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How often do you lie when asked "is everything good"?

How often do you lie when asked "is everything good"?
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  • How often do you lie when asked "is everything good"?

    Post #1 - July 26th, 2018, 9:27 am
    Post #1 - July 26th, 2018, 9:27 am Post #1 - July 26th, 2018, 9:27 am
    Last night we had a problematic meal at Capital Grille in Rosemont. (I've had nothing but good experiences at the Streeterville location.) Service was slipshod and my steak had unchewable gristle in every bite. My wife wasn't thrilled with her scallop entree, either. Anyway, so the manager is making the rounds of tables and very nicely asking if everything is to our liking and is there anything he can get for us, etc., and the three of us uniformly respond to the effect that everything is very nice. We lie, in other words.

    Considerations going through my mind in the moment of untruth: I don't want to get into a discussion of what's wrong, I want to get back to my dining companions. I don't want an "accommodation," even though very possibly some sort of one would be forthcoming. I don't care if my constructive criticism would enable the restaurant to become better at what it does. All I want is to forget about the deficiencies of the experience and concentrate on our table's conversation and make the manager go away as quickly as possible, and a smile of gratitude in his direction along with some perfunctory words of satisfaction seems to be the best way to accomplish that.

    Just wondering how many others respond in the same way. Or do you seize the moment to give an honest response?
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #2 - July 26th, 2018, 9:40 am
    Post #2 - July 26th, 2018, 9:40 am Post #2 - July 26th, 2018, 9:40 am
    The best answer I can give is...it depends.

    At the Capital Grille, that's a tough one. It's at the price point where if something was noticeably off, I'm probably saying something. But, it's usually an 'occasion' place or a business dinner---which means that if it's the latter, for sure I'm keeping my mouth shut, and if it's the former, it depends on who I'm with. Family? I'm probably speaking up because they already know how I am in that regard. Friends? Maybe not.

    FYI, I've only been to CG/Rosemont once and I had that Bone-in Kona-crusted Ribeye, which I still remember as being damned good. Service was fine that night too.
  • Post #3 - July 26th, 2018, 10:03 am
    Post #3 - July 26th, 2018, 10:03 am Post #3 - July 26th, 2018, 10:03 am
    Hi,

    I dislike this question when they cannot help but notice, I haven't eaten anything yet from my plate. It is a perfunctory check the query off the service list type question.

    The other day, I was at a Schoop's. As has been documented before, not all locations are stellar. The hamburger was passable with crispy edges, but the fries were under cooked to the extent they were hard. I did comment about them to the waitress who barely recognized there was an issue. After some circular discussion, she suggested some people have their fries ordered extra crisp. The take away was it was our fault for not anticipating how the fries are typically cooked at this establishment. Yes, they did ask the question several times during this meal.

    I think there is more honest feedback by the food returned to the kitchen uneaten, then by that question.

    At an Indian restaurant long ago, I ordered 'medium' heat level that was way beyond my limits. Since it was my mistake, I continued to soldier through my dinner. At one point, the owner could not stand watching me suffer. He took my plate away and had it replaced with a far lower heat level. I have been forever grateful for this level of service.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #4 - July 26th, 2018, 11:10 am
    Post #4 - July 26th, 2018, 11:10 am Post #4 - July 26th, 2018, 11:10 am
    That's a great question, and I would have to also answer that "It depends"

    I think we all set our expectations based on the perceived quality and maybe price point of the establishment, as well as maybe taking into consideration what was ordered.

    When I walk into a high end steak house such as Capital Grille, my expectations, based on previous experiences and/or price points of menu items, is that I am going to receive a high quality piece of meat, cooked to the temp that I ordered it at. If it's slightly over or under done, I probably let it slide. If the temp is way off then I would most likely mention it, but not always seek replacement (depending on whether it was still edible) If there is "gristle in every bite" then I would definitely say something, because that is way beyond the expectation. If I happen to be dining at a Outback or Longhorn steakhouse, the expectation is much less and the feeling is more "you get what you pay for", there is a huge difference in expectation between a $20 steak and a $50 steak.

    If I'm travelling and happen to stop into a Cracker Barrel, Big Boy, etc. then my expectations are low. As long as there is not anything drastically wrong, i.e nothing burned, raw, hair, or whatever, I am probably not saying anything.

    The hardest time I have about whether to say anything or not is when eating at one of the places that kind of fall into the middle. Places like Cheesecake factory, Maggianos, Olive Garden, Red Lobster. Their price points put them in the strata where the expectations are a bit higher but not to the level of a "fine dining" restaurant, so it really depends on what the issue (and mood) is at the time. As an example, I have been in a high-end restaurant and given a $12 Caesar salad that amounted to a few pieces of romaine, croutons and shaved Parmesan and said nothing but while dining in a lower end establishment have sent back a $6 salad that seemed woefully inadequate though still probably double the volume of the $12 one.
  • Post #5 - July 26th, 2018, 12:59 pm
    Post #5 - July 26th, 2018, 12:59 pm Post #5 - July 26th, 2018, 12:59 pm
    This is not my only criterion, but I'd say I'm more likely to lie about everything being good when I'm with other people than when I'm not. Depending on who I'm with, I might feel uncomfortable about being considered a complainer. Also, as you said, riddlemay, it takes time away from enjoying the company of the people I'm with, and they might be inconvenienced by the time lag associated with the server or manager addressing my complaint (the conversation, the taking away, the bringing something else, my starting to eat the something else when everyone else is halfway through theirs).
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #6 - July 26th, 2018, 2:12 pm
    Post #6 - July 26th, 2018, 2:12 pm Post #6 - July 26th, 2018, 2:12 pm
    Katie wrote:This is not my only criterion, but I'd say I'm more likely to lie about everything being good when I'm with other people than when I'm not. Depending on who I'm with, I might feel uncomfortable about being considered a complainer. Also, as you said, riddlemay, it takes time away from enjoying the company of the people I'm with, and they might be inconvenienced by the time lag associated with the server or manager addressing my complaint (the conversation, the taking away, the bringing something else, my starting to eat the something else when everyone else is halfway through theirs).

