Monday, November 8, 2010

Your rights as a customer

I was thinking about this the last time I was at a restaurant: I was ordering a steak and requested that it be cooked a certain way and while doing so, my wife indicated that if it was cooked incorrectly, I should send it back.  It was an interesting thought:  When was the last time you have ever sent anything back to the kitchen?

I have never done so, myself as I always thought it was just something that they do on TV or in the movies.  Furthermore, I figured that if I did send some dish back to the kitchen or even complain more to a manager or waiter, it would only further infuriate a chef or cook and they may sabotage my food.  It can happen and I sometimes worry about it.

Think of it like this: a menu is a list of offers. When you chose to order something, you are agreeing with the offers that are on the menu.  When you agree, you are saying that you will pay so much money as long as the restaurant keeps their side of the offer, which usually is that the food is served as explained and cooked the way you suggest.  When you order that item, you are confirming that you have accepted an offer and when the restaurant takes the order and bills you for it, they are further agreeing to the offer, making a solid agreement or verbal contract.

But, just as celebrities and business people can break contracts, restaurants can as well. If you order a steak, a 9 ounce before cooking weight Angus steak that is cooked medium well and you get something different, you are allowed to send it back.  I have had several dishes that were bad enough to send back but wanted to point out that the server or cook did something wrong when they chose to serve it.  If it wasn't even made from an Angus cow, you technically have a right to send it back.  If it tasted bad enough that it was not cooked right or made you spit it out, you could even ask for your money back.

Now, how would I feel in the same situation? If I was in a restaurant and I had did something wrong or prepared something not as I had displayed it as such, I would be at fault for it and if someone had sent it back to me after I had sent it out, I would have taken full responsibility for it.  While I worked at Old Country Buffet/Home Town Buffet, I came across several instances where people would complain about different dishes.  Maybe they said that the fried chicken was still raw or the soup was too salty.  I had to know how everything was supposed to taste and every once in a while, the food was too salty.  I'd go back to that complaining customer and let them know that the food was bad or wrong and we are fixing it now.  If they were really complaining, sometimes we would have to give them their money back or even offer free meal passes.

In conclusion, you have a right to pay for what you want.  Remember, the customer is always right.  I know that most restaurants don't announce this motto but it is true and still true today.  If you order something and it tastes off, most restaurants will take it right back and serve you up another one, they will call a 're-do' and get it to you without complaints.  I will even learn from my own advice and the next time I take a bite of a dish that makes me spit it out, I will send it back, before punishing the restaurant as a whole.

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