(Disclaimer: Spitting in food is a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE thing to do. I do not condone it, nor encourage it. This list is offered as a cautionary tale from a long time server.)
Number 10: Don’t order multiple drinks
Multiple drinks drive servers crazy. Some of the most annoying people I’ve ever waited on have asked me to bring them a water, a coke (for example), an alcoholic beverage, and a coffee or, god forbid, a HOT TEA. Four drinks, one person. I swear, its happens.
Allow me to explain why this is annoying to an efficient server. Efficient servers work very hard to make every footstep they take count. The reason some servers seem calm and comfortable and others seem out of control is a God given gift to visualize the most efficient way to accomplish the tasks before them. When someone orders multiple beverages that require trips to different parts of the restaurant, it slows efficient servers down. Servers typically deal with one drink per person. Multiple drink orders double or triple the time it takes for the server to prepare your beverages. Multiply this out over several tables and customers per night and, suddenly, an efficient server is playing catch up.
Asking a server to time beverages is even worse. About once a week a customer would ask me to bring a coffee with dinner or a glass of milk with dessert. About 50% of the time I would forget. Servers don’t think about bringing drinks after they have already brought you drinks. It’s not in the natural progression of serving a table.
In my experience, people ask for multiple drinks because, in the past, they have been waited on by slow, inefficient servers who never get around to refilling their drinks. I sympathize with this reality. Some servers are slow and ordering two drinks ensures you have enough of your tasty beverage for the entire meal. All I can tell you is that ordering multiple beverages is sometimes enough to push an imbalanced or stressed out server over the edge. I recommend against it.
Number 9: Order Food to Go
Number 9: Order Food to Go
Number 9 of the “Top
If you haven’t thought about the trust you, as a consumer, put in complete strangers when you go out to eat (and especially when you order food to go) maybe it’s time you start. Everyone has occasionally ordered food to go. In my case, it’s usually on my way home from work on a Friday night. I’ll stop at a local restaurant and order dinner to go. The food is usually wrapped in plastic containers with various condiments in styrofoam cups. Easy and convenient right?
Here are three facts about to go orders:
1) Often times, when you order something to go, you are dealing with a bartender or a host. Bartenders and hosts hate to go orders. They are time consuming and there is very little financial incentive to ensure accuracy and freshness. Many customers do not tip the server/host/bartender who packages the to go order. Those who do tip usually leave four or five percent. Servers, in general, have an unrealistic self worth. We always think we deserve twenty percent tips. However, four or five percent on a to go order barely makes it worth doing. To go orders often have complicated requests to boot. For example, one customer demanded I provide all eight salad dressings the restaurant carried for her salad in styrofoam ramekins. EIGHT. How could one person possibly use that much dressing? I can understand two different dressings, but eight? That boarders on anti-social behavior. This particularly customer left me a 23 cent tip. These types of requests were not uncommon.
Packaging even the simplest to go order can be difficult. Packaging liquid (and in some cases hot soup) may even expose you to legal liabilities as McDonald’s learned several years ago with hot coffee which was, surprisingly, hot. Ensuring the food looks presentable creates even more problems. One of the Steakhouse’s most popular dishes was an impressive two foot rack of barbeque ribs that cost around $20. It looked great… on a plate. To package this meal to go, it required breaking the ribs into thirds and portioning them into three large to go boxes. Not too pretty for $20. People have even asked me to package ice cream to go on more than one occasion. Americans are capitalists. We will work harder when we can potentionaly make more money due to our efforts. The financial incentives of to go orders brings me to my next point.
2) To go orders usually sit around for a long time. When a host or bartender takes a to go order (usually over the phone), they almost always over estimate how much time it will take to cook the meals and package them for carry out. The result? Your meal sits around waiting for you. This is done to make the server/bartender’s life easier. It ensures your food will be ready when you arrive at the restaurant to claim your order. Obviously, your food’s freshness is the victim.
3) To this point, if you were going to mistreat, or spit, in a customer’s food, wouldn’t you rather do it to someone who is not going to be closely examining their meal in the actual restaurant? Most people do not inspect their meal when they pick up their to go order. This usually does not occur until the food is back wherever the customer is going to eat it. 99.9% of to go orders are handled hygienically. My point is that if you were inclined to spit in someone’s food for some despicable reason, to go orders would be a likely candidate.
