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LuckyTheDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-11 11:51 PM
Original message
Question for those in the restaurant biz (or not)
Edited on Fri Nov-25-11 11:59 PM by LuckyTheDog
If a restaurant runs out of something, should the waiter:

1) Return to the table, apologize, and offer the patron a chance to order something else; or
2) Simply substitute another dish of his choosing without warning or explanation?

On Thanksgiving (when, for the first time in years, we decided to eat out on that holiday), option #2 happened with one of our three entrees and all of our desserts.

Doesn't that seem odd?

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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. 2
I mean unless there were only 2 choices or something like that. Still I think they should have checked with the table first. (and should have known what they were out of when you ordered!)
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. OMG! I put the wrong number
:blush: :blush: :blush:

1 - I meant ONE - return and offer substitutions! sheesh, I better go to bed!
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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. #1 all the time
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 01:22 AM
Response to Original message
3. It's beyond odd. What was ordered and what was replaced?
And what did you do and how did they respond?
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LuckyTheDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. For the entree...
Edited on Sat Nov-26-11 08:57 AM by LuckyTheDog
... my son ordered trout and the waiter brought haddock.

For the desserts, we all ordered the bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. We all got bread pudding with whipped cream and no ice cream.

Each time, waiter acted like nothing was wrong. When we asked about the entree, he said "oh, well, we didn't have the trout." He figured fish was fish.

We complained to the manager, who replaced the awful haddock with turkey and comped that meal. But my son, who isn't all that much into turkey, really was looking forward to the trout.

When later we asked about the desserts (keep in mind that this was AFTER the trout/haddock fiasco and again, the waiter volunteered no information ahead of time) the waiter just said "oh, we were out of ice cream, so I replaced it with whipped cream). We were too flabbergasted to call the manager into it a second time. We ate the bread pudding as it was and got out of there.

My wife paid the bill and left a 7% tip. She's nicer than me. My tip would have been 0%.
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Chan790 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Having grown up in the restaurant trade...
it's customary to make small substitutions like this. That said, I'm so glad I'm no longer a restaurant-worker.

The haddock for the trout is a bit iffy because those fish are not alike and haddock is not in my opinion a quality fish. I'd have come back to the table and offered to change the order to something else or his choice on substitutions of fish. Trout is hard to sub for.

The bread pudding? I'd have done the same, but in light of the earlier issue, I'd might have comped one of them. How does one run out of ice cream anyways? The few times this happened I sent the worst busser on a raiding mission to the grocery with a $20 and orders to return with 2gal. of premium vanilla ice cream and a receipt.

If you'd ever left any of my servers a 7% tip though without at-least conversing with me as to cause, I'd have refused to serve you in the future. They're family and I've never had issues filling tables. Those are kitchen issues, not service issues, and you just stiffed some kid on a decision that he probably didn't make and was sent out like the good soldier to face the public on. This is why in part I'd rather eliminate tipping and raise prices/wages.
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LuckyTheDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. No, this was no "kid"...
Edited on Sat Nov-26-11 09:55 AM by LuckyTheDog
He seemed to be about 30ish. And he knew what he was doing. What I did not add was how he ignored us unless we actively sought out his attention. He spent a good amount of his time trying to solicit some kind of letter or recommendation from the folks at the table behind us. Networking and job-seeking has a time and a place. Thanksgiving dinner is not it.

We also were seated in a kind of secluded room, near the wait station, even though other tables were available. We were ignored (nobody brought water or bread or took drink orders) until I got up and asked for help. Whether any of this is related to the fact that we were the only party in sight that included an African American, I can't say for sure. But it occurred to me.

I'd be thrilled if that waiter refused to serve me in the future. If the restaurant refused service to my family, I'd sue them in a heartbeat. But more than likely, I won't be back.

I expect better from a place that charges $32 for an entree!

And yes, there were several convenience stores open within easy driving range of the restaurant. I am sure one of them would have had vanilla ice cream in stock.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. You had a bad waiter
It happens, even in the best of places.

Kitchens do run out of items but even a mediocre waiter will take the time to come by your table and give you that news (and substitution options) before the plates come out.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. I'm surprised that haddock is not considered a quality fish
I've only had it once, on a trip to New Hampshire, and it was the most delicious fish I ever had (and I live in the Pacific Northwest where I've had salmon fresh from the ocean within an hour of catch). Fried haddock -- mmmmm. My mother who was transplanted from Connecticut to PNW always yearned for haddock.

We can't get it here. Not fresh, not frozen.

So ? Is your opinion common?
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Chan790 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. No, I was saying I don't think it's a high-quality fish.
It's plenty pricy and it can be done well, but I just think it's not a good fish. It's my opinion. I don't know that it's a common one...a lot of chefs hate tilapia which I think is awesome.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. interesting
I would never eat tilapia. I don't eat any fish that isn't North American.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. But isn't it up to the server to acknowledge such an obvious substitution as whipped vs. ice cream?
I understand that the kitchen may be running out of stuff and to many customers such a substitute would be fine but it's weirdly lacking in service ethos to pretend nothing had changed. Given a choice some diners may have opted for a different dessert or for the pudding without any adornment. It is a service issue even if it was caused by a kitchen issue. FWIW though I agree with you about eliminating tipping or at the very least raising wages and making tips optional.

