If you don’t like your food, would you tell the waiter?

Dinner at Hog’s Breath Cafe in Chijmes. The Goonfather ordered a beer. I ordered a Virgin Mary.

I think he got shortchanged. Hahaha. How often do you see a mug of beer shorter than a Virgin Mary?

(For the record, I wasn’t being coy ordering a Virgin Mary. I just didn’t want to go to acting class tipsy.)

Okay, I’m not going to talk about the food or anything like that because you know I hate doing reviews unless I think something is really, really worth reviewing.

Let’s just say the food was satisfactory but I won’t go back again.

And I hope that waiters eventually learn that it’s very disconcerting for diners to have their meals interrupted every 15 minutes to be asked, “How are you enjoying your food, sir?”

Honestly, must they do that?

In the one hour we were there, we were asked that question four times by three different servers.

I asked the Goonfather, “Do you like your food?”

“Yeah, it’s not bad,” he said.

I asked again, “If you didn’t like your food, would you tell the waiter?”

“Nah, their question is just a formality. They don’t really expect you to say anything negative.”

Is that so?

Are people weird, or what? Why ask questions you don’t mean asking? Why say things you don’t mean saying?

People, stop being weird!! I can’t get used to it!

I want to go back to my own planet.


Now, don’t think I don’t appreciate friendliness and good service. I assume that waiters ask that question to provide better service. Maybe to let you know they’re there to help you if you need extra butter or cutlery or postcards.

And maybe some diners actually like being asked how they’re enjoying their food every 15 minutes. (Totally weird, people!)

So I’m not, like, complaining or anything. I’m just saying it’s weird. And disconcerting. I really just want to be left in peace to enjoy a romantic meal with my partner without having to periodically engage in conversation with restaurant staff.

I usually don’t tell the truth even when I think the food sucks. The most I would do is smile at the waiter and say, “It’s not bad.” I don’t want to be rude lah, and, honestly, it’s not the waiter’s fault if the food is bad.

But every time they ask me that question, I’m tempted to tell the truth when the food is really bad. But it’s not in my nature to be outwardly negative. So I would really like it if waiters stopped asking that question altogether.

Is that too much to ask?

16 thoughts on “If you don’t like your food, would you tell the waiter?

  1. Avatar

    Certainly Not!

    But you can try this method that I saw some elder folks did to their server (not that it was intentional, perhaps they were bored)… like telling him/her how your days were, with all details thrown in (hey, you are the actress, show some drama, baby) and I’ll bet after that, no one will ask you “how do you like the food, Mdm?”


  2. Avatar

    I think it’s our repressed culture in Singapore, even if we complain and make noise, the restaurants usually just apologise, without much sincerity I might add, and just send us on our way. No wonder so many restaurants close shop after a while, they dont bother about repeat businesses.

    In Philippines where I stayed for a while, no matter how cheap the food, if you dont like it, you can send it back, ask for another or, get a replacement dish, no questions asked.

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    Wind: Dowan lah. I pay good money to eat at a restaurant, why should I also entertain the wait staff with conversation? Haha. Anyway, I think when waiters keep asking that question, it means there’s not enough business and they are bored. If you start yakking with them about your day, I think they’ll be very happy. :P

    Miss Loi: Oh, well, as romantic as it can get with waiters interrupting us every 15 minutes and the table next to us full of people talking too loudly. lol.

    Chong: I think there have been reports that show Singapore being ranked very low for service right? Maybe the service industry not paying enough.

  4. Avatar

    My guess is, the waiter(s) have nothing else to do and they don’t want to be seen as slacking or “not-doing-anything”. :P

    I’ve only been asked once about food (that’s because I only ate like 2-3 bites.). I wish I could tell people when the food’s not really nice but then again, I believe I have weird taste buds. :P

  5. Avatar

    If you are not happy with your food, just tell them and I’m sure they will try to do something to improve it. They aren’t asking for the sake of asking. Trust me.

  6. Avatar

    I’m a part-time waiter myself, and I have thought about this before too.

    I suggest you make a huge ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign (maybe write on a serviette with a black marker), and place it on your table, or anywhere that is very visible to waiters.

    It’s part of my job to perform ‘product satisfaction check’ when customers have their first few bites of their food, so that if something is wrong or missing, we can quickly make changes before it is too late. Some customers would remain quiet about it until someone asks them about it.

    Different customers have different expectations of good service. Many foreign customers actually appreciate it when we ask them about their food. But I think being asked the same question every 15 minutes, is really too much lah.

    It’s quite funny that whenever I ask customers about their food, they would look up at me with a very shocked-cum-omfg expression, complete with that string of linguine dangling at the corner of their mouth. It’s a really priceless expression.

    Well actually, if I’m not happy with my food, I would really tell the waiter about it.

  7. Avatar

    Was Hog’s Breathe that bad? I used to like it when I was living in Spore. Thought their steaks were not too bad. Maybe things might have changed. And no, I hardly tell the staff that their food suck. Don’t want to risk saliva in my food!

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  9. Avatar

    To be fair, if you dont like the food it may not necessary means that the food is really no good but perhaps it just dont go with what you expected.

    Like in some restaurants that won many awards, many may praise its good food but to some it just overpriced, overhyped food :)

    For me, I will tell the waiter not to ask me again on the 2nd time, if the everything is okay, cos i wanna have my meal and not getting disturb every now and then. Or maybe get the waiter to sit with you and watch you eat. The expression will be a tell sign :)

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    uglyfatchick: Haha, I guess you’re right. But I think our waiter was a little overzealous. I forgot to mention in my post that he asked us how’s our food when the Goonfather hadn’t even started cutting his steak. lol.

    DK: Ok… I’ll try next time. Thanks for the feedback. ;)

    desmond: Thanks for sharing your experience! I think Singaporeans are very private people and just can’t get used to having strangers talk to them, especially to ask them about their feelings or opinions. Haha.

    Strangely, I actually like being asked how I like my food if I love the food. Because I feel happy to share my joy of enjoying the food with the waiter. But if I don’t like the food, I’ll feel awkward answering the question because I don’t know if I should tell the truth.

    If I say, “Well, it’s not really tasty enough for me,” what can the waiter do? Apologise? I dunno.

    Monster: No, the food wasn’t bad. It was just ok. Just that I know where to get cheaper AND better steak, that’s why I won’t eat there again. Haha. Thanks for making me undecided now. Some say I should tell the truth, some say I shouldn’t. So how? lol.

    Paddy: Yeah, you’re right about that. I’ve eaten food that has won awards which I think suck. Haha. I might consider using your last suggestion – invite the waiter to watch me eat. lol, that’ll be funny!

  11. Avatar

    even though i wasn’t there to witness one of your most important moments, I will be there yearly to bless you and goonfather on your happiest day!

  12. Avatar

    Its not the service… it goes higher than that. Management instruct waiter to ask for formality. Even if it was no good, the standard reply will be, “we will let the chef know”. And they disappear till collection of payment. They will not refund or change the food. Why? Consumer rights doesnt exist in Singapore. CASE doesn’t have power to do anything, they only collect membership fees. Why CASE doesn’t have power…….. thank you 66.6%!! 66.6% like to suck up to ang mo and rich ppl. While “nobody” suffers.

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    The number one rule of customer service when you are paid mostly with tips is to “communicate” with the customer whenever possible. The opposite is a sure way to loose out on a tip (food, clothing, housing).

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