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Pancake on plate

Complaining in a restaurant

Whether you're dining in Maccy-D's or The Ritz, eating in a restaurant means you're entitled to a good standard of service and food quality. But when things aren't quite right, do you complain?

Service in British restaurants can be pretty terrible sometimes and things aren't going to improve unless we say something about it. So here's your guide to complaining in a restaurant.

Complaining in a restaurant

Don't sit there and accept bad food or service. Making a complaint will mean you'll receive a better standard and ensure value for money.

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Restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, butgood manners should come as standard. If the waiting staff are rude or unhelpful it's completely unacceptable. You should hold off from firing any immediate insults and politely ask to see the manager at the end of the meal to explain the situation. Tipping will be completely out of the question, even if the food was orgasmic.

Waiting for your food

Waiting for your meal can be an arduous task when your stomach is crying out for food. If you've beenhanging onfor a considerable amount of time you should call over your waiter and enquire into the estimated time of arrival. If they are unsure politely ask them to check with the kitchen staff. If you're given an unsatisfactory answer, you're perfectly within your rights to cancel your order, pay for any drinks and anything else that you've ordered and hit the road. If you're willing to wait consider reducing the tip when it comes to paying the bill.

Make sure you're satisfied

When your meal arrives, check it's what you ordered. Make sure it's hot if it supposed to be and hasn't got anything in there that shouldn't be. If your meal contains any undeclared ingredients that you dislike or are allergic to, then politely request the meal to be taken back and re-order. Most restaurants will happily comply and only charge you for one meal, but it's worth checking to avoid an inflated bill.

Don't wait until the end of the meal before you say something, be assertive and make sure you get what you pay for.

If you discover something gross in your food, like a hair or something even worse, then you're completely within your rights to refuse to pay for the meal. Some restaurants will offer a complimentary meal or a discount on your food.

Meaty question

Uncooked meats should also be returned to the kitchen and fully cooked. If you've ordered a steak and it's been undercooked, this can be rectified by a trip back to the grill, whilst an overcooked steak should be redone. If it's white meat then you're entitled to ask for a new meal.

If you become ill after a few days because of food poisoning, you should contact the restaurant to inform them of your illness.

Get your complaint heard

If you're going to complain in a restaurant you shoulddo it straight away. Most establishments will happily resolve any complaints with minimum fuss. Don't wait until the end of the meal before you say something, be assertive and make sure you get what you pay for. Complaining can be embarrassing, but as long as you remember to be polite and not aggressive, you should be treated with respect.

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Updated: 17/10/2011

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