Chefs say there’s nothing wrong with sending restaurant food back – whichever restaurant in the world you’ve chosen – if the reasons are right. When it can be done and how is described below.
The right reasons
There are several good reasons (apart from finding foreign objects on your plate) why a meal can be sent back. First, if you warned the waiter about your allergy, and your food comes with allergens in it, the meal should be re-cooked, not just cleaned of those “wrong” components. The same goes for cold and overcooked food. One more reason to ask the server to take the dish back is when your food has arrived without a certain ingredient or – on the opposite – it contains something you asked not to add, like garlic or onion for example.
What to say
Although you may feel a little nervous and be afraid your actions may seem offensive, they won’t. The right words are the ones that describe the real situation. Simply say it right: “I ordered my ribeye medium-rare, but it’s well done”. An apology from your waiter should follow and the mistake should be corrected. In case the problem is much worse than an overcooked steak – such as a nail in your soup – ask to see the manager. Complaining to him is supposed to ensure a quick readjustment.