    And to this I'd add the possibility that the accommodation offered might be insufficient or insulting. If I'd brought up the serious problem with the steak, and he'd offered a free glass of wine, that would have sucked, since I'd already had as much wine as I wanted. Or a comped dessert, which would have been inadequate in recompense. So rather than endure the insult of an incommensurate response, or get into an argument about what level of accommodation would be appropriate, it can feel better (depending on the situation) to simply make a mental note never to walk through their doors again.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #7 - July 26th, 2018, 2:32 pm
    Post #7 - July 26th, 2018, 2:32 pm Post #7 - July 26th, 2018, 2:32 pm
    This is a great discussion.
    One important point to make is that if you do choose to
    complain about a meal or indeed anything,
    it is important to tell the person HOW they can satisfy you.
    Re-cook my steak, or if you do want a free drink or dessert,
    or a comped meal, or whatever you feel is appropriate.
    They can't make you happy if you don't tell them how.
    I always order my steak medium rare, if it comes medium,
    I can live with that, if it's way raw I don't feel bad asking them to cook it a bit more because there's no waste. It's it's medium rare it's perfect.
    Now if it's medium well or more- they have to cook me another because they ought to know how to cook a steak, and I'm paying for that.
    Although if it is a big business dinner I may not send it back because of the "fuss factor",
    and not wanting to be seen as a prima donna...
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #8 - July 26th, 2018, 3:26 pm
    Post #8 - July 26th, 2018, 3:26 pm Post #8 - July 26th, 2018, 3:26 pm
    irisarbor wrote:....One important point to make is that if you do choose to
    complain about a meal or indeed anything, it is important to tell the person HOW they can satisfy you....


    I think this is a great point. If you ask for the steak to be re-fired, don't be upset later if they didn't comp your desert or drink also. If you say, don't worry, it's ok, don't take it out on a waiter by leaving a poor tip if their service was up to par.

    I think at a lot of the better restaurants the managers do a really good job of making sure that your experience is a good one. The need for a re-fired steak or a returned entree usually prompts some type of comp. Many will comp deserts or entrees, even if not asked to do so. They understand the value of repeat business and the good-will that small gestures mean to most people.
  • Post #9 - July 26th, 2018, 3:44 pm
    Post #9 - July 26th, 2018, 3:44 pm Post #9 - July 26th, 2018, 3:44 pm
    thetrob wrote:Many will comp deserts or entrees, even if not asked to do so. They understand the value of repeat business and the good-will that small gestures mean to most people.

    And the costly word of mouth from someone who is dissatisfied.

    Every once in a very long while, there have been people who were not happy. It was not enough to tell their friends and family. They post their woe on as many social media channels as possible. A few of those have made it here which was met with lots of skepticism especially after people found parallel complaints elsewhere. I call it the scorched Earth approach and never, ever liked this.

    Unhappiness is more costly now, though I do like IrisAbor's idea to offer a suggestion resolution. It's not like people are mind readers.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - July 26th, 2018, 10:28 pm
    Post #10 - July 26th, 2018, 10:28 pm Post #10 - July 26th, 2018, 10:28 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Unhappiness is more costly now, though I do like IrisAbor's idea to offer a suggestion resolution. It's not like people are mind readers.

    I like that, too, and I'm going to remember and apply it. The only satisfactory outcome for me in this case would have been to have the $50 steak taken off the bill. (Cooking me a new steak would be a non-starter with my dining companions well into their meals, and a comped drink or dessert would have been insultingly inadequate.) So in retrospect, when he asked "is everything to your liking," I wish I'd said "this steak is inedible and I'd like you to take it off the bill." Simple and direct. If he balked, I would ask him why he bothered to inquire if he wasn't willing to make things right.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #11 - July 27th, 2018, 2:01 am
    Post #11 - July 27th, 2018, 2:01 am Post #11 - July 27th, 2018, 2:01 am
    As a former restaurant owner I was always more upset if someone didn't mention an issue until days later when it was too late, than if they made an honest, and discrete comment at the time of service. Thankfully our issues were rare, but for any establishment it is perhaps the main tool for checking on the kitchen. If one were to see multiple errors on a given shift it would point to the need for a closer inspection of who is working with what during that time. It's the only way to quickly snuff out a problem before it become a, well...problem.
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #12 - July 27th, 2018, 6:07 am
    Post #12 - July 27th, 2018, 6:07 am Post #12 - July 27th, 2018, 6:07 am
    Far too often. Most often when I'm dining out it's with my kids. They just want to eat and we just want to enjoy some time together so I'll frequently saw through an overcooked steak or choke down gummy overcooked pasta in the interest of not breaking the mood. Then again this isn't fine dining, we're usually eating at places you'd expect this kind of thing to happen.
  • Post #13 - July 27th, 2018, 10:30 am
    Post #13 - July 27th, 2018, 10:30 am Post #13 - July 27th, 2018, 10:30 am
    zoid wrote: saw through an overcooked steak or choke down gummy overcooked pasta in the interest of not breaking the mood. Then again this isn't fine dining, we're usually eating at places you'd expect this kind of thing to happen.


    I don't know that should EVER expect overcooked steak or gummy pasta no matter where you're eating. It's just NOT that hard to cook pasta or to grill a steak. Even Outback gets it right more often than not.
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener

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