, but in the event that others might find themselves ill after a meal sometimes and wonder what caused it, the following might be of help.

Per first link, the onset of food poisoning could be as little as six hours.

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/foodsa...oisoning.shtml

(That would be approximately consistent with the time that my symptoms began, since we had arrived at the restaurant about 11 or 11:30 a.m. and probably had left by 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. at the latest, and since I didn't actually glance at a clock the moment my symptoms began.)

The following site lists 1-6 hours, with a mean of 2-4 hours, for a foodborne staph illness that shows up in a Google search using terms of vomiting, abdominal pain, and prostration--all of which conditions, including the last, I can attest to.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/F.../ucm071342.htm

Not that I thought at the time to Google as to how long it would take between food ingestion and symptoms. Or that I should have been Googling for other causes of pain.
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Old Feb 6, 2011, 1:56 pm
  #40  
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The time lag "could be" as little approximately zero. But
there are many meals that could be in the range of suspicion.
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Old Feb 6, 2011, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by violist
The time lag "could be" as little approximately zero. But
there are many meals that could be in the range of suspicion.
I understand your point now. If a person had several meals that might have been of doubtful sanitation, the last one would not have been the only one suspect.

In my case, it was just the one meal. I am not considering the home sandwiches, with meats by Hormel and cheeses by Kraft (oh, the gourmet life! ), nor Lay's potato chips, nor diet Coca Cola, that preceded the steakhouse, to have been potential suspects.

Then there were the TV dinners. . . . . . . .
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Old Feb 7, 2011, 12:09 pm
  #42  
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You can often narrow it down by taking what you have eated, how long, and what type of poisoning would typically be associated with the product as well.

E.g. cold meats, deli cheese etc - Listeria, more than 3 days, flu like symptoms, stomach cramps etc.

Potato chips - salmonella (yes, rare, but happens!), 6-72 hours (can also be instant to a month later, but 6-72 hours is typical), vomiting etc.

Diet Coke - Leptospirosis (not from the coke, but from the bottle / can that was stored in a rat infested warehouse etc. again rare!) - jaundice, fever, etc. 2-30 days.

Pretty much any food can be contaminated either when it is growing, when it is processed, or when it is served. Often when food poisoning occurs, it is nothing to do with the restaurant serving the food, but further back in the production process (eg meat contaminated at the slaughter house is more common than in the restaurant kitchen).
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Old Feb 7, 2011, 12:23 pm
  #43  
 
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The upper the scale of the beanery, the shorter my fuse. When I expect to drop $200 plus for two, the service had better be near perfect.

I will give a break to a new place with unpracticed staff.

Dining in DC I pretty much stay with upscale. The same clowns that leave the roads a national disgrace also run the city health inspectors. I count on upscale to not poison me.

The only upscale joint in DC for which I'd complain about service is Jaleo. To the celebrity chef Jose Andres, I must quote Paddy Chayefsky, "It isn't relaxed continental atmosphere, it's lousy service."

Oh, I always contribute a review on Open Table, AADvantage or wherever I made the reservation. I heap praise or scorn as deserved. Upscale joints check on customers' reservations. I want the "Always Reviews" flag set on my res.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 2:17 am
  #44  
 
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I usually abide by a 10/30 rule. 10 minutes to be acknolwedged by wait staff. 30 minutes from order placed with wait staff for food.
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Old Feb 12, 2011, 2:42 pm
  #45  
 
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Depends on the type of restaurant for me. If it's something like B Dubs then I will wait at least 20-30 minutes depending how busy it is. Since I'm on a college campus it tends to be busy on game days so I may be patient for a bit longer. I really hate tipping poorly too but if the service and wait time is that bad then I will have no other choice but to leave a measly tip.
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