Why I don’t like to be the first to answer when the waiter asks “how is everything?”

By , April 17, 2014 6:21 am

If we’ve eaten in a restaurant together before, you’ve likely heard this story.

Years ago, I was eating out with three other people who ordered a similar meat dish while I ordered some pasta veggie dish. The waiter came by to ask the typical “how is everything?” and I responded with “good.” My dish was good.

Apparently, though, everyone else at my table was really displeased with their food, and had wanted to say something (which I did not know). But then didn’t, since I said “good.” Then they proceeded to be cranky (somewhat with me) the rest of the night, while eating their bad (?) food.

For whatever reason, this experience really stuck with me. I was made to feel shamed for that “good” response. Since then (and it was, what, oh… maybe 10 years ago?!) I’ve always paused a bit when a waiter asks how everything is. If I look around the table and it looks like no one is going to answer, then I will. Or if someone is displeased and I know it, I’ll let them speak. Or speak for them, if they don’t want to say anything. Ha!

Really though, that is what the issue was – for some reason, me saying my food was good make the others feel like they couldn’t say what was “wrong” with theirs. Why are people so shy about that?

Maybe it’s because I am always asking for modifications with a vegan diet, and sometimes sending food back, that I just don’t think it’s a big deal. Smile, be polite when you ask… and again – don’t make it in to a big deal. It’s just food! You’ll be fine (unless you have some crazy serious allergy, of course). I feel like, as a paying customer, it’s okay to ask to have something “fixed,” if it didn’t come out how you asked. And hopefully, people don’t abuse that!


Post Bachelorette Party Red Robin! From L to R: Ashleigh, Jason, Kelsey, Jacquie, me, Christinklebot, Mamba and Will.

Oh gosh, this is making me think back to my days as a McDonald’s manager, and how this huge multi-generational family came in every Sunday, and always came up with issues to try to get free food. We non-lovingly called them “the Family.” As in “Kim, the Family’s here!” Which was my signal to go assist my cashier and whomever was putting the order together to make sure it was perfect. Then I would save the order receipt so when the Family came back claiming they didn’t get something, I’d show them they didn’t order it/pay for it. OJ is expensive, y’all! Ha ha.

Do you have any hesitation asking a waiter to fix something that’s “wrong” with your dish? Do you get annoyed when they ask “how is everything?” when your mouth is full of food?

18 Responses to “Why I don’t like to be the first to answer when the waiter asks “how is everything?””

  1. bobbi says:

    HAHAHA!! When I worked at Hardees, we had a family we called “the church people” who came in every sunday and did the SAME THING. And their kids were crazy and ran all over the restaurant.

    I get annoyed when they DON’T come back to ask. Biggest pet peeve. I am not so good with the sending food back tho. Unless it’s TERRIBLE. or not even close to what I ordered.

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha! Yep, that name would have worked, too! Did you go to similar measures?

      Yeah, that bugs me more, too! I hate when I have to flag them down cause I need more water or napkins or whatever it is. Why do you think you aren’t good at sending it back? I am just like, ugh, if I am eating out I want it to be good!

      • bobbi says:

        I am chronically afraid of confrontation. I am better at it as I’ve gotten older (and had to advocate for my kids) but I’m still not great at it.

        We didn’t get too worried about the church people…tried to keep them in check the best we could. Just a lot of eye rolling when they walked in haha.

    • Rachel says:

      OMG! When I worked at Hardee’s we had ‘the church people’ too! And their kids were crazy and one was named Leviticus. And they always ordered a million Hot Ham and Cheeses. Are we the same person, Bobbi?

    • Maggie says:

      We had church people at the Olive Garden! ALLLL day on Sunday, because there were those who went to service in the morning and then to lunch, and then there were “the Romanians” [I assumed named as such by our fellow Romanian servers? Our staff was like the UN] who went to evening service, and then to dinner and they all ordered the same two dishes.

  2. Eric says:

    I am usually about to put the first bite in my mouth when they come back!

  3. Anne says:

    I remember people like that when I worked in fast food! Anything to try to get something free. Huh. I wonder how those people are taking advantage of ALL THE FREE THINGZ these days.

    The only time I ever send my food back or complain is if it’s meat that’s under-cooked. Otherwise meh, I’ll usually eat whatever and say everything is good.

    I’m with Bobbi, it’s more annoying to me when my server never comes to check on us. We went out to eat last night and our waitress disappeared for half an hour! Like, from the entire section. She had brought Bob a beer before that, and when she came back and saw our empty glasses was like “Oh, you drank that beer already?!” Uh yeah, it doesn’t take half an hour to drink a beer.

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha ha. Maybe they all started blogs to get MOAR free things. Or maybe they are still trying to work the restaurant circuit 😉

      Yeah, I would rather get checked on more often! Ha ha ha. And that is too funny she said that. Did he order another? Usually by that point I am like, forget it!

      • Anne says:

        They’ll write a review of that Big Mac if it’s free. 🙂

        He would have if she had come back sooner, but we had to get going. And, on principal, I didn’t want to give the restaurant another $5.

  4. Rachel says:

    I’m not afraid to send things back if they are not right. If it’s something small then I’ll usually let it slide, but like you said just ask politely and it’s not a big deal. You asked for a specific food and you are paying for it, so it should be correct. Kevin is always to shy to complain, like he will offend the server or something. I think he’s too nice sometimes.

  5. Maggie says:

    I had so much food sent back when I waited tables. A lot of times it was because I got the order wrong (either because I misread my own shorthand, or there was a language barrier). As long as you are polite about it, special orders, sending things back, etc, is no big deal. Just be polite!!! It becomes an issue when the customer acts like an asshole. Plus, they want you to be happy so that you’ll come back, and/or tell your friends about what a great restaurant it is! One time I was eating at a nice place with my parents, and my mom sent back her steak to have it cooked a little bit more, and when it came back out, the manager came with it to make sure it was cooked to her liking (and I think apologize that she had to send it back). They want her to be happy! Happy customers = more $$$ for them.

    • kilax says:

      Thanks for saying that from the other side and confirming it’s NOT a big deal … if you aren’t an a-hole. So true that you WILL come back if they fix things and are nice about it! There is a place I avoided for a long time cause they always messed things up and were jerks when I asked to fix it 🙁

  6. Kandi says:

    If I’m really unhappy with my meal I’ll mention it to the waiter but it doesn’t happen too often.
    I did get annoyed recently when my good friend hated her meal to the point where she only ate a few bites and was complaining about it but wouldn’t tell the waiter that she was not satisfied.

  7. Erin says:

    Usually by the time I get my food I am so hungry I don’t care and will just eat whatever they put in front of me. I mean, if they overcook something they’re going to have to remake it from scratch and it’s going to take awhile and then everyone else at the table will be done eating by the time I’m done and that’s just awkward. So, yeah, I don’t say anything, typically.

  8. jan says:

    So funny about “the family”! LOL I don’t think it’s your fault at all that the others were stuck w/ a meal they didn’t like. Just because you said good first doesn’t mean they couldn’t speak up. Totally their fault to eat crappy food then! 🙂

  9. Mica says:

    Oh no, I’ve never thought about that! I usually just blurt out “fine, thanks!” without asking my dining companion(s)! Now I’ll have to watch myself.

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