This will cover what you should do if a restaurant happens to give your food to the wrong table; and then the waiter tries to give that food to you. We see this happen all the time, and there is only one right answer of what the restaurant should do about it. However, if by chance, the restaurant happens to do this and still tries to deliver the food to your table, you can tell them what they should do with the food.
The only correct answer to this is to throw the food away and remake it. The restaurant (fancy or not) shouldn’t expect their guests to pay for their mistakes. Most restaurants have a general rule of immediately telling the waiter (if they catch them doing this) to just throw the food away. Most of the time they will say that once the plate has touched the table, it is too late.
However, not all restaurants follow this rule, and will sometimes try to cut corners if they can as long as the guest remains oblivious. You are not obligated to eat and pay for food that you do not want. On the flip side, neither is the restaurant obligated to serve food to everyone that enters their establishment. They have a right to refuse service, which is for their protection under these circumstances.
Some customers can be extremely hard to satisfy, causing the restaurant to repeatedly throw away food and remake food, because of different reasons of overly picky customers. Some customers have a point to why their food isn’t suitable for consumption (like undercooked food), while others don’t. This is why most restaurants will strive to do their best when making their food. They don’t want to have to remake the food and waste money remaking it and throwing it away, because of their own mistakes.
This is why restaurants have the general rule of taking the food that was given to the wrong guests (or made the wrong way) back and throwing it away once it has been set on the guests table. What restaurants will do as a failsafe to prevent the wrong food from being given to the wrong table, is to first tell the guest what they ordered before setting the meal on the table. Once they get a confirmation that the food is what the guests ordered, then they will set the delivered food on the table. This way, if it isn’t correct and they still deliver the food, the guest is partially at fault, not the waiter.
This is also why restaurants have tickets too for their orders, but sometimes tickets get lost, or cocky waiters sometimes don’t want to use the tickets and just throw them away before delivering the order. Some restaurant employees sometimes feel that their memory is good enough to remember who the food goes to when it is ready. However, they fail to realize that the ticket may still be needed, because they may not be the employees delivering the goods once the order is up.
If a restaurant gives your food to the wrong table, sets it down, then picks it up to give to you, then you are not obligated to take the food, eat it, and pay for it. When the waiter comes to your table, don’t accept the food if you don’t want it. Have the restaurant remake the food. They are at fault.
There is no telling what the other guests have done with your food, which is probably the reason why you are here reading this article. The same thing applies to food that the restaurant makes and hands to the wrong customer. If the restaurant refuses to remake the food, then you can just leave.
As Michael Kyle from the sitcom “My Wife & Kids” would say, “but he put pee pee fingers on my lobster!” In case you are wondering, that episode in that scene is basically describing everything we are talking about right now in this scenario as a comedy relief. The wrong food was given to the wrong guest, who touched the food before it was given to the correct guest (both of these guests had both recently went to the restroom at the same time, in which he knew that the other guest left the restroom without washing his hands).
The lobster was rejected and another one was made. Later on in the episode, Michael still has to pay for the other lobster too that was thrown away, despite it being the restaurant’s fault. Of course, this episode is humorous, because it is the exact opposite of what the restaurant should do. They are at fault for giving the wrong food to the wrong guest, and the customer doesn’t have to pay for their mistake.
They set the food down on the table before the customers even had a chance to say that it wasn’t their food.
Usually when these things happen, a faithful restaurant will have a manager that catches an employee doing this stopped and reprimanded. It is usually new employees that will make this mistake, so they are told that they can’t place the food on the table and then give it to another table afterwards. It has to be thrown away.
They will also follow this same policy for orders that are to-go, wrapped, placed in containers and bagged. There is no telling what a customer could have done to the food after they received it. In the case that food is handed to the wrong guest and then given to the correct guest at another table in the sight of both guests, it really is the choice of the guest to take the food or not. Sometimes guests will still take the food anyways, because they are sure that nothing has been done to their food; even after the restaurant says that they will remake it after their mistake.
I generally do not accept the food after it has been given to the wrong guest if it was me ordering. I expect the food to be remade at no additional cost. This is because I have seen some people do some weird stuff to food, and then expect another person to eat the food.
For instance, one guest was about to take the wrong food in one case. The restaurant employee held the food to make sure it was correct before giving it to them; however the guest took the food out of the employee’s hands to check it to see if it was the right one. They picked the food up off of the plate with their hands, inspected it, found it to be the wrong order, then told the other guest to come get their food. They were not acquainted or even friends.
Basically, if I didn’t tell the kitchen to remake the food, then the other guests that had put their hands all over some stranger’s food would have expected the other guest to take it. The other guest did not see what the guest had previously done before attempting to take the food, but I wasn’t about to let that happen. I told them that the food had to be remade, before receiving a puzzled look from the guest that just put their hands all over someone else’s food. I kept my poker face and apologized for the inconvenience. The food was remade and everyone received their correct orders.