No one working in a restaurant wants to see food sent back to the kitchen, and it's on you to make sure any mistake is rectified and the customer leaves happy.
But when someone tells you their steak is too 'steaky' or asks you to cover the fish they're eating with a napkin so they don't have to look it in the eye, well, how do you keep a straight face and stay professional?
We've collected the strangest, funniest and downright most ridiculous reasons ever given for sending food back, shared on ChefTalk, Reddit and by our own readers, into a list of 42 of the most ridiculous customer complaints ever.
You won't believe some of these and we challenge you to even get halfway through this list without double face palming yourself into oblivion.
As ever, if you have any to add, we'd love you to share them, over on our Facebook page.
Is the customer always right? Absoloutely not.
Chefs Share 42 of the Most Ridiculous Customer Complaints Ever
I had a guest order spaghetti last night. Complains to the server. No ... not flavour. It tasted great. Not portion size ... that was fine too. No ... my spaghetti is too short. I need to modify my menus so that guests know they're getting (and I quote) "Chicken noodle soup noodles instead of spaghetti." Apparently this man was offended by a 12" noodle. I'm guessing if I used a 24" noodle, he'd complain that his fork wasn't big enough to twirl it.
We often get the CPC – the Clean Plate Complainer. Eats everything and then says it was horrible.
I had two orders of Blackened Redfish returned because they were to dark and well done. People admitted to waiter they never had before?????
My Steak is too beefy/steaky tasting. I know steaky isn't a word, but that's what they said.
This Manhattan is too strong! Anyone that complains about a mixed drink being too strong needs to stick to beer.
My braised beef is too well done.
Woman orders meal and asks for there to be no salt, pepper, garlic, or any other herbs or spices in the meal. Then sends it back because "it's flavorless.”
This one time, a customer came up to the counter and told us their burger was undercooked and demanded we recook it. Unfortunately they decided not to tell us until they were 3/4 done with the food. So my my manager happily obliged and had their burger remade. After it was finished, he cut the burger into fourths, and gave the customer a fresh quarter of a burger, well done. The look on their face was justice.
"Can I have this made with penne instead? I'm allergic to fettuccine."
"Sir, there are teeth in my food!" "Wow. Are you serious? Ok I'll come check it out........ Sir, those are onions." "Well... It's weird, can I order something else?"
A trio of ladies ordered a pork sandwich and two cheeseburgers. Normal right? Nope, they were on the Atkins diet so they wanted no buns, no cheese, no toppings of any sort. So I bring out three plates, two with just patties and one with a pile of pork. "What is this? This is NOT what I ordered!" Well ma'am, that's a pork sandwich minus the onions, coleslaw, cheese, bun, and fries. Not really sure what they were expecting.
A woman ordered a plate of sweet and sour chicken, and 10 minutes later came back with every fried chicken chunk broken open, chicken consumed, and demanded a refund saying there was no chicken in the breading.
As a bartender I once had a waitress bring back a dirty martini because it "tasted like olives." Trying to sound impressive while ordering a drink, are we?
I once heard an old man getting pretty flustered and really irritated because he said he wanted 8 french fries and apparently he got 11.
"I know I ordered raw oysters, but I didn’t know they were really raw ... I thought that was just the name, like raaaaw oysters."
Why is my hamburger a patty? Where's the ham? *happened a few times too*
Too much tomato in the tomato soup, ha ha.
I made babyback ribs for a member's banquet. After the function a guy pulls me aside and says: "Don't lie to me. Did you boil those ribs?" No I did not. They were started on the grill and then slow roasted for about three and a half hours. "I'm not stupid you know. Did you see how easily the meat came off the bone? The ribs shouldn't be like that. If you cook them the right way you need to bite into it and pull the meat away from the bones." Sometimes you just can't win.
Customer asked for a panino with blueberries instead of ham ... then sent it back because there were "mouldy stains on the eggs."
Someone orders the parsnip gnocchi with oxtail sauce, then complained that it didn’t say on the board that there was meat in the sauce.
Vegetarian ordered corned beef hash... ate part of it then asked the server if there was beef in it...
I had a customer tell me a perfect slice of medium rare prime rib didn’t taste like beef ... how does one achieve that!!!
Had a customer the other night complain there was a bone in his T-bone steak, I went out and spoke to him, he said it was too boney! Replaced the perfectly cooked T-bone with an eye fillet.
“This ham and cheese omelette tastes like egg: if I wanted eggs I would have ordered eggs.”
My restaraunt sold large and small bowls of soup. Once, someone ordered a large bowl and finished half, then asked if they could be charged for a small bowl.
"Too many cherries" in the cherry pie.
In my table-waiting days, I had a guy eat his entire 14 ounce prime rib except for the fat. He had made a pile of the fat on his plate and asked me to weigh it so he could have a pro-rata refund equivalent to the weight of the fatty bits.
Once had someone return a burger saying there was a bug in it. Her kid interrupted with "but mommy, you told me to put that there."
We had a woman who ate her salmon, said it was delicious but didn't think she should have to pay for it because it was "upside down" when it was served to her. Seriously.
I had someone send back a French onion soup because they don't like onions.
One time a guy came up to the register at the cafe/french restaurant I worked at, furious about the 'stale chicken' on his salad. My manager looked at the salad and said, "sir, that is a crouton." He returned to his seat without a word.
A woman didn't want the garlic bread she ordered ... because it had garlic on it.
"Boss, I wanted hummus, this tastes like chickpeas."
Rio D. Ward
Had a BLT thrown at me (I was 15) because it had tomatoes on it. When I explained what BLT stood for he screamed, "BULLSHIT!," and stormed out. I'm guessing that the world is a confusing place for him.
Danny E Ray III
Your salsa is not watery enough and is too chunky, and your guacamole has too much avocado in it. Double facepalm.
I had a lady send back the Buffalo wings she ordered, because she got chicken wings not Buffalo wings.
Had customer send back both beef and tuna tartare. Both times they said they wanted them cooked.
Had a guest upset because the server brought a side of beans when she specifically asked for four more beans. Took the bowl to side station put four beans on a plate returned to guest. Her response, "Now how difficult was that?" Good times.
Cesar Adrian Reynosa
My crème brulée is cold you guys just burned the top.
"This lamb doesn't taste like beef."
Cindy Flores Rodríguez
Orders Whole Grilled Snapper. (Sends back). Sorry Chef, customer don't like her fish to look at her while eating ... with a napkin covering the fish head.