Number 8: Complicate the ordering process
I worked in a small corporate chain restaurant for seven years that specialized in steak, seafood, and a general family atmosphere. In those seven years I witnessed countless menu changes. To customers, these menu changes sometimes seemed random and were almost always unexpected. For example, about five years ago the corporation decided to remove the “chop steak” from their menu. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a chop steak, it is basically ground beef seared on a flat top grill and served with onions. So basically, it’s a hamburger without the bun. Personally, I would rather just have a hamburger. However, dozens of people everyday ordered the chop steak in my restaurant. This essentially made the chop steak our most popular “steak” Chop steak was listed with the other steaks the restaurant offered like filets, rib-eyes, prime rib, etc. It was the cheapest of the “steaks” we offered and this may have had something to do with its popularity.
One day, out of the blue, the chop steak was removed from the menu. For about a month, after several people, everyday, would look for their favorite Steak House “steak” only to be disappointed when they realized it was no longer offered on the menu. Similarly, a year or two later, the corporation decided it would no longer allow hamburgers to be ordered at a “rare” temperature. Again, several people everyday would be disappointed with this seemingly arbitrary decision.
The reason I lead with this observation is because corporate restaurants, even small chains, don’t change their menu arbitrarily at all. Menu decisions are actually taken very seriously. These decisions about the chop steak and the rare hamburgers were undoubted made after consulting the marketplace through research and test runs in test markets before the change was made chain wide. The menu is the menu for a reason. It might be purely profit driven. Changes to the menu might be simple cooking logistics. You can disagree with the logic of the decisions that are made, I know I often did, but they are made for a reason in the corporation’s mind.
Generally speaking, restaurants create a menu with specific items on it ensure their customers efficiently receive high quality meals. A restaurant menu is essentially a “contract” between store and customer. The restaurant can provide the items on the menu for a specific price. The customer can choose any of these items and expect them to be prepared efficiently and with care. Without this contract, restaurants would be slow, inefficient places. Imagine if you could walk into a restaurant and order anything you wanted? It would be complete chaos. Restaurants couldn’t prepare for the meal cycle. They would literally need to stock every type of food and ingredient. Obviously a menu ensures that restaurants can specialize in specific tasks and foods. It is a simple economic concept. To this point, complicating the ordering process through extreme special requests is contrary to the basic principle of business.
Asking for dressing on the side or no for mayonnaise on your hamburger is not a violation of this “contract” in my opinion. Those are simple and reasonable requests. Personally speaking, I rarely make any special requests on my food. I like specific types of food. I don’t go to restaurants that offer foods I don’t like or want to change. Most people are the same way. However, there is a select group of people in this world who want their food prepared exactly how they like it at all times. I blame Burger King and their “Your Way, Right Away” slogan. In my opinion, people who except their meal to be exactly how they want it to be are always going to be disappointed. Going out to eat is about trying new foods, finding new favorites, and enjoying the company of others. It is not about ordering a cook to prepare your food as you would prepare it at your home. If that is your idea of a dining experience, my advice would be to prepare your own food for yourself at your home.
For example, the restaurant I worked in prepared all seafood in a pineapple/soy marinade. It wasn’t my favorite but thousands of people over my seven years absolutely adored the combination. In my experience, about 90% of the people who tried it said they would try it again. About once a month a customer would ask if we could prepare seafood without the marinade, an impossible request. The server would inevitably explain that Salmon, Shrimp, and other seafood items marinade for hours and the restaurant does not prepare un-marinaded seafood. To compound the matter, seafood was shipped to the restaurant frozen. The cooks would literally need thirty to forty minutes to prepare an un-maridaded meal of seafood at a level of quality that fit our standards. I would consider this an extreme hardship on a kitchen designed for efficiently produced high quality meals.
These types of requests lead to stressed out servers, angry cooks, and exasperated managers. Three unwelcome factors if you are looking to avoid getting your food spit in.
Number 7 and 6:
Don’t be a jerk about your wait time
Don’t blame your server for your miserable day.
There are two things a restaurant can’t do anything about no matter how experienced the server might be, how well the food is prepared, or how efficient the kitchen is: control how many people walk in the restaurant’s door and stop your day from being miserable. We simply have no power in those realms. To this point, complaining about the wait or taking your miserable day out on your server are two sure fire ways to ensure your restaurant experience is below your expectations.
As the saying goes, “you will get more flies with honey rather than vinegar.” The same can be said in restaurants. Servers make more money (through tips) when they are pleasant, efficient, and generally understanding. On the other hand, customers will receive better service when they respond in kind. Human nature is to respond to feedback, whether that feedback is positive or negative.
