We Shouldn’t Have to Pay for That

February 24, 2017

in Diner Stories

What do you mean we have to pay for the food that we ordered?

What do you mean that you’re not going to comp us for our own ignorance in thinking we had to pay for the food we ordered?  

You’re supposed to give us free food out of fear of being Yelped about, aren’t you?

Those words weren’t the verbatim words spoken, but it seemed to convey the mentality of a table of stereotypical millennial kids that we had one night. I am a millennial, myself. And I think that it’s because of people like these that our generation gets the rep that we do.

I work in the kitchen. I heard the server’s and manager’s version and also read the kids’ Yelp review version. And each version is just as ridiculous as the other.

There were two servers waiting on the table of 12 that was celebrating a birthday.  Apparently, one of the servers had asked if they’d like to add a salad with their meal. The other server asked, “Would you like salad A or salad B?”  Apparently, the wording from the second server implied to the kids that salad was included with the meal.

When the other half realizes that the others were not getting salads because they didn’t want to pay extra, they then realize that they’d have to pay for it. Wow… paying a separate fee for an appetizer. What are restaurants going to start charging for next? And it’s not like the entrees listed anything in the likes that the dishes come with a “choice of salad A or salad B.” The choices of salads are under a separate category, under “Appetizers.”

When the birthday girl demanded that the salads be comped for being presented with incorrect wording by the second server, the manager gets called out.

“Well, usually in restaurants, the salad comes with the meal,” they tell the manager.

“Not in fine dining!” the manager yells at them. In one of the Yelp reviews, apparently, the group was made to feel as if the manager’s tone implied that they had never dined at a “fine dining” establishment to know what is customary.

I wish I could have been there with a bag of popcorn to watch this whole thing unravel. They are then told that they can either stay and pay or that the cops were going to be called on them.

Furious they couldn’t score free food, the table of twelve gets up and walks out. The nerve of the restaurant not handing out free appetizers, right?

A couple of days later, I log into Yelp to find a few different one-starred reviews from some of the people from the group, all telling their version of the story. I think most can agree that the reviewers are only making themselves look stupid for thinking that they actually had to pay for a dish they ordered.

@behgopa

My blog: Behgopa

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

MartinB105 March 3, 2017 at 3:24 am

That second server screwed up and the customers were absolutely correct. Here's why:

Many restaurants offer meals that include choices to make, which are not necessarily explicitly stated on the menu. For example:

If I order minced beef pie, I might be asked: "Would you like chips or mashed potatoes?"
If I order a steak, I might be asked: "Would you like vegetables or salad?"
If I order chicken tikka masala, I might be asked: "Would you like rice or naan bread?"
If I order crispy chill beef, I might be asked: "Would you like noodles or rice?"

etc. etc. You get the idea, and these situations are very common.

While the answer to such a question could technically be "No", the implication is of such phrasing is that the customer is generally expected to make a choice of one out of the two items being offered rather than declining both. If I order a meal and I'm asked "Would you like X or Y?", this strongly implies to me that this choice is included in the meal.

Going back to my examples above, I'd have every right to complain if I ordered a steak and then got told the vegetables I had chose cost extra. Likewise if I ordered the minced beef pie and was told the mashed potatoes were charged extra. etc.

The exact same applies here: The salad was implied to be inclusive with the main meal by the phrasing of the question and therefore the customers have every right to complain when it turns out that it was not included.

The question should have been phrased to make it explicitly clear that the salad is extra, which is exactly what the first server did. It sounds to me like the second server may be inexperienced, and phrased the question poorly as a result. You can't blame the customers for his mistake.

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niheise1 March 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm

I totally agree with you. If the server asked me "Would you like Salad A or Salad B" I would assume that the salad was included in the meal. As a former server, we goof up, and sometimes as customers we goof up too not realizing that something is included or not.
If I was in that situation I probably would have just paid and not complained. Its really not the end of the world….however they had a right to ask what was up especially since the way the second server interpreted it. Yes they over exaggerated but they weren't wrong to question/get upset.

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