Haddock is a great fish but I can see how it could be a pain for a restaurant kitchen. It does have a tendency to break apart.
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LuckyTheDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. I might have gotten the bread pudding anyway
But in my wife's case, she was more interested in the ice cream part of the dessert. She might have skipped dessert if given s head's up. But again, by that time, we just wanted to get going.
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we can do it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #17
29. It Is the Server's Job -Attitudey and Inattentive or Not
and no if you do not do your job you do not deserve to be paid.
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A Simple Game Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
19. I didn't "grow up in the restaurant trade", but I have eaten in almost
every type of restaurant there is in the USA, and never, even in the lowliest dive did they substitute without permission.

Never! Nor should they, besides taste issues, there could be health and allergy issues. Substitutions are not always obvious. Mistakes are sometimes made and when pointed out are always corrected or compensated if necessary.

Treat me like the OP was treated and you wouldn't have had to refuse to serve me in the future, you wouldn't ever get the chance. Nor would your server get a 7% tip. One complaint was lodged with the manager, per post number 5, how many complaints do we get before it is OK in your mind to lower the tip? The waiter should have been ecstatic with 7%, he had received two complaints from the same table.

And no, those are not kitchen issues, I don't talk to the kitchen staff. They are service issues and you damn well learn it fast if you are living on tips!
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we can do it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #19
30. This Person Who Paid Their Way Thru College Serving Agrees 100%
I also hated it when others shitty servers' tables had to flag you down constantly because shitty server was standing around talking and ignoring their tables....they were also the first ones to complain if they were tipped poorly....
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A Simple Game Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. I have seen that happen too often. Thanks for the response. n/t
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #6
22. Your opinion about haddock is bizarre. Refusing service over a 7% tip is bizarre.
"They're family and I've never had issues filling tables" is a bizarre non-sequitur.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchS...
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we can do it Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
28. Those Are Not Small Substitutions, Good Thing You Got Out
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
9. As a former waitress it pays to be professional and most restaurants are
The patron should either be offered something else or outright given something else free. It's the restaurant's fault if it runs out of something and it's the restaurant's responsibility to admit it.

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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
10. It's possible your order was mixed up with someone elses.
Did you ask about it? Sometimes mistakes happen.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. No.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
11. definitely seems odd
I've never had that happened to me. I've had kitchens run out of things, but always been given a heads-up by the waiter, usually with some substitution options.
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madmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. Definitely #1 if I ordered something and they gave me something else in
place of it, I don't feel I have to pay for something I didn't order. I would not eat it either. There might be a reason that particular item was ordered. ALWAYS inform and offer a substitution. If on the other hand they offer a substitution and it's agreeable to me, yes I would take it.
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WillParkinson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
15. No-Brainer...
Edited on Sat Nov-26-11 01:16 PM by WillParkinson
3) Give you something and tell you to like it or lump it.

Definitely #1. Anything else is a slap in the face to our customers.

On edit: Yes, your wife was way too nice. When we make mistakes where I work (especially if it's a bad one) I refuse the tip altogether.
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
16. #1, because if he resorts to #2, I'm not paying for what HE wants me to eat.
You need to send a letter to the owner or management of that restaraunt about your experience; that waiter will chase far more customers away who will never say a thing about shoddy, indifferent service, they'll just never go back...AND TELL 100 OTHER PEOPLE WHY THEY WON'T!
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
21. NEVER Option 2!!!!!!!
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era veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 07:53 PM
Response to Original message
24. Running out of stuff can happen but should be anticipated
and communicated to the wait staff from the kitchen. That could be a management function. I have impressed on my staff to tell a manager if they are low on anything. I have run to the grocery for people for stuff that wasn't on the menu.
Never haddock for trout, too dumb for words. The server would take up legendary status for dumb.
Tell the customer you have no ice-cream. Don't assume that anything with some of the same letters is what the guest wants.
Not trying to be too hard but this is what I do. Lots of unprofessional people in the hospitality world.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-26-11 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
25. Let me giess how often you'll return to THAT place.
0
And how many times you will recommend it to friends?
0
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 02:07 AM
Response to Original message
26. #2, WTF? I have never had that happen to me
they always return/apologize/explain any alternatives
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. maybe that's because they've heard about the ass kickings, hon n/t
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TorchTheWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
32. #1 always
People pay for what they eat. The waiter is in no position to decide what is going to be paid for.

It's very odd that the waiter made substitutions he decided on and with no permission. Did you complain to the waiter at least? You should have complained to both the waiter and the management if this is what happened.

However, it could simply be that the waiter just got the order wrong and thought he was serving what was ordered. Since you haven't mentioned what you did about the incident there's no way of knowing. I'm far more inclined to think that the waiter just got the order wrong and thought he was serving what was ordered. It happens.


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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
33. I've worked for the airlines since 1989, but before that I did food service.
And I would NEVER assume to substitute something our restaurant had run out of without checking on the patron first. It's not only common courtesy, but we lived by our tips, why put that in jeopardy?

Your waiter obviously had confrontation issues. Some people don't like telling folks they can't get what they want, but if that's the case, get another job more suited to your personality! Sorry you had that experience, and I hope the manager talked some sense into your server.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-27-11 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
34. Disappear for over an hour in search of the item
When I was a kid, we went to a restaurant that had eggplant parmesean as the special. After over an hour at a restaurant that did not appear busy at the time, our food finally came. The waiter said that is because they ran out of eggplant and the first three grocery stores that he went to, which were the closest, did not have it.
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