Both positive and negative feedback garner significant reactions in the restaurant industry. Say, for example, you are a customer in a restaurant who isn’t receiving the service you would like. You are infinitely more likely to leave a smaller tip. On the other hand, a server is much more likely to be attentive to your needs when you treat them like human beings.
When I was a server I would work a lot harder for the friendly, pleasant tables I waited on. I am a capitalist. I believe in the motivating power of incentives. I knew, subconsciously, that friendly people are more likely to leave larger tips when compared to nasty curmudgeons. Tables that make me more money are going to get more of my attention. On the other hand, I might write off a nasty and confrontational table as a bad tip in progress. What is my incentive to bend over backwards for a table that’s not going to reward my efforts with a reasonable tip? In this scenario I chose to allocate more of my time to the friendly table.
Generally speaking, being a jerk to the people you encounter as a customer in a restaurant will ensure poor service and, possibly, spit in your food if you run into the wrong person. As I have mentioned previously, when a restaurant runs a wait to be seated, there is almost always a really good reason for it. You will, occasionally, run into a restaurant that is not being run efficiently and the wait is caused by human error. If you think you are in this type of situation, my advice is to find a different place to eat. A long wait for a table might be the least of your concerns by the time your meal is over. However, if a restaurant asks you to wait for a table, and it’s obviously a busy night, tough it out and enjoy the company of the people you will be eating with. When a restaurant runs a wait they are essentially telling you that, at that moment, there are more people who want tables then there are tables to give them, servers to serve them, and cooks to prepare their food. Constantly badgering the hosts and bartenders about the wait time will only accomplish one thing 100% of the time: it will identify you as an impatient and rude individual. I guarantee if the hosts had the power to seat everyone on the wait instantly they would. It is a lot more work for hosts to run a wait than it is to just bring customers to their tables. Identifying yourself as an impatient and rude individual is the last thing you want to do in a restaurant when you are implicitly trusting the staff to treat your food with respect. Show some respect to get some.
To this point, we all have miserable days. I remember, on one particularly shift in the restaurant, I was asked to clean up a little girl’s urine. In my opinion, cleaning up another person’s urine gives you the right to feel like you’re having a bad day. More about that in a future post. We all have ways of dealing with these pressures. Some of us rant to our loved ones. Some of us bottle it up inside. Some of us release these tensions by taking it out on everyone around them. If you know you are one of the latter, my advice is to avoid restaurants when you are feeling the need to decompress. It can only get you into trouble. Servers are far more sensitive than we should be. Many of us focus on perceived injustices that have been forced upon us, whether they exist or not. Treating your server to match your day is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you generally treat your server like your day has been you will, eventually, run into a waiter who will make your day even worse.
Number 5: Take care of your children.
I am a father of two young children but, long before I had babies, I knew a few things about parenting. Specifically, what not to do with young children in restaurants. How you might ask? Well, lets just say I learned from the mistakes of others.
As a long time server in a small chain Steak House I waited on, literally, thousands of families. Most of these families were friendly, polite, and generally pleasant to be around. Even crying babies or generally loud/excited children didn’t really faze me. Sure, a screaming baby isn’t fun to listen to, but that’s what small babies do best. They eat, poop, sleep, and cry. Hang around a baby long enough and you will see, smell, or hear something you don’t want to. The Steak House I worked in specialized in creating a family environment. The Steak House mailed thousands of free meal coupons on birthdays; many to young children. As I said, this never really bothered me. However, what did bother me was the horrible parenting I was forced to witness on a nightly basis at the Steak House. Some people, truly, should not be allowed to breed. Although I could write an entirely separate book on bad parenting courtesy of my customers, there are three things that really set me off.
1) Please do not ask your server to heat up your baby’s food/bottle/apple sauce/etc.
As a father of twins, I think I have some credibility on the topic of efficient parenting. Beyond the bare necessities of extra diapers and clothing, my wife and I do not go anywhere with our children without the proper rations. Cheerios, baby snack bars, powdered formula, bottle water (for the powdered formula), apple sauce, etc. We always plan for the worst possible baby scenario because, often times, it happens. Beyond planning for baby Armageddon, my wife and I do not go out to eat when a) the girls are scheduled to eat themselves, or b) need a nap. Hungry and sleepy babies are not happy babies. Unhappy babies do not belong in a restaurant. We put our baby’s needs first.
