horrible restaurant experiences

Last week, the gang got together to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Seven of us met at 5:30 at a restaurant that went under new management about a year ago. Apparently they still haven’t quite figured it out yet. I had mixed feelings before I got there because I reviewed the menu online and saw lots of unhealthy words like “fried,” “cheesey,” “breaded,” and “buttered.” Normally I wouldn’t choose a place like this, but it wasn’t my choice and I didn’t want to be the debbie downer. After finally ordering drinks and receiving them 15 minutes later (water for me), we waited another half hour until we ordered our food. I decided my best option was to order the baked haddock with two sides of veggies, and request for it to be un-breaded with no butter.

We waited an hour for our food. When they finally brought out the food, our waiter told me they had breaded my haddock so he was having them “make another one really quick.” Awesome. I didn’t complain, and I didn’t bitch and moan to my friends. When my dinner came out, I wasn’t surprised to see a sad looking piece of haddock with barely cooked, cold zucchini and carrots, with one tiny baby piece of broccoli. Despite the unappetizing food, I wolfed it down because I was so hungry. I ate so fast I barely tasted it, fortunately.

We finished eating and they brought out a piece of cake for the birthday boy which was nice, but I was expecting something more since our experience was so bad. Maybe a round of drinks or some of the meals on the house. DK pulled the server aside to nicely let him know we were unhappy and expected something to be done. We asked the server to split the check, and it took him a good 20 minutes to figure out what everyone had and how it would be split up. Everyone was talking at once, it was chaotic, and he didn’t mention any discounts or offers. It was 8:30 and we still had things to do at home, so at that point we just paid off the whole tab and bolted out of there.

I’m not one to complain to a restaurant staff, but if I’m unhappy I’ll usually just bitch to DK or whoever I’m with. (I know, charming) It seems as if my positive outlook tactic has been working, because this time I was focusing on the good things. We were there to celebrate, and I didn’t want to bring everyone down further by complaining. I didn’t want to bring myself down either, so instead of getting worked up over the situation, I thought about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to go out to a resturaunt. These things happen, and there are worse things in the world. Yes, I was upset that we paid good money for a terrible meal when we had fresh food at home waiting to be cooked, but there’s nothing we could do about it.

What do you do when you have a bad experience dining out? Has this ever happened to you? Do you complain or demand a refund? What is the proper etiquette for the restaurant staff?

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