This Is Why I Hesitate to Complain at Restaurants

I will spare you a Rocky Road reference.


  1. I've worked in restaurants myself, and I assure you the stories about revenge on obnoxious customers are not all urban legends. I'm sure some of them are, but I've witnessed some pretty foul stuff. Restaurant managers will swear up and down that such things don't happen ("Believe me, I know..."), but they *don't* know.

    Your policy is a good one. If you occasionally complain in a non-adversarial manner, and leave a decent tip, you're probably OK. But if you complain about something every time you go in, and are generally difficult to deal with, you may well be getting some extra protein in your food. For that matter, I don't know why people keep going back to a place if they find something to complain about on every visit. But in any case, making an enemy out of someone who handles your food out of your sight is a bad idea.

  2. I worked in the kitchen of a well known, long-established, and very large Connecticut restaurant in my teens for three years.

    I've never spat in food, nor added any noxious ingredients. However, I've seen things that still affect my behavior in middle age.

    In addition to going light on the complaints, I'd never order anything after the kitchen closed. Even if you're a friend of the boss, it's not something you want to eat.

    A friend of the family came in one night soon after we finished cleaning the kitchen. He wanted something simple, I think it was veal piccata. I saw the cook take all the pre-cooked veal into his mouth and spit it out into the muddy water on the bottom of the walk-in refrigerator. He stomped on it for good measure. As he cooked it he continued to make a special sauce with his saliva. The veal looked tender on the way out, in a pre-masticated kind of way. We had a good laugh in the kitchen when the gentleman came in the back to compliment the chef. It's one of the few times I recall the chef getting a personal compliment, so I felt a little sorry for the diner.

  3. Wow. Maybe it was like the invention of the French fry, Woody, and chewing the veal beforehand really adds something. Millions of birds can't be wrong.

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