When a customer asks me to heat apple sauce, warm a bottle, or even make a bottle (yes, it’s happened) I have to wonder about the parent’s priorities and where they are focused. Before I had children, I had no idea how warm a bottle needed to be to serve a young baby. I certainly didn’t know how to mix powdered formula. That didn’t stop dozens of parents from asking me to warm/make bottles. As a father, the only person who’s touching my young child’s food is me, my wife, or my family. PERIOD. I will not trust a complete stranger with my baby’s meal or bottle. The chance for cross contamination is very real. Although I considered myself a very sanitary server, many who work in the restaurant industry are not. Catching e coli from a server who may have not washed their hands after they went to the bathroom might put me in the hospital. It will put my child in the morgue. This says nothing about allergies. As a server, I handled seafood, shellfish, and peanuts; all things young children should not be around. If you know you child needs a meal, focus your priorities when they belong: with your children. Don’t expect servers to bail you out because you didn’t plan accordingly. If they need a warm bottle or meal, make it yourself, at your home.
2) If a host or a server suggests where a stroller or high chair should be placed at your table, listen to them.
Restaurants are very busy places. Servers constantly feel the pressure of time and, as a result, they move quickly around the restaurant and kitchen area. Sometimes servers even drop things like plates, bowls, and silverware. I’ve dropped soup more times than I care to admit. Most restaurants have comfortable distances between tables and walkways are wide enough so that, even if a server drops some plates, no one gets hurt. However, if your child sits, either in a high chair or stroller, in the middle of a walkway you are putting them in terrible danger.
The odds of a server dropping an arm load of hot food on to your child is small. Those odds increase exponentially if you place your child’s stroller or high chair in a high traffic area. It only takes one mistake for the unthinkable to happen. Playing the odds with your child’s safety is dangerous and despicable. If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Dozens of times in my career I’ve seen huge, SUV sized strollers placed directly in the middle of a busy area of the restaurant. The child obviously is not capable of defending themselves from an arm full of dishes at that age. The responsibility falls directly on the parents to listen to the gentle suggestions people like me make when they see this potential hazard. Also, placing your stroller in the middle of a walkway ensures that traffic has to walk around you and your belonging. This says a lot about you, your sensibilities, and your general level of selfishness. Servers and hosts make these suggestions because they know how the restaurant flows. Often times I tried to encourage parents to place high chairs by walls or on the interior of tables. This ensures far less traffic will flow past the child and the odds of an accident decreases. Do your job as a parent and take the advice of the people who are trying to be helpful.
3) Don’t let your child roam the restaurant.
When your child is old enough to walk, and no longer needs high chairs and strollers to enjoy their meals, they are still susceptible to the same dangers I’ve listed above. In some cases, mobile children are dangers to themselves and the servers working the restaurant. As I said, servers move around the restaurant quickly. They have a financial motivation to do so. It is not O.K. to allow your child to entertain themselves by wandering the restaurant. I’ve seen children as young as two and three on their own exploring in the Steak House. Kids this age have a several things going against them. They are small, come up to a server’s knee, and don’t understand the dangers of getting run over by a quick moving adult with an arm load of hot soup who didn’t see them. Parents need to intervene in these situations before the unthinkable occurs.
Taken together, these three points paint a dismal picture of restaurant parenting. If you run into the right server on the wrong day, watching your terrible parenting might be enough to get your food spit in.
Number 4: Don’t ask for the birthday treatment.
When it comes to birthdays, you can pretty much divide people into one of two categories.
Category One: People who fall into this category enjoy the extra attention they are receiving. It’s nice to have a day just to celebrate you once in a while.
Category Two: People who belong to this group loathe the constant pressure of time passing. Another year older is another year closer to the grave.
Depending on which of these two categories you fall into, you either love or hate your birthday.
Birthdays in a restaurant are a different animal. Most servers feel the same way about birthdays: they hate them… ALL. They may not hate their own birthdays, but I guarantee they hate yours. What do servers have against birthdays and yours specifically? It’s really not anything personal against you, your mother, or the particular day you were born. It has much more to do with the wacky and time consuming chores servers must do in virtually all restaurants when they are informed there is a birthday in their section.
Once upon a time, restaurants began the practice of providing complementary desserts to patrons on their birthdays. This is a good idea in my opinion. It establishes a fun and friendly environment. However, that is not where the birthday celebrations ended. The competition for your disposable income in the restaurant industry is fierce and simply bringing a free dessert morphed to include the dessert, candles, clapping, group singing, and in my restaurant’s case, holding a large stuffed animal puppet that birthday boys and girls had to kiss for good luck.
There are several reasons why many servers really dislike customer birthdays. The first has to do with sheer number of phony birthdays restaurant provide for. My restaurant, along with many others, does not ask for identification when people claim it is their birthday. We accept people at their word and provide the whole insane birthday ritual of cake, singing, clapping, etc. Our good nature is taken advantage of by people who love free stuff. I estimate that one out of every three “birthdays” is a phony. People love free stuff and the desserts at the restaurant I worked at were really good. I remember one particular family of six that would visit the restaurant about once a month. This particular family would claim a birth in their family each visit. It doesn’t take a genius to determine that this particular family was taking advantage of us but this was a relatively common behavior among many of our patrons.
Also, many servers hate the simple logistics behind the birthday ritual. The customer sees several happy, singing, clapping servers wishing their patrons a happy birthday. The reality is that the server had to beg all of those birthday well wishers to leave their tables and other responsibilities behind for three or four minutes while the server prepares the cake, lights the candles, and walks out to the table. This time away tends to put servers behind on their other responsibilities which can hurt the efficiency and service in the restaurant on a whole.
Which brings me to my next point. Ultimately, the financial incentive for the birthday ritual never justifies the difficulty it creates. Often times, people who request the birthday ritual and the complementary dessert that usually comes with it, do not reward their server with an above average tip. Servers, like any good capitalist, respond to incentives. The birthday ritual goes beyond normal expectations for service and the patron is receiving a free dessert in most cases. The financial incentive does not match the extra work.
When taken together, these three factors leave a sour taste in many servers mouth. Often servers are providing the birthday ritual to a table that doesn’t actually have a birthday and will not reward the server financially for the extra work that goes into organizing said ritual. Moreover, the extra work that goes into the birthday service can put a server behind on other responsibilities further affecting the server’s bottom line. It is a noxious and frustrating situation for many servers.
Number 3: Order LOTS of desserts.
Although I personally have nothing against desserts, many of my server friends do. I have a gigantic sweet tooth and order desserts at every opportunity when my wife and I go out to eat. I do this, however, fully aware of the risks I take. Risks, I will now pass on to you.
From a server’s perspective, desserts can be a logistical nightmare. There are several reasons for this. First of all, many desserts you order in your average chain restaurant are complicated to prepare and have a very short sell period. Most desserts are made of ice cream or are topped with whipped cream, both of which melt quickly at room temperature. This makes dessert a time sensitive item and must be delivered to the table that ordered it immediately after it is prepared. Desserts are the abused step children of the kitchen. Cooks don’t like to prepare them because they require several time consuming steps in the preparation process. As a result, they are almost always moved to the back of the line when they are ordered. Cooks, like many of us, tend to procrastinate with tasks they hate to do.
To complicate matters, who exactly was responsible for the preparation and presentation of desserts changed from year to year in my restaurant. For several years, the cooks handled all aspects of the preparation process including toppings like whipped cream and hot fudge. Eventually corporate decided that it made more sense for the servers to prepare the desserts because it would ensure a “great looking product”. It wasn’t that the cooks didn’t do a good job preparing the desserts. The problem was with the servers. Most of the time the cooks prepared the desserts in a timely manner. The reality of food preparation is that many items can sit under a heat lamp for a few minutes and still look appetizing. If you have ever been served an extremely hot plate or bowl, there is an excellent chance it sat under a heat lamp until the server had a moment to bring it to your table. Servers, especially if they are busy, tend to take this for granted. Chicken Wings, for example, are a pretty flexible dish. Ice Cream based desserts, however, are not as forgiving. They must be served within minutes (if not seconds) of their preparation by the cooks. A busy server might let a dessert sit for four or five minutes while they catch up on their other orders. This effectively ruins the dessert and ensures it looks nothing “like the picture” on the menu.
When the responsibility for dessert preparation fell to the servers in my restaurant, the desserts definitely looked better because they were prepared when we had time to make them. Unfortunately, we learned why cooks complained bitterly when certain desserts were ordered. Many of our desserts had a four or five step process to finish their presentation including fudge, whipped cream, shaved chocolate, etc. While the desserts looked better, they look much longer to get to the table because the restaurant’s busy servers were given another responsibility to manage. As you can imagine, some servers handled the stress better than others.
It is these stressed out servers that you, the consumer, generally need to be wary of. These are the people who hate desserts because it slows them down. They hate making them and they hate you for ordering them. Sometimes, the added responsibility of creating your dessert is enough to send these servers them over the edge. As I mentioned, I love dessert and will continue to order them but I also understand that, right or wrong, some servers will hate the extra work I am making them do.
Number 2: Ask for separate checks.
Number 2: Ask for separate checks.
I understand why many people ask for separate checks when eating out in large parties. Separate checks are very useful when lots of people, who don’t know each other very well, go out to a meal. This practice is common among business crowds and large parties over eight or nine people. In my circle of friends I am one of the few who does not drink alcohol when I go out to a restaurant for a meal. Splitting checks makes it easy to see exactly what each person ordered and what each person owes. Separating each person’s order into separate bills makes payment easier on the guest. However, few things are more inconvenient for a server than separating a large party out into individual checks. Separate checks can instantly put a server behind due to the time consuming nature of remembering who ordered what, on what check it needs to be transfer to, and processing several forms of payment. It is time consuming, stressful, and nine times out of ten I screwed it up.
I don’t blame myself honestly.
First of all, the computer software that many chain restaurants use to order food into the kitchen is antiquated and not user friendly in any way. The software is designed to be stable and bulletproof, not flashy or simple to use. Restaurant software is designed to transmit messages (orders) from the front of the house to the kitchen and, for the most part, it does that well. However, every system I’ve used leaves a lot to be desired when a server is asked to perform a complicated task like splitting a check.
Secondly, most customers do not think to inform the server that they will require separate checks at the start of the meal. This simple act saves an incredible amount of time later in the meal. If a server is aware of the customer’s needs, s/he can take your order in such a way as to ensure the bill is organized correctly.
Thirdly, many customers are impatient and insensitive to the amount of time it takes a server to process payment for several checks. In most corporate chain restaurants, servers have between three and five tables open at once. Lets assume your server is doing nothing but processing your payment. On average, it takes about one to two minutes to process a credit card payment or make change. Not bad right? Multiply that out by several more checks and you can see how it slows the entire payment process down. This says nothing for the fact that servers often will have three or four other tables that also need their attention at any given moment. A party of ten with separate checks will often wait between 8 to 12 minutes for their change or receipts. This may sound extreme, but it is not uncommon given the logistics of making change or processing credit cards on eight to ten checks at once.
Allow me to reiterate, I understand why people split checks. However, the entire point of this article is to document how to avoid getting your food spit in. So, how do you avoid totally stressing your server out if you need separate checks? Inform your server at the beginning of the meal that you need separate checks and allow the server to take your order in whatever fashion ensures s/he will keep the orders organized. It will save time at the end of the meal. Also, be understanding when it comes time to pay the bill. Honestly, what is more valuable: a few moments of your time or the piece of mind that comes with knowing your food was not spit in.
Number 1: Send your food back to the kitchen.
Simply put, if you have ever sent a meal back to the kitchen to be reheated, refired, or replaced there is a excellent chance you have had your food mistreated. The chance exists that servers, cooks, or both took liberties with the sanitary conditions they exposed your food too. That may be jarring to some of you, but it is the truth.
Sending your food back to the kitchen basically announces to the staff that you are, in their minds, an unreasonable individual. Why? Because you are making their life more difficult. Your complaint may be perfectly reasonable. In my seven years at the Steakhouse, most of the food sent back to the kitchen deserved to be. Cooks make mistakes from time to time and it doesn’t help matters that they may hold the most stressful position in the restaurant. It is easy to overlook the importance of having a qualified kitchen staff in a restaurant. They are, after all, the people who prepare all the food. Cooks are painfully aware that if they make a mistake, they ruin someone meal. On top of that, they are typically preparing dozens of meals at any given time on a busy night.
When a customer sends food back to the kitchen, many cooks view it as a referendum on their abilities and take it very personally. They misdirect their anger at the customer and the symbol of their mistake: the food in question. Cooks can’t yell at the customer so they take out their passive aggressive anger on your food.
Without a doubt, sending food back is the easiest and surest way to have your food spit. My only advice is to avoid this practice at all costs. I recognize this is not rational and unfair to the customer. Customers deserve to have a properly prepared and sanitary meal. They are, after all, paying for it. If food is not prepared to your preference, you deserve to have it replaced. However, the only way to ensure your food is not mishandled in this scenario is to completely avoiding sending food back to the kitchen and finding a new restaurant